Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I smoked for about seven years, and quit almost three years ago. Like many smokers, as time went on I started to get bronchitis every year, or an upper respiratory infection, or something -- I'm still not exactly sure what it was/is, because every time I went into the doctor's there was an odd unwillingness to talk about it. I'm pretty sure they knew I was a smoker, and I'm pretty sure they didn't want to put that down in my chart.

Now, I understand that people don't want to share costs for illnesses that come from bad behavior -- I regret every single cigarette I've ever smoked -- but in our present system, my doctors were unwilling to diagnose me as a smoker, unwilling to give me help in quitting, and unwilling to talk about the long-term risks of smoking. These are all free services, especially considering I was at the doctor's already. Why not even mention smoking? To protect me from the insurance company, of course, and to avoid increased premiums.

But wait -- doesn't the insurance company work for me? No, no they don't. They own me -- I don't have the resources to find insurance any other way than through my school, and everyone knows this, my doctors included. That's why I need to be protected from the company -- I'm at their mercy.

Or we could all work together to give everyone another option.

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