With 2,700 replies and counting, All On Medicare's tweet asking When did you become radicalized by the U.S. health care non-system? is now one of the most thorough (and thoroughly depressing) collections of evidence of the need for healthcare reform you're likely to encounter.
The title story of my new book Radicalized is about angry men whose most cherished family members are condemned to slow, painful deaths after their insurers refuse to cover lifesaving treatments by classing them as "experimental." These men are radicalized on message boards where there's always someone standing by to welcome people who are suicidal in their grief by urging them on, saying "Do it! And take some of those fuckers with you."
In the story, America is shaken by a wave of terrorist violence as angry, traumatized white dudes start to suicide-bomb health insurance companies and take shots at senators funded by them. These white guys are not classed as terrorists — not at first, anyway — because the color of their skin dictates that they be called "lone wolves" and the victims of their crimes are not the most charismatic people in America.
Reading this thread took me back to the research I did on the story, looking through Gofundme pages for people who only wanted to die knowing that their death wouldn't impoverish their loved ones. American health care is the most broken system in the world. I grew up with Canadian socialised medicine, then lived with the UK NHS for 13 years and now I'm in the USA and insured by Cinga (insert anguished scream here), and I'm here to tell you that Americans suffer under a system that no one else in the rich world has to tolerate.
When did you become radicalized by the U.S. health care non-system?
— All On Medicare (@AllOnMedicare) May 2, 2019
* "Watching my best friend's father go from serene acceptance of his lymphoma diagnosis to shame and despair on his deathbed two years later that his treatment had permanently impoverished his wife and son. When my father received his own diagnosis, he refused all treatment instead." (@sisyphusmyths)
* "My father killed himself so he wouldn't bankrupt the family trying to treat his Parkinson's. He was my best friend. We did a Go Fund Me for his medical care and ended up using it for his funeral" (@ErinDeweyLennox)
* "When my mother waited too long to go to the doctor when she found a breast lump. Being poor cost her life. If other advanced countries can do it, so can we. I'm sick of greedy fucking billionaires who've robbed America of a heart and soul." (@CelloLvr)
* "My mother had a prolapsed uterus. She took to shoving it back in because her insurance wouldn't cover any of the treatments locally, and she would have had to go to a hospital a hundred miles away to be treated. The idea of just shoving your organs back inside your body…" (@UrsulaV)
* "Early elementary school after eavesdropping on my mom while she fought with the insurance company to get my insulin to keep me alive. High school when my dad had to ask for an advance on his paycheck for my med device supplies. College when I had to ration my insulin." (@msinsulindpndnt)
* "When I realized that Anthem was sending employees on trips to Hawaii and giving bonuses that were greater than my family's combined yearly income and the people they were insuring were filing for bankruptcy over medical bills." (@pgrayove)