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Dear Miss USA Kara McCullough, From a Chronically Ill Woman

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Dear Miss USA Kara McCullough,

You stated you believe healthcare is a privilege, then went on to give an example about how you have a government job (which I’d like to remind you means you also have government-funded health insurance). Not everyone is lucky enough to have a government job that guarantees outstanding health insurance. Some of us were born too sick to get a job that guarantees us health insurance.

You were right when you said that health insurance in the US is a privilege. A privilege for those who were fortunate enough to not have medical challenges. It shouldn’t be that way though.

It is a privilege for those who can get a job that guarantees health insurance. There are thousands of people out there who have a job or even two but still can’t get health insurance through their employer. A privilege for those whose families don’t have small businesses. A privilege for those who are employees of the government. A privilege for millionaires.

But just because it is a privilege now doesn’t mean it should stay that way.

Health insurance should be a right because all people – regardless of economic or health status – deserve to live. A child born into poverty deserves to live just as much as a child who has a trust fund. And before someone says, “Poor people shouldn’t have children if they can’t afford them,” this isn’t just a problem for people who are poor. There are everyday middle class Americans who go bankrupt because their child was born or became sick. You can plan accordingly and save up enough money to have a healthy child. But it is nearly impossible to plan for or save up enough money in advance to have a child that is born or becomes sick.

My life matters.

Becca Atherton


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Originally published: May 19, 2017
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