Yesterday, I was catching up with a friend of mine who lives in Memphis when she told me about the beginning of her week:
On Sunday, my friend, Meredith, went to introduce her newborn daughter to some friends who run a gym. She ran in for five minutes and, by the time she returned to her car, someone had smashed in her window and stolen her purse. The next day, Meredith got a call from a postal worker who told her that her wallet had been placed in one of their mailboxes. Meredith went down to the post office, picked up her wallet, and found that all her cards were still in the wallet – her credit cards, her ATM card, her driver’s license, and even two $50 gift cards to Target and Walgreens. (She hadn’t had any cash.)
The only things missing were her insurance cards – her medical, dental, and prescription drug insurance cards were all gone.
At this point in the telling, Meredith laughed and said, “And, when I think about it, those really are the most valuable things in my wallet.”
The unsustainable imbalances of our healthcare system are laid bare by this series of events: a person was desperate enough for access to healthcare to break into Meredith’s car (without knowing if they would find insurance cards or not) and forego the currency in her wallet.