Liz Riggin | Health care should not be a luxury

The current health-care system is not meeting the needs of most Americans. Individuals and families are faced with overwhelming financial burdens when treating both “typical” medical needs and unexpected medical traumas. Due to the high cost of health care, many Americans are not seeking treatment. Delayed treatment usually leads to further health complications and requires more costly medical assistance.

I worked as a social work intern in a high-risk obstetrics unit for four months. I saw firsthand the effects of the inadequate health-care system, especially on low-income families. I worked with a mother who was unable to seek treatment because she did not qualify for Medicaid and her husband’s employer did not provide affordable health insurance. It wasn’t until she was six months pregnant with twins that the complications became life-threatening for all three of them. Because they were so desperate for necessary medical care, the husband lowered his income in order to be eligible for Medicaid, which would cover the mother’s medical costs during the last three months of her pregnancy. In this case, there were three lives in danger because of inaccessible and unaffordable health care.

I believe that everyone in the United States deserves affordable, accessible health care. Often vulnerable populations are not properly represented in the health care debate. Health care should not be a luxury, but a service that is available regardless of socioeconomic status.

I urge you to contact U.S. senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner in support of a comprehensive health care reform that will include all Americans.


Letter from Liz Riggin, Harrisonburg

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