Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
by Sean Kosofsky
I have always prided myself in the fact that I rarely get sick. I have never broken a bone, I don’t recall every getting the flu and overall I rarely am under the weather. The body I have is a body I have taken care of and in return I have been rewarded with good health. Granted much of this could be luck or good genes, but either way it is a fact.
Also, during my life I never racked up a lot of scars. The trophies to rough and tumble play, contact supports, construction work and careless handling of household tools are hard to find on me. Until recently.
In 2007 my doctor noticed that a small mole on my chest was turning darker. She decided to take a biopsy which entailed carving out a small chunk of skin from my chest, with something that looked like a cross between a small mellon baller and a metal pen. It was uncomfortable but in just a few days the results came back negative, but my doctor still worried about this pesky mole. So I had to come in a second time for her to scoop out the rest. I was worried about the scar it would leave especially when I removed the bandages and saw the (what looked like a crater-sized) hole.
The scar has healed now and there is a new point of interest on the landscape of my chest. It is a dime-sized pink cluster of tissue that is a daily reminder, each time I look in the mirror after getting out of the shower, that I was one of the lucky ones. I had health insurance.
Many of us that have always had health insurance – decent to good health insurance – know that 90% of the time the only inconvenience is the darn several-dollar co-pay for pharmaceuticals or the doctor’s visit. But for those without health insurance, each day is like running an obstacle course of dodging germs, driving slower, not participating in sports or other recreational fun, and being extra careful about what you eat or drink and sometimes doing the same for your partner or children.
In Michigan nearly a million people are uninsured and many more are underinsured. And that number is growing. This is unfathomable to me that in the wealthiest nation in the world we cannot get every American the basic medical attention they need to prevent health or financial-related disaster for them or their family.
There are two ballot measures coming to Michigan this year that will directly impact this. First, this week a campaign was launched to pass universal health care in Michigan. We would be the first state to pass such a broad and progressive proposal. This is most certainly a GLBT Issues especially since so many employers either do not cover domestic partner benefits and because marriage equality keeps us from accessing the benefits that do exist for our partners. Such a ballot measure may also help transgender people with necessary transitioning services. Triangle Foundation is strongly supporting the health care ballot measure and you should too. Polling shows the measure will likely easily pass in Michigan, especially with growing concerns that our economy may leave more people uninsured in 2008.
The next ballot measure you should be wary of is something deceptively called “Right to Work” which I call “Divide and Destroy.” This measure could shred labor unions in our state which would dramatically reduce the number of people in Michigan with health insurance, not to mention diminishing the power of organized labor which would lower wages in Michigan. “Right to Work” states have lower standards of living and worse health for its citizens.
In 2008 do your part for the GLBT movement while also helping countless other populations by supporting the universal health care ballot measure. Support our friends in labor and don’t let Michigan regress any further like we did under the marriage ban of 2004 and the affirmative action ban in 2006. We must fight for a Michigan that people want to call home. Michigan has its own scars in our state constitution. We can begin to heal those in 2008 if we vote for our community to be protected.