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Thu., March 6, 2014

Medical risk is sad

A Feb. 18 KHQ story about a woman battling cancer after losing her brother to a football head injury appeared on my Facebook account. It was posted by family members who have organized a fundraiser. She has already had “a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation and liver treatments.”

I couldn’t help but be struck by this woman’s story. As it happens, she was my neighbor’s nurse about a year ago. His family spoke highly of her. As a nurse, she must have had health insurance, but still her family obviously struggles to pay her medical expenses.

Although the Facebook post was a new way of presenting it for me, I frequently see family fundraisers like this advertised in the newspapers, written up in fliers or explained on the sides of jars left in area businesses. I am saddened every time I find one, and feel guilty that I didn’t donate.

In this country, if you’re lucky, you won’t get sick and you’ll be able to spare your family medical bankruptcy. If you’re unlucky, and get a serious illness you can’t afford, your family can lose almost everything. Other countries have figured out how to spread medical risk. Why can’t we?

Jane Mark

Newman Lake

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