At 27, I was uninsured for a year. Between jobs (non-profit jobs, nonetheless), I always knew that a clumsy step off the curb or a sudden sickness would mean emergency care and intolerable medical debt. A black cloud followed me everywhere, reminding me, "Better not get hurt or sick!" To avoid costly care, I called on friends and family in the medical field for favors and advice. I even came within an inch of eloping in Tahoe with boyfriend so I could get on his health insurance plan.
I can tell you this: it's no way to live, constantly in fear for your health and your bank account. But millions of Americans live in that kind of constant anguish right now, and thousands of them have written to tell us about their own health SCARE stories—ranging from outrageous costs to denial of coverage to poor care. Even people with insurance are finding it difficult to afford the care they need.
The Cover America Tour is going to make sure these stories get heard.
We’re heading out across America in a Winnebago (that's right, a Winnebago!). We want to hear people's stories as they tell them, standing in their own communities—and maybe even their own living rooms. Health care is very personal… what has the experience meant in their day-to-day lives? What has it meant to their kids? Their jobs?
These stories, these people, must be heard as our leaders make critical decisions about health care reform.
Here's a question for you Barack, John and Hillary: When a three-time cancer survivor loses her job and health insurance, which also covered her husband, a two-time cancer survivor himself, and the insurance company slaps the newly-unemployed woman with a $1000/month bill to continue her health coverage, what's your solution? Carol from San Jose would like to know.
And so would I. Because no one chooses cancer or a car crash or diabetes, they just happen. And the stark truth is that we are all just one diagnosis or accident away from our own battles with the health care system.
The stories won't always be easy to hear, but they must be told, and we're going to cross the country to do it. The Cover America Tour includes a four-month itinerary through 48 states, 3 full-time staff living and working out of a 31-foot Winnebago, a website, a blog, media events, and video documentation of the whole shebang.
You've heard my health care story, and now I want to hear yours.
Go to www.CoverAmericaTour.org to see the videos of the people we're talking to across America and to and follow the journey with our blog. And if you take a minute to tell us your story, we just might show up at your door.
—Meagen Bohne, Campaign Organizer