Personal Narrative: Poverty In America

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The most memorable thing about a hospital is the smell. The sterile scent of rubber gloves and antibacterial cleaner was an all too familiar part of my childhood as I spent years swinging my feet nervously in waiting room chairs, waiting to be admitted into Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta time and time again. As my life became a series of being poked and prodded with needles for blood tests and IVs, having lead bibs placed on my chest for X-rays, and hearing the dreaded “How are you feeling today?”, the familiar aroma became a stench. Spending days in a hospital bed instead of in the classroom with my friends at school became taxing on my body and mind, and watching the toll it took on my mother who sat in the chair beside me was even more…show more content…
As the contents of the course dealt with the direct correlation between health and factors such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status, I realized that while health effects everyone, healthcare is discriminatory. The main required reading, “Poverty in America” by John Iceland, put this idea at the forefront, sharing the accounts of families who fell victim to cyclical and structural poverty and struggled day to day due to financial situations brought about by lost jobs, defaulted mortgages, and what resonated with me the most, medical debt. As I found myself empathizing with these stores, it became apparent that I was not just reading about the multitudes of impoverished families in the United States, but the story of my own family as well. From here, I found where my educational interest in health met my passion in caring for others, and I became committed to learning how to better the way in which minority groups and low-income families gain access to affordable, quality…show more content…
In what was probably the most eye-opening volunteer positions I served, I found that for the first time, there were many instances in which I could not help people. During appointments, there were times when I had to relay the information that a consumer could not get health coverage, whether it was because they fell in the coverage gap that prevented them from receiving subsidies, the coverage offered by their employer was considered “affordable” by the statutes but not by their personal budgets, or some other unfortunate, yet all too common, circumstance. Despite this, it was one of my most valuable learning experiences. During training, I had the opportunity to learn who was eligible for subsidies and how they are established, the guidelines of the SHOP Marketplace, what essential health benefits are, and a number of other things about health insurance. The desire to build upon the knowledge gained in this position drives me daily to continue learning about health policy and management to acquire the tools that needed to assess and correct this “system” that has still left 29 million people uninsured, and even more

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