By Sidney Tierney 

Katie Clark is a 30-year-old single parent raising two small children. She has an outgoing personality, as well as a dry Irish wit. She is employed as a waitress at a locally-owned restaurant, a job Katie performs with alacrity. Customers always hope to see her when they go there. She works over 40 hours a week but does not make much despite a great deal of effort. Her real concern, however, is her seven-year-old son’s health. He has frequent asthma attacks and needs to see a specialist; he frequently has to visit the school nurse. Unfortunately, visits to a specialist are out of the question because Katie’s workplace doesn’t have health insurance. She cannot afford the premium associated with the Affordable Care Act. Katie feels squeezed like a vise between a slippery-sloping rock and a terribly hard place.

The anxiety related to her son’s physical health is taking a toll on Katie’s emotional well-being. She asked her boss for more hours, but he said that it would cut into her co-workers’ hours. Because of the mounting stress, Katie has found it more and more difficult to arise in the morning—she can feel the demon of depression encroaching more every week. She cannot afford to purchase antidepressants, leading to more stress and depression.

Katie’s ex-husband, Justin, is no help at all financially. He had promised child support after he had left her for his most recent tour of duty in Iraq, but he disappeared from their lives (except for the holidays). She cannot afford a good attorney to help her in this respect. Katie makes excuses for Justin, saying that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder—and possibly even amnesia. Justin has faced a great deal of red tape from the Veterans Administration, and he has been on a waiting list for therapy for several months.  Katie is now casually dating a young man close to her age; however, she keeps him at arm’s length because she fears being “burned” a second time by an irresponsible lover.

Who will be there for Katie? Many presidential candidates would say that they are concerned about Katie, but will they remember her once Election Day passes? They had better care about her because Katie’s (and her children’s) lives are hanging in the balance. How can we help Katie Clark and others in her situation?

Katie’s predicament illustrates the need for single-payer  universal health care. There are thousands–if not millions–of Americans in her situation. The cost of health care shouldn’t be something that creates such ceaseless agony and anxiety.

        Note: Katie Clark is a pseudonym.


     Guantánamo and the Politics of Fear

Aliya Hana Hussain, Center for Constitutional Rights: Out of the nearly 800 people who have been imprisoned at Guantánamo over the last 14 years, only eight have been convicted of a crime.  Other countries are amazed that we lecture the world on human rights




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