As a lifelong Republican, the healthcare rhetoric makes me laugh or cry, I’m not sure which. Those with healthcare insurance (like federal, state and city employees) have good coverage. Congressional members, who are constantly lobbied by insurance people, also have great insurance benefits. Go figure, the ones decrying nationalized healthcare, get theirs paid for by us.

What I’m going to talk about is not concerning paying for illegals getting free healthcare, it’s about someone operating a small business (the American dream, as it were), and trying to make ends meet.

My husband Dennis and I are poster children as to why something needs to be fixed. We were in a great situation in Wisconsin when one of our sons developed life-threatening asthma. He was often in the hospital, and we were seriously frightened that he might die. We had already lost one son, and we were going to do everything in our power to keep our next son alive. The doctors there told us that a drier climate would help him, and might actually save his life.

We were stable financially in Wisconsin (as well as you can be with four young sons). The business, a lumber company, was one we owned with family members, and we didn’t want to leave them, or the financial stability.

But our children are everything to us, as I’m sure yours have always been to you. I had been a successful freelance writer for a number of years. Dennis had helped manage the lumber business. A publisher at the small newspaper where I worked suggested buying a small rural newspaper. I had the writing thing down, and Dennis had the business end. So, we began our adventure here, running the Southern Utah News 17 years ago.

What a life challenge! I remember many nights we both went to bed literally crying, asking, “what have we gotten ourselves into?” We certainly didn’t fit in, and we were worried about everything from our sons’ education to them being accepted here, as well.

Our big risk was that our son’s illness had made getting new insurance for us unlikely, since he had a pre-existing condition. We gave up the old policy (with a one year caveat, COBRA), and then attempted to find insurance in our new residence thousands of miles from our family and friends. We prayed he wouldn’t have symptoms for a year, because if he did, it was unlikely we could get new insurance.

Fortunately, he did do much better in a drier climate, and the one-year time frame passed. His better health made the insurance companies more amicable to him, and we just had to pay more than most for insurance premiums.

We had insurance, but it was poor. We had to pay all office visits and meds, but at least if we had a catastrophic thing happen, most of it would be covered...or at least we thought.

Next week – Part II