Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Julie Sokolow

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.

August 26th, 2013 11:07 AM

The Poetics of Health Care

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.

Read the feature interview with Claire Donato at Healthy Artists. Buy her book, Burial, at Tarpaulin Sky Press.  Above photo by Bill Hayward.

Creative Commons License This content is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

If you have a moment today, I hope you can read the obituary for my father Francis (Frank) Moore, who died this past Saturday at the age of 92: Francis...

Apr 22nd
6:33 PM
Read More

My father, Francis (Frank) Moore, passed away this morning a few months shy if his 93rd birthday. He was a great dad I am blessed to have had him in my life. I...

Apr 20th
2:58 AM
Read More

Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
Read More

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
Read More

Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
Read More

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law Donna Smith Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? Donna Smith We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa Nick Turse Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch Donna Smith The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles