Luxury of Health Insurance

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Things are heating up in lots of political contests around the country, but plenty of eyes are focused on the Senate race in Massachusetts, where consumer protection champion Elizabeth Warren is taking on the incumbent Scott “Trust me, I drive a pick-up” Brown for his U.S. Senate seat. If you don’t live in Massachusetts, you might be thinking: “Why should I care?”

The simple answer is two words: health insurance. And given some recent news about his college-aged daughter, it looks like Brown is living in a political “Do as I say, not as I do” world.

The news about his daughter is nothing salacious. But if you’re struggling to figure out how to pay for health insurance for your own college-aged kids … as many families are … you might want to hear about his story.

News broke this week that Senator Brown has been taking advantage of the Massachusetts “Romneycare” insurance which allows him to keep his kids on his family insurance, including his 23-year-old daughter Ayla. And while he’s been making sure his daughter has insurance that lots of other people would love to have, he’s been voting against the so-called “Obamacare” health insurance plan in the Senate, which would give all the rest of us the same option he has for his adult children.

So why isn’t what’s good for the political goose good for his constituents’ ganders?

Many families struggle with making sure they have health insurance coverage for their kids while they’re little. As parents, we want to make sure (if we can) that if there’s a broken bone or serial ear infections, that multiple doctor’s visits won’t wipe out whatever family savings there might be. Our family is lucky to have health insurance, even though it’s incredibly pricey. But the news of Senator Brown and his daughter has me wondering — what will we do in a few years when our own daughter heads off to college?

It sure feels like a long way down the road right at the moment … but our little girl is 12. That’s not so little anymore and in just a few years, we hope if she’s headed to college that we can make sure she has health insurance of some kind.

I remember how scared I was as a college student with no health insurance. I prayed that I’d stay healthy and that if I needed anything, the campus infirmary would be able to help. The money just wasn’t there, as I had student loans and worked two jobs just to afford the tuition at a state college. My parents are farmers — there wasn’t much extra to help out and there was no option then for me to be on their plan.  It would have been nice. I wouldn’t have had to worry about where to get the money for antibiotics when I needed them or whether I could see a doctor for a regular check-up or whether I’d have to use student loan money to cover any other medical issues that might come up.

My husband and I want the option of keeping our daughter on our health insurance plan when she becomes a college co-ed — just as Senator Brown has been able to do with his daughter. But if he, and others, keep voting as they are, we’re going to have to dig deep, not just for college tuition, but also for medical care our daughter might need as a college student.

If it’s OK for Senator Brown to make sure his daughter is covered, I can’t help asking why he keeps voting against something he’s already taking advantage of for his own family?

Read more from me at my blog PunditMom and in my Amazon best-selling book, Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America.

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