Wall to Wall Elephants

Now that the election is over and the government (hopefully) is changing hands, I am praying that there will be progress in our beloved country. We have a lot of work to do, and it’s not just one elephant in the room that needs to be dealt with. There are wall to wall elephants in the room. This is all merely my opinion, but I think these are things worth another look. I’m dividing this piece into three sections: health, money, and global warming.

Part I: Health

The question I’ve asked and have never gotten an answer for is why CAN’T we have universal healthcare? Yes, I know it’s not perfect in the countries that do have it, but it’s better than our completely broken system. In my 23 years as a nurse, I have encountered patients daily who had no means to pay their astronomical healthcare bills. It’s not always low income families that have trouble. I know middle class families that couldn’t pay for their healthcare. I am lucky in that my husband is a retired veteran of the USAF, so we do have healthcare coverage, but there are still copays and out of pocket costs we have to meet.

And then there are pharmaceutical costs. Medications are much cheaper in other countries than here. Why? Just medication copays alone will break the bank. For instance, one of my medications costs $1700 per month without insurance. There’s no way I could pay for it without insurance. It’s ridiculous that we have such disparity in healthcare. It’s gone from being about caring for the sick to big business and that is not why I became a nurse!

An equally large or possibly bigger problem is mental health disparity. Per NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year, 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year, 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24, Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34. There are few resources to help the mentally ill. Every year, funding is taken away from mental health programs and placed elsewhere. The numbers of inpatient behavioral health beds are shrinking. Medications are insanely expensive. No one gives a damn but those of us impacted by it.

Finally, there’s COVID-19. I know people are sick of hearing about it, which I get to some degree. However, it MUST be taken seriously. Yes, we are all probably going to get it, but many of us will die from it. My family just lost a longtime friend from it. It may be your right not to wear a mask, but it’s my right not to get sick because you won’t due what’s recommended. Does anyone think about anyone else? I would be devastated if I had it and gave it to someone else. I know lots of people argue with me on this one, but as a nurse who has seen it, I recommend everyone wear their damn mask and wash their hands! I have asthma, anxiety, and eczema and still wear mine. My husband has COPD and wears his. Our youngest son has autism and wears his. End of story.