My toddler with Leukemia does not have insurance as of today.
“Your daughters do not have Insurance until July 1st (29 days).”
the woman on the phone said.
Today I learned what it feels like to be a number.
Today is June 2nd (and unless something changes) we have:
- 28 days without insurance for either girl.
- 3 visits to Riley Children’s Hospital.
- 3 Chemo Infusions
- 2 Spinal Taps
All without insurance. (That’s a lot of numbers!)
How did this happen?
A couple weeks ago Ashley and I realized that a number was wrong in our insurance. It was just a little problem–they showed that I had a wife born in 2016 rather than 1985! 🤔
I filled out all my papers way back in February and this little number just went through the system. No one stopped to question whether it made sense for me to marry a woman born September 11, 2016. The computer just registered all our numbers and no one stopped to think about them.
We discovered it when it caused problems picking up medicine. So, I hopped online and made the change.
I changed a number and that changed another number.
Somehow, changing Ashley’s birthday made the computer believe that our children were now eligible for Medicaid. So, the computer promptly took Isabelle and Christy off of our current insurance and shipped them off in a Medicaid application. (We don’t qualify for Medicaid.)
Because I had some questions I called in today. I discovered that the girls were taken off our insurance and promptly spent the next three hours trying to get them put back on.
Now, at the end of the day the girls still do not have insurance. We have several balls rolling trying to get their insurance reinstated. But right now, on paper (Digital paper) The girls are uninsured for the next 29 days.
What does a number feel like?
Think about this equation: 1 + 1 + 1 = 3
All those numbers have flat, straightforward simple values. Math really isn’t that complex. One means one all the time. Three will always mean three. Of course, they can change value simply by where you placed them. But, in them selves their value is simple and is a slave to it’s position.
I could change the equation to: 11 + 1 = 12
Just by moving the position of one number the whole equation was thrown off. A number is only worth something based on its context in relationship to the other numbers and variables in the equation.
Humans really aren’t like numbers
The conversation about our insurance lapse became intense every time I mentioned the word “leukemia” along with “toddler.” I spoke with about eight different people and every time the conversation started off casually as simply an explanation of what happened. Several people even explained that I simply had to wait until July 1. Then I dropped the “L” bomb.
As soon as they saw my daughter as a child with a deadly disease they stopped seeing her as a number.
I really am grateful to all the folks at healthcare.gov. The men and women I talked to worked hard for me and my daughter. They saw her as someone with value needing help. Thanks to their ability to see beyond our numbers I have a plan and hope to get this problem fixed.
Humans have inherent value
As humans we have inherent value. And we want to be treated like a person and not like a number. Numbers can be shuffled around and their values change based entirely on their context. Human beings can choose, and their value stays static regardless of their context. Or at least it should.
You know, the best businesses and organizations get this.
Churches that thrive know how to serve and value people well. Businesses that last know how to treat people with value. Men and women who value other people make great friends.
I think this kind of idea is what Paul was driving at in 1 Corinthian’s 13:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. ….
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Humans are not numbers. Therefore we should love them and not try to quantify them. If we learn to love people as people and not numbers, it will change everything.