Meet Shatari Dunmore, Our Story Collection Organizer
As a child I used to enjoy going to the doctor. Speaking to friendly adults in scrubs, getting to miss school, and knowing that I would get a sticker at the end of my visit was the highlight of my young life. So, growing up, it was to my surprise to hear talks from adults about how they did not enjoy their doctor’s visits. Being the inquisitive child that I was, I would question why? Who wouldn’t want to participate in all of the joys that the doctor brought? Well, to my amazement many people would say that it was very expensive, and they saw no joy with being sick. Like children often do, I brushed off those words of pessimism because as far as I knew the doctor was free!
Well, once I turned eighteen, I quickly learned that healthcare (at least in South Carolina) is far from free. When I turned eighteen years old, I got kicked off of my Medicaid and was left without insurance. Luckily, being a “healthy” college student I could visit the health center on my campus and let my tuition cover all of my expenses. After graduating, it was pushed on me to make sure I found a “good” job that provided me with benefits. An extra emphasis being placed on health insurance. Again, being a young person who never worried about a medical bill in my life I was very confused about the importance of “good” insurance. Luckily, I got a great job and I got covered with health insurance. A few months later I went to the doctor for a check-up, and you can imagine the dismay I felt when I received my bill and saw what it was before the insurance kicked in!
Quickly, it made me reflect back on the times when I was a child and the frequent trips that me and my younger siblings made to the doctor. My younger brother has Sickle Cell Disease, and my younger sister had heart surgery as a baby and scoliosis surgery as a young teenager. My mom is a teacher, and I couldn’t imagine the financial stress she would have felt having to pay for my younger siblings to get back to good health. We are blessed to be a part of a big and giving family, however just the cost of my sister’s scoliosis surgery alone would have been a huge burden that I imagine my mom would not want to share.
Medicaid has made a huge impact on the life of my family, and expansion of the program would leave that beneficial impact on other South Carolinians who are uninsured. Every person should have access to quality health insurance. It’s not a privilege, it’s a human right.