Julie Sokolow is a musician, writer, and filmmaker based in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the creator of the Healthy Artists documentary series, in which young creatives discuss their struggles with the American health care system.
Over 20 million Americans pursued education at colleges and universities in 2012. Many were aspiring writers – crafting manuscripts, researching texts, attending classes, and studying for exams, while juggling unpaid internships, part-time jobs, and day-to-day living. Some broke a sweat to graduate summa cum laude. In this economy, what percentage will be able to find jobs that correspond to their training? What percentage will be able to afford health care after graduating?
Claire Donato is an award-winning 26-year-old poet living in Brooklyn, NY. In 2010, she achieved an MFA at Brown University, where she was the first poet to ever win the John Hawkes Prize in Fiction. Her debut novel Burial was recently published by Tarpaulin Sky Press and named among the “Best Summer Reads 2013” by Publishers Weekly. In a cut-throat literary world, Donato is a rare champ whose hard work has been rewarded. So it may seem.
After graduating from Brown, Donato started to teach at an intensive summer writing program at The New School. While instructing five hours a day, five days a week, working part-time as a research assistant, and writing her novel in the remaining hours, she caught a severe bout of pneumonia.
“At first I thought it was a summer cold,” Donato said. “ I foolishly put off going to the doctor, because I was uninsured and lacking funds at the time.”
When a friend finally convinced her to see a doctor, an x-ray revealed an abscess in her lung. The medical bills added up fast. A single bottle of medicine cost over $200. Within a week, she had spent over $1,000 on appointments and medicine.
“The irony of this situation is that, had I been insured, I would’ve gone to a doctor’s office the moment I came down with an abnormal cough,” Donato said.
The experience caused Donato to reflect on a different system: French universal health care. As a teenager, Donato came down with chicken pox while visiting family abroad. She remembers being amazed by the efficiency of the French health care system.
“I saw a doctor, received medicine, and we did not have to pay anything, thanks to the country's government-owned and operated clinics,” she said. “I grew up believing every citizen should have equal access to health care—that this is a human right.”
Obamacare should help Donato and other Americans access the insurance they need. Under the Health Insurance Marketplace launching October 1st 2013, we can shop and compare plans more easily, and apply for significant subsidies. Greater access to insurance will help everyone get better treatment, so that a persistent cough doesn’t turn into a pneumonic disaster.
However, Obamacare upholds the profit motive in health insurance. We’ll continue to spend more on health care than any other country in the world, while leaving some people uninsured. The simple solution is single-payer universal health care – a system that would save America $350 billion a year in administrative costs and use those savings to cover everybody.
April 22nd, 2014
FRANCIS RICHARD MOORE, 92, of FLINT/DAVISON, MI Passed away on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Escondido, CAHe was Frank to all who knew and loved him, and there were many. ...
January 28th, 2014
In the State of the Union address tonight, President Obama is going to call for a national minimum wage of $10.10. Then in their response ...
January 21st, 2014
My New Year's Day op-ed in the New York Times seems to have kickstarted a discussion about how to make Obamacare better. I hope you ...
December 18th, 2013
This morning it was announced by the Library of Congress and the National Film Preservation Board that my first film, 'Roger & Me', has been ...
December 14th, 2013
[View the story "Michael Moore Tweets on Eve of Newtown Anniversay" on Storify]
November 9th, 2013
Click here for this week's full schedule for the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The day has arrived. For ...
September 10th, 2013
[View the story "John Kerry's Accidental Diplomacy" on Storify]
September 11th, 2010
OpenMike 9/11/10 Michael Moore's daily blog I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero. I want it built on ...
December 14th, 2010
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that ...
May 12th, 2011
"The Nazis killed tens of MILLIONS. They got a trial. Why? Because we're not like them. We're Americans. We roll different." – Michael Moore in ...
November 22nd, 2011
This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and ...
September 22nd, 2011
I encourage everyone I know to never travel to Georgia, never buy anything made in Georgia, to never do business in Georgia. I will ask ...
December 16th, 2010
Dear Swedish Government: Hi there -- or as you all say, Hallå! You know, all of us here in the U.S. love your country. Your ...
November 2nd, 2010
This letter contains (almost) no criticisms of how the Democrats have brought this day of reckoning upon themselves. That -- and where to go from ...