journal 3/31/04

I was thinking about my father recently. I always think of him when I have to go to the doctor, and deal with my insurance company, and what they will and won't pay for and under what circumstances. I tore my meniscus last fall, the day before Thanksgiving, and between the Emergency Room and the orthopedist and physical therapy, it cost me well over $1,000. And that's with insurance.

The reason this makes me think of my father was that he thought it was a disgrace that there wasn't universal health care in this country. It didn't bother him that rich people got bigger houses, or fancier cars, or even servants. But everybody was entitled to eat and to have a roof and to have good health care.

He thought (or at least hoped) that this was going to happen in his lifetime, and now he's been dead nearly fifteen years and it seems even less likely than it did before.

But what gives me pleasure about all this is that I remembered recently how his company handled health insurance. His company was very small, only seven employees at its height, but everybody in the company, from the shipping clerk to him and his partner, had the same health insurance, and it was a very good plan. Even when the company had to ask one person to go down to part-time hours for a while, they stayed on the full medical plan.

It pleases me (and it was typical of him) that he couldn't make the world function as he thought it should, but he made sure that the part he had control over worked according to his principles. Even though his company was never far from bankruptcy, he always made sure there was money for that.

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