Suppose you had $1,000 in your wallet as you prepared for vacation. Some thug comes along and steals your wallet with all your money. You have to cancel your vacation and meanwhile you come down with a contagious disease that lands you in the hospital. Only you don’t have any health insurance. You are moved into ICU and there are days when even you think you will die. But because you are contagious, nobody can come visit you. Not your kids or your spouse or your mom or dad. You are completely alone among strangers who are afraid of you because you are contagious. But against the odds, you recover and are allowed to return home after a few weeks.
Your health is diminished. You are weak, foggy-brained, and have weird digestive issues. Meanwhile, your boss has decided to shutter the business and run for state representative. So now you no longer have a job. You have to start figuring out which bills get paid and which ones don’t. You apply for unemployment but won’t see a check from them for nearly 12 weeks.
Then a bill for $250,000 arrives from the hospital. You have no means of paying it, especially right now. You can’t sleep and begin to wonder if it wouldn’t have been better if you hadn’t survived the illness. You go through the day depressed, fatigued, dealing with all sorts of maladies you never had before. On a Friday morning in October, the police department calls and says they’ve got the thug who stole your wallet. And you are never going to believe this – they recovered all $1000 of your money! The Chief of Police tells you that it’s like you’ve won the lottery!
Only you know that wasn’t lottery money. That was your money, you earned with a job you once had, stolen. Along with your health, which it looks like you may never get back.
That’s exactly what the economic recovery looks like in reality. It fell at 31.4 percent in the 2nd quarter and bounced back to 33.1 in 3rd quarter, barely making up what was lost. Currently, an estimated 12.6 million people are unemployed and if you count those who have had their hours cut or dropped out of the workplace because of Covid (me) that number soars to 30 million. Women are bearing the brunt of our economic woes, since more women are underemployed or work in the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, which has killed 228,000 and that number is rising.
The number of Americans currently without health insurance is 27 million.
During a pandemic, y’all.