An Open Letter to I can’t afford to be sick

Since starting this blog, I’ve been brought up to date on a number of medical issues here in our town (and on the wider Peninsula). One of the issues is the hospital’s use of collection agencies to go after slow pay patients. It represents a shift from the old notion of ‘charity care’. But who are these people who are being affected by this new approach by the hospital?

This is an story from a real young person struggling to get healthy and get out from under her medical bills. It’s quite illustrative about issues that people here on the Olympic Peninsula are also going through, from what I have heard over the last two months. It raises the issue of whether anything other than a single payer solution can be effective in protecting citizens from medical bankruptcy. I ask that question not because I think I know the answer, but because, given all that is happening in medicine in this country, it should be debated. I would like to reach out and find others, like her, that are here in Jefferson and Clallam county and begin the process of documenting their stories as well. If you would like, we can keep your name anonymous. You can contact me here at the blog.

The debt I accrued from saving my own life means that I can’t go back to college, I can’t own a home, I can’t even get a loan to consolidate my debt.

Abby Norman is a writer. Her work has been featured in The Rumpus, The Establishment, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, The Independent, Quartz, Bustle and others.

You can read the story at Abby Norman’s web site. 

If you find the article interesting, I recommend you take her hint and send her a paypal for $5 to help pay for a coffee. You would have bought her one if you had gone and heard her story locally at any coffee shop in town.


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