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Stories from Main Street: RN Sue Gray says her biggest concern is keeping health insurance

, 9/8/11

RN Sue Gray is exhausted.

A cancerous battle has raged inside her body for more than a decade. Despite treatment, the deadly disease spread five years ago from her breasts to her liver and bones and is now stage-4.

But the Minnesota nurse continues to work at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis where she cares for children.

Gray has no choice.  The wife and mother of three must work to maintain health insurance for her family.  Her husband -- a self-employed cabinet maker ­– has tried but can’t find a job with health benefits in the current economy.

“My biggest concern is how to keep the insurance up so that I can get my healthcare and I can provide for my family,” she says in this video. “I have insurance through my hospital but the chemo I get is so expensive. There’s no way I can afford to pay that if I didn’t have insurance.”

For the Gray family to go onto the open market to buy health insurance, it would be difficult and cost prohibitive. This is another reminder of why we need a better healthcare reform, such as expanded Medicare for all.

 

Like hundreds of others, Gray has shared her story with National Nurses United as part of its campaign for a new Main Street Contract for the American people.

Nurses are fighting to reclaim the American dream – quality education, housing, protection from hunger, a secure retirement, a fair taxation system, good-paying jobs and healthcare for all.

Researchers found earlier this year that as many as one in five people don’t take drugs a doctor has prescribed because they can’t pay for them, according to a study in the Academic Emergency Medicine journal.  

As nurses, we hear the economic horror stories from our patients. We see the chronic symptoms that could be prevented.

Gray understands this at a personal level.

One of her oral-chemotherapy medications costs $4,000 every three weeks. Nobody can afford that without insurance, she says.

 “It’s sad to think they could be getting care that could keep them alive for awhile . . . and they can’t do it,” Gray says.  

That’s why Gray and National Nurses United support the Main Street Contract. Everyone deserves healthcare and a chance to live.

While the battle continues, Gray grows tired.  

“I’m forcing myself to work,” she says. “I have to keep working until my husband can find a job that has benefits.”

Please share your own story of how our country’s financial downfall is hurting you and learn more about the Main Street contract.  

Go to www.mainstreetcontract.org for more details, or submit your own story there.

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