Kara West: There but for the grace of God go I on health care

Op-ed by Kara West

I am a very lucky woman, and I know it. I have no out-of-pocket expenses for health care thanks to the forward thinking of my progressive employer. Unfortunately many working Virginians don’t enjoy this basic benefit. I haven’t always been in this position, and while it feels luxurious, it should be commonplace. Every Virginian deserves comprehensive, affordable and portable health care.

As a former small-business owner I struggled with providing health insurance for my four employees, and I simply wasn’t able to do it and provide a living wage at the same time. In the first year of the business I wasn’t even able to buy insurance for myself.

My guilt over not being able to provide this benefit was alleviated somewhat by the fact that three of my employees were either still in school or young enough to be covered by their parents’ policies, but this is not an excuse for our lack of healthcare options. The fourth employee, a single mom, had insurance (at a premium which took a sizable portion of her wages) through her other full-time job. Her sad reality was that she had to work one and a half jobs to provide the basics for herself and her son.

The time is now for our elected officials to make quality healthcare for every Virginian an affordable reality.

 

Kara West resides in Charlottesville.


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