Updated: Mar 31, 2022
This one is a little heavy.
In 2018 my dad began to experience really bad lower leg and foot pain. He assumed he tore something or severely strained a muscle and didn't do anything about it. He didn't have healthcare and couldn't afford it. Even if he could've gotten healthcare through the government, it would have been high deductible which he still couldn't afford. My dad spent his life working in the food and beverage industry, working everything from cook to server to bartender to manager. Almost no job he ever had offered him benefits.
Towards the end of 2018 my dad couldn't take the pain anymore. He finally had to go to the hospital, and worked with a social worker to try and get whatever he could get covered. He found out that he had diabetes, and had for some time (no way of knowing just how long). The diabetes had done severe damage to several blood vessels in my dad's legs. Not only that, he had clots in multiple spots in his body. Something had to be done, and fast. The doctors did everything they could to save my dad's legs.
At the time, my then-fiancée (now wife) and I were in the middle of wedding planning. My dad openly cried, telling me that he had asked the doctor's just to save his legs until after the wedding. He wanted to walk down that aisle. And the doctors performed multiple procedures to try new veins in my dad's legs. They were finally happy with the results. My dad had to go to wound care for an extremely long time, but it was worth it for him to walk down that aisle.
The morning of my dad's last appointment at the wound care center, the vein that had been put into his leg burst. He bled out on the back porch on a warm summer day, eventually succumbing to blood loss. He never got to walk down that aisle.
I hate retelling that story. Every time I do, I cry. I debate if I will ever even say it out loud on the campaign trail because I don't know if I'll be able to make it through or control my emotions around it. I don't tell this story for pity or empathy. I don't tell it to score cheap political points. I tell it because it became a turning point in my life.
My father's passing became a rallying cry for me. I know that there are families all over this state and country with similar stories. It hurts me that we have to live in a society and just be okay with a system that allows so many low income and working class families to lose loved ones. Healthcare shouldn't just be for the wealthy, it should work for everyone.
To that end, I believe in offering a public option for healthcare. It would allow private insurance companies to exist and offer some extra benefits in some situations while also taking care of all Michiganders. People could opt in and pay in based on income level and be covered for healthcare.
Healthcare is a human right and we have the technology and wealth to prevent many losses in our state. I want to promote those ideals locally.