I’m listening to multi-award winning SF author Robert J. Sawyer on the SciFiDimensions podcast (I’m on my iPhone so you’ll have to google for a link), and he’s asked why so many award winning and critically aclaimed SF writers come out of Canada and the U.K. His answer: socialized health care.
There’s an addage that anyone who can spend 10,000 hours at something will become accomplished at it and can start producing quality after that. When you have socialized healthcare you can start your writing career at young age because you don’t have to worry about the cost of illness and injury. (Author and technology guru Cory Doctorow (Canadian) after living in the U.S. for many years, moved to the U.K. with his wife to start their family and has said he’ll never live anywhere again where there’s not socialized healthcare.)
Listening to Sawyer explain how socialized healthcare is the greatest gift a society could give to it’s people and the arts in particular brought up angry tears. My life since undergrad has been all about working for that “gift” of American for-profit health insurance. Every job I worked, every job I overworked, jobs I desperately wanted to leave, decisions not to work jobs I wanted more, have all been predicated on making sure my family had health insurance. My desire and drive since childhood to write has taken a back- to non-existant seat to slaving away for g–d– health insurance.
And the freakin irony is even with the generous and patriotic boon of for-profit health insurance, we’ve still had to pay thousands in medical bills and premiums and deductables. And even with god’s gift of health insurance upon the only modern nation to not have socialized healthcare, should my family become visited by a little more significant of a health issue, we could become broke, bankrupt, broken.
I’m middle-aged now, barely able to eke through the beginnings of my 10,000 writing hours, and I’ve done shitall except work 40+ hours a week as a drone at mind draining jobs for the gift of health insurance that’s STILL a financial drain on us. I fucking hate capitalism.