Recently, I've been having some issues with my health insurance. I got some misinformation from my caseworker about transferring my benefits from my hometown to the city where I currently live, and now the process is going to take much longer than I thought. Not the worst thing that could happen to me, but still frustrating.
While ranting about this inconvenience to my friends, I realized that I was hesitant to tell them I have affordable healthcare. I would lower my voice when talking about it in public and try to avoid the word "Medicaid" altogether.
Am I embarrassed about having health care that I don't have to pay for? Absolutely not. Am I afraid to tell people because of the stigma behind affordable healthcare? Apparently, yes.
I, someone who has affordable healthcare, have never gone hungry. I've never been homeless. I am a college student, only working one job at a time. My parents have good jobs, but they also have three other (young) kids to support financially. Four kids and two middle-class incomes are not a good mix for most insurance plans. And as a college student I don't think I could handle more than one job to pay for it (I know there are people who do, and I give you all my respect, but I just can't).
I don't think any of that is something I should be ashamed of, yet I know people make assumptions. Even if I did come from a household below the poverty line, why should I be afraid to tell people, especially my friends? It wouldn't make me any less of a person, and it wouldn't make me any less deserving of healthcare.
This stigma is dangerous because this is a democracy. We indirectly vote on policies like this one, and people are not going to vote for affordable healthcare if they think only "deadbeats" and "moochers" take advantage of it.
So here it goes: Hi, I'm Kirstin. I'm a daughter, a sister, a college student, a lover of fashion music and food, and I happen to be on affordable healthcare.
Healthcare is a human right and should be available to everyone regardless of their income. Talking about this issue and breaking down the stigma behind affordable healthcare isn't going to change the healthcare system, not even close, but it sure is a good start.