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Im a responsible hardwo...

I'm a responsible, hardworking divorced mother. I have two jobs, one as a part time teacher, one working for a non-profit, training ex-offenders in green jobs skills so they can find productive work instead of returning to crime. I'm a graduate student, working on my Ph.D. I grow a lot of our own food in our organic garden. I don't drink or smoke or do drugs. I don't blow money or laze around watching TV (we don't own a TV!). But I can't afford health care for my ten year old son or for myself. One of my employers has no benefits; one has benefits that cost 1/3 my yearly salary just for me. Health insurance for both of us would literally take 80% of my income - and we don't have any pre-existing conditions. That would leave us barely anything for food, and not enough to pay rent or utilities. We would need to go on welfare to survive.

Thankfully I live in Illinois, so my son is covered by the KidCare (CHIP) program. He gets yearly check ups and gets to the dentist, and if there's an emergency, I could get him the care he needs. For me as a mother, that is HUGE. I know I can keep my son safe, and that means the world. In the past, I just haven't gone to the doctor myself, because I just can't afford it. What if I do get sick or hurt? What will happen to my son then? I need to stay healthy to keep him safe. With health reform, I hope to be able to get some basic coverage for myself, at least for emergencies and occasional check ups.

I'm not trying to abuse any system or let anyone else carry my weight. I do public service work which saves my community money by reducing crime and pollution and getting people off the welfare rosters. It will also save my community money to keep me healthy. If I get hurt or sick without insurance, the cost of emergency care coupled with disability, childcare, etc would far outstrip the occasional checkups and medicine health reform can offer me. By keeping my son and I healthy, health reform not only saves tax payers any cost of delayed or unpaid emergency care, but allows me to keep working for my community's greater good and gives my family the security we need to thrive. Doesn't that benefit all of us?

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