I served in the US Navy from 1988 to 1994. While serving, I had good coverage. When I got out, I had none.
I opened a small business in Everett, Washington, and spent 3 years trying to figure out how to make it work. I had to get a job outside of my business so I could get coverage and pay the rest of my bills. My business failed because I couldn't put the time into it that I needed to.
In 1997, my wife at the time became pregnant with my son, and I scrambled to find a job while I was closing my business, and found one at Nordstrom. My son was born in March of 1998, fully covered. Then I left my job to move to Florida and moved back when my wife and I split up. I spent about a year working for Temp agencies with no coverage.
I was lucky. My current wife, whom I had just moved in with back at the end of 2000 asked me why I was working Temp with no benefits or coverage when there was a Nordstrom next door. I got another job with Nordstrom in 2001, and I've been here ever since. Why is this lucky? Because I was diagnosed with Cancer in May of 2003.
Without my health coverage through my employer, I would have been $50,000+ in debt, probably requiring us to sell our home and struggle for the rest of our careers. The way it played out, my coverage paid for just about everything, and I'm now healthy and active.
I'm most active trying to make sure that NOBODY lives under a cloud of fear like I did. Not everyone is as lucky. As appreciative of my insurance coverage as I am, I know not everyone can get it through private insurance. I would switch to a National Health Insurance Program in a heartbeat if it meant that my premiums would help pay for coverage for the 50 million people who are currently not covered. I personally believe that Single Payer is the only solution to the current mess. I would not object to having supplemental insurance available for people who can afford it, but the foundation needs to be a national system that provides basic and catastrophic coverage for everyone in this country. And any supplemental insurance must be provided by non-profit organizations. Nobody should EVER make themselves rich by denying health insurance claims. That is so wrong, it should be a Felony.
I hope you will listen to the feedback you get. And I hope that any feedback you get from people is posted publicly so that we can see the stories that you get and share with each other. Keeping messages in your office is not transparency.
Thanks for being willing to listen. And I hope that you will sign onto Senator Sanders bill, S.703.
Share your own stories, ideas and thoughts with Senator Cantwell about the Health Care issue in the US here: http://www.cantwell.com/action/healthcarestories/