This is part of an ongoing series for writers to share their personal stories on the state of healthcare in America.
by Sean Engelking
For 15 months, healthcare has been America’s most urgent issue, topping worries about terrorism, taxes, and even guns. Our readers — with for-profit, public, or no insurance — struggle with the deadly duo of health crises followed by financial troubles. Pending NY legislation could, by upending this too-common pairing, upend the national debate. ThisistheBronX invites readers to submit their healthcare stories so that legislators and readers hear constituent voices on why healthcare reform matters.
I agree with Warren Buffet who said, “medical costs are the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.”
I face this daily: First, as the owner of a small business in New York City, and, second, as one of the thousands who deferred healthcare treatment for fear of bankruptcy.
Allow me to explain. In my small business, I see the high costs of insurance stall the mobility of first-class candidates. Those with the best qualifications are often stuck in dead-end jobs because they cannot afford to lose their expensive benefits package by jumping ship to me.
And I am always juggling the costs of growing my business with the costs of providing competitive insurance. Recently, I found a superb candidate from Austria who does not require insurance — so I am relieved of high-cost deductibles and other administrative payroll expenses.
Cash was really scarce when I started my company, so I did not have insurance for two years. Fortunately, I faced no life-threatening conditions. But emergency treatment and 12 stitches for a cut to my forehead caused me to choose between the high costs of seeing a plastic surgeon and no scar — and possible bankruptcy — or living with a permanent scar. That’s a pretty dire consequence for 12-stitches.
Whenever I look in the mirror or a customer looks at me, I remember the dread of not having healthcare.
Sean Engelking is a successful entrepreneur with a vision for healthcare as a public good with universal access for all.
To submit writing for publication on WEEKDAY MAGAZINE, click here. Fiction, non-fiction, commentary, news, news analysis, and poetry are welcome. Bronx slant always preferred.