Pay $6100 or Endure 18 1/2 Minutes of Torture?
America's Sophie's Choice healthcare system in a (painful) nutshell
A few nights ago, a friend told me that in the balance between anger and humor, he felt the scales of my missives here were tipping toward angry. Yesterday morning, another friend texted a weirdly similar sentiment, although he softened the blow by calling my anger justified.
When two friends, over the course of three days, both offer similar unsolicited advice, it’s time to step back and do some self-critique and self-examination. Has my writing become too angry? Has being unnecessarily deaf for four months robbed me of my ability to find humor in the darkness?
I mean, fuck yes?
But also, I had to ask myself whether these friends’ critiques may have stemmed less from any latent anger I might be expressing and more from a disparity in our incomes, a disconnect between male and female experience, and the kind of tone policing to which we women have been subjected throughout our lives. Both the men in question are married and relatively well off. I’m doing okay as a single mother, but like most Americans, I’m one illness away from doom. It would never occur to either of these friends to take UberPool to an emergency room to avoid the hidden cost of an ambulance, as I once had to do, or to forgo hearing-restoring surgery for lack of an extra forty grand to pay for it out of pocket. More saliently, women—Black women especially, I should add—are all-too-often tone policed for voicing unpopular opinions and difficult-to-swallow truths. Attack the tone of the words and the character of the person making the argument, instead of grappling with the argument itself, and you can avoid the discomfort of its contents.
“I had no idea,” my friend Andy said upon finishing my book last year. Hundreds of similar sentiments poured in from men soon thereafter. And yes, no question, part of the reason I write what I write and expose what I expose, aside from allowing my female readers to feel less crazy and alone, is to open men’s eyes to the hidden plight of women. Our reproductive rights have been eighty-sixed. Our bodies still aren’t being studied, and menopausal bodies are studied least of all. We still earn 17% less than men. I could go on and on, but then we’d all have to self-immolate.
All this to say I get it. It’s a fine line between opening others’ eyes and stridently lecturing them, and if I’ve come across as too angry of late, I apologize and will try to do better.
But just, like, not today.
Today, my friends, I need to express a little anger, which I prefer to call righteous indignation, as I think it’s more accurate. Because I don’t know how else to tell the story of the absurd choice I had to make last week due to our private-equity poisoned healthcare system—the type of Sophie’s choice millions of Americans have to make every day between the lesser of two evils—without it.
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