Letters to the Editor

Change is needed for health care

To the editor:

The song “You Are My Sunshine” is a song we sang to our young son, William. One that he grew up to love. Tragically, on Aug. 23, our sunshine was taken away at the age of 45 after suffering a pulmonary embolism.

The true cause of our son’s death, however, is today’s health care system, which is unaffordable to so many people.  The evening before his death, we tried to convince him to go to the ER. His response was ”I’ve gone there before, and I can’t afford another $7,000.” He incurred $7,000 in out-of pocket expenses for one trip to the emergency room even with his employer-sponsored health insurance.

You see the TV news, read the local papers, but nothing changes for the better. When it comes to health care coverage, we pay more for less. We wonder if our legislators worry about the cost. Do they care about how many people live on the edge because our health care system puts profits ahead of people? 

There is a fiery young woman who wants to make a difference for our community, and she has all the qualities needed to help make changes here in Maine. Her name is Kathryn Harnish, and she is our sunshine’s older sister. She’s running to represent District 144, which includes Houlton and other southern Aroostook towns. A social work student, she’s committed to a better future, with more accessible, affordable health care for everyone. We can speak from experience to her staunch advocacy and know she’ll bring that same indomitable spirit to Augusta for all of you. 

William, our sunshine, was a bright light in the lives of everyone who knew him. But it was extinguished too soon, taken away from us – and from him – simply because he was afraid of the costs of necessary medical care.

For the good of others who may one day find themselves in a similar situation, let’s elect people who understand that when you’re sick, all you should worry about is getting better. Respectfully, and in loving memory of William D. Harnish, Oct. 26, 1974 – Aug. 23, 2020. 

Bill & Joan Harnish

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