"Because we are citizens": Homeless Baltimoreans Speak on Healthcare Rights

Interviews from the Thanksgiving dinner for the Homeless at the Baltimore Convention Center, 11/22/17

 

My name is karina

My friend or loved one's name is

My grandmother

This is what happened to my loved one

Depending on the time of the year, her insurance will only pay a certain amount for her medication. Sometimes it will cost a couple thousand dollars per month.

When I saw my loved one suffering, I felt

sad because she will suffer without her medication

Healthcare is a human right because

Nobody should be in pain when we can help it.

 

My name is Levita

I am from

Philadelphia

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

Sometimes I can't pay my copay, so sometimes I don't go to the doctor because of the copay

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

bad because they will be wondering why you took so long to go

Healthcare is a human right because

Everybody should be healthy and have healthcare

 

My name is Antoinette

I am from

Baltimore

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

I have been disabled since 2001. I am on Medicare and Medicaid. I have had the same fillings in since 1984 and they need to be replaced, but I can't afford it. My teeth are falling out.

Healthcare is a human right because

Everybody should have the right to their health.

 

My name is Jackie

I am from

Baltimore

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

In 1978, I got hurt and had to wait all day to be seen in the ER because I didn't have insurance.

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

angry

Healthcare is a human right because

Whether you have insurance or not, people are obligated to treat you.

 

My name is Thomas

I am from

Baltimore

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

In 1975, I was shot by police during an armed robbery. Hospital staff were harassing me for the bill and started harassing my parents because they couldn't pay.

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

Honestly, I didn't feel anything because I was in a really bad place at that time. But I still should have been treated differently.

Healthcare is a human right because

Nobody in regards to how they're living should be mistreated or stigmatized.

 

My name is Violetta

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

they don't have proper insurance or none at all

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

disrespected and I feel that the system does not work for me

Healthcare is a human right because

we are citizens and as citizens it is a human right to have insurance

 

My name is Devon

My friend or loved one's name is

Sue (my mother)

This is what happened to my loved one

My mother had Hepatitis C. This was a few years ago, before the new drugs were available. She got three months treatment of Infuron, which made her sick. After three months, her insurance wouldn't pay for it anymore. When the new treatments came out, it was too late - she had experienced hepatitic encephalopathy and liver failure. They refused to put her on transplant because they considered her an at-risk patient. She suffered the last year of her life in pain.

When I saw my loved one suffering, I felt

Helpless and angry. When she died I was relieved because she was no longer in pain.

Healthcare is a human right because

It is. And it should be free like in other countries.

 

My name is Michelle.

My friend or loved one's name is

Gisella

This is what happened to my loved one

She was not able to get help when she really needed it.

When I saw my loved one suffering, I felt

Sad, lonely and disappointed.

Healthcare is a human right because

Nobody should be in pain when we can help it.

 

My name is Ohu

I am from

Lagos

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

When I do not have insurance

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

bad

Healthcare is a human right because

It enables everyone to be healthy.

 

My name is Simone

I am from

Baltimore

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

I've always known - there was that one time I got a really big bill from an ER visit

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

I felt so mad that I had to take a walk

Healthcare is a human right because

The [the government] have got the money for everyone to have it!

 

My name is Terrell

I am from

Baltimore

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

 I went to the hospital with the flu. I had no insurance and was made to wait for hours while people with Blue Cross Blue Shield went straight through.

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

disrespected and upset

Healthcare is a human right because

Everybody is human and it doesn't matter how much money you have

 

My name is Damien

I am from

Baltimore

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

I had low level Hepatitis C and my insurance wouldn't pay for the drug to treat it. I was able to get the drug by participating in a medical study.

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

I was upset because I had insurance

Healthcare is a human right because

we are already putting money into it

 

My name is Vanessa

I am from

Baltimore

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

As I got older, I noticed a difference. There used to be more free stuff - dentists, glasses, etc. University of Maryland dental school used to provide free care. They don't now.

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

Sad, hurt and angry

Healthcare is a human right because

Everybody should have the same care

 

My name is Charles

I am from

Baltimore

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

I broke my left clavicle gwhen I was going to college. My mom's health insurance didn't cover it and I couldn't pay for it because I was attending college instead of working. They kept harassing her with bills she couldn't pay and it it went to a collection unit.

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

I felt bad because it made credit score go down

Healthcare is a human right because

At the end of the day, humans should care about one another.

 

My name is Ursula

I am from

Chicago

I found myself in medical debt when

I have been blessed to have insurance AND knowledge of how to care for myself

Having to deal with medical debt made me feel

incentive to learn acupuncture

Healthcare is a human right because

Every human being needs to have their health to live a healthy, successful, satisfying life.

 

My name is Pamela

I am from

Baltimore

I learned that the healthcare system treats people like me differently when

A few months ago, a caseworker told me that in order to get insurance and housing I would have to drop my doctors for in-network providers. I did not want to drop my doctors, so I did not sign up for the insurance.

when my rights are disrespected, i feel

Annoyed. I wondered what was wrong. Pathetic.

Healthcare is a human right because

Other countries are doing well with universal healthcare systems.