Living poor without health care in Mississippi – Harper’s Magazine

A searing view into life at the bottom in a state that keeps healthcare from the poor. Even the working poor. This is what the Republicans are bringing to the rest of American with their cuts last week in Medicaid and Medicare. We already have neighbors suffering like this. It’s going to get worse. Read it and weep.

In this country and this state, access to health care depends on access to health insurance. This, in large part, depends on race and class. My family members have had access to health insurance on and off in their adult lives. What does it mean to live as an adult without health insurance in Mississippi? For much of my twenties, I was that adult. It meant praying that I wouldn’t get into a catastrophic accident that would saddle me with exorbitant emergency-room bills. It meant that when I swam through the floods of Hurricane Katrina and developed a staph infection from whatever toxic sludge floated in the storm surge, I suffered with it for weeks until I was able to visit a free clinic. It meant living with failing vision, displaced dental fillings, abscessed teeth, and strep throat. It meant living with migraines so crippling that I could not stand…Migraines that could be averted only with an Imitrex shot. Imitrex shots, with insurance, cost a hundred bucks, came two to a pack, and should have been used once a month. When I was uninsured, I couldn’t see a doctor to get a prescription and couldn’t afford the medicine even with one. Living without health insurance meant suffering depression so deep after my brother died that my mind was unspeakable. For years.


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