To the editor:
The other day, I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and saw the title, “Young boy saves his allowance to pay for his class's lunch debt.”
My first thought, like many of us, was that this was a feel-good story and just what I needed to destress from work.
Then, I thought about it: Why does this kid have to spend his allowance so his classmates have the basic rights to food at school. Why isn’t the school doing more to prevent this lunch debt? Why isn’t the state stepping in to provide food and support for children?
We’ve all seen these “feel-good” stories either scrolling through social media or even on your local news stations. Stories that pull at your heartstrings and make you want to get involved and support your neighbor. Now, I’m all for being supportive of each other and being kind. If anything, we need more of that these days, but this isn’t it.
The natural consequence of these stories going viral are costing us in policy changes. The GoFundMe link or even local fundraisers we see the most is financial support for those diagnosed with cancer.
Although it may feel good to help pay for chemotherapy for someone in your community, why are we not questioning why we must do this for people? Lifesaving cancer treatment, drugs, and even checkups at doctors are costing us so much in America that we must band together to allow people to live.
I no longer want to see people begging to survive and hoping their story is heartbreaking enough to go viral and get funded. So many people are sitting at home rationing medications or not going to their doctor's appointments due to being unable to pay and it's costing many their lives.
Without pushing our representatives to make policy changes, we are going to continue seeing stories of young kids having to spend their allowance to allow their fellow classmates to eat or people unable to pay for lifesaving treatments and medications and having to turn to GoFundMe for support.
We quickly see these stories become scapegoats for why health care policies aren’t being passed. If we can support each other, why do they need to spend money on passing a bill for affordable cancer treatment or even health care?
The answer is: they don’t. Big Pharma and hospitals can continue to raise prices on medications and treatments because there are no policies to cap them.
Insurance companies can pick and choose what they want to cover because as of right now, it’s a privilege to have affordable health care and if you don’t, you better hope your GoFundMe story pulls heartstrings and goes viral or it could be your life in danger.
Speaking to your local representatives can be just as easy as pushing the green donate button. You can register to vote here (https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote) and find out who your representatives are here.