I'm losing my health insurance when I leave work so I went to the doctor's today for my yearly checkup. I had an EKG
done. Everything is ticking well, even though I've gained 4 lbs. since the last time I visited. I've never really been withouth health insurance and I hope nothing happens while I don't have it.
I was talking to a lady caller on the phone last night and I told her I had a appointment. I asked her when the last time she went to the doctor and she told me she didn't remember. She then said she didn't have health insurance. Damn, that sucks. She works like a dog and her employer doesn't provide health insurance.
That got me to thinking of a conversation I had with Dr. Ramiro Casso over the Thanksgiving break. I didn't realize who the man was until I started talking to him and asking questions.
Saturday morning after breakfast my father and I went to get our hair cut at his barber shop. It's in downtown McAllen. We both needed haircuts and I was going to go to some chain, but my pops refused to, so I went with him. The barber shop, operated by owner Tomas, has been located there forever. When we walked in Tomas was cutting some man's hair - he was wearing chanclas and sported a big ass bigote. My dad and Tomas go way back. We sat down and my dad started talking to Tomas while the man on the chair chimed in. The t.v. had some spanish station on. There was a hand-written sign with a crossed out 7, that read: hair cuts, 8 dollars.
I picked up The Monitor
and started reading. Shortly after an old man wearing a guayabera walked in. He said, "Buenos Dias" and everyone replied accordingly. He was old and I figured Mexican, because he picked up a copy of El Diario
. I started asking my dad a couple of things and the old man was just listening. Then he asked me if I was in school and we started chatting. My dad apparently knew who he was, because when I asked the old guy what he did back in the day, my dad said "tell him everything you're involved with." So the old dude started telling me about being on the board of a community college, opening up a non-profit clinic for poor folk, serving as the main force behind getting a health center to S. Texas, etc. I was very intrigued so I started asking him more questions, and eventually asked him about the CHIPS
program. That's the health insurance program for poor kids that the current administration in Texas cut funding for. Dr. Casso, had a look of sadness in his eyes. He told me how they fought to keep the program. He told me how millions of kids in Texas and especially in the colonias in S. Texas go uninsured. I asked him where they went for medical attention, and he told me that they didn't go anywhere - or they would go to Mexico. Of course, I knew all of this. We always went to Mexico for everything.
I suspected all of this would happen when I heard about the program being cancelled, but I had never heard it coming from a physician who has dedicated his life to working with poor people. We talked about a lot of stuff and before I left he asked me to go back to the Valley. I think I will. Not now, but sometime.