Megan: Our Current System Fails Patients, Including Children

As a pediatric nurse in an ambulatory setting, I spend much of my time fighting to help my patients to get insurance coverage for the medications, medical equipment, supplies, and therapies that they need. I have learned to submit prior authorizations, requests for gap exceptions, and appeals for the denial of covered services. It sickens me how difficult it is for parents to get their children the care they need. My clinic is located in an affluent area, yet so many families struggle because they are uninsured or underinsured.

I'm tired of watching our health care system fail my patients and loved ones. In 2010, when I was treated for a medical emergency while studying abroad in Spain, I first encountered universal healthcare. I was treated without delay, at no cost. In 2011, I began working towards becoming a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Through my coursework for this international certification, I became aware that the health care systems of many other industrialized nations support the health and well-being of their citizens so much better than the health care system of the United States.

Per capita health care costs are also much lower in these other countries, while the high cost of care in our country drives many families to start Go-Fund-Me campaigns in an effort to finance care, or simply not get the needed care. When my daughter was born in 2015, I worked part-time and was insured by my husband's employee sponsored medical plan, but the premium doubled in 2016, so we purchased insurance for my daughter and me through the health insurance marketplace. We were only able to afford those premiums for a few months, so I returned to work full-time the following year.

I was introduced to the idea of Medicare for All in 2016, around the same time I realized that the health care coverage I had thanks to Obama's Affordable Care Act wasn't serving my family well enough. Since 2016, the voices of organizations that have long called for universal health care have amplified, and the inadequacies of our current health care system have been been brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic. I became active in National Nurses United's public facing campaign for Medicare for All this summer, and I led legislative visits with US House Candidate Cynthia Wallace and U.S. Representative Dan Bishop's office to discuss the need for Medicare for All.

I will continue to fight for health care justice - for my family, my patients, and for all people.