It was Wednesday and Blanche was already aching. Her back hurt when she bent down to put the roasts in the oven, her ankles and knees ached as she stood and chopped, her shoulders were sore when she reached up for the big pots stored up high. She’d finished lunch and the hashers were gone, so it was just her making the dinner for the 45 fraternity boys.
Dennis had seemed worried as she left him this morning. “What’s bothering you grandson?” He’d make his lunch and catch the bus after she left, but they always had breakfast together.
“I got a rash and it hurts.”
“Let me see.”
He pulled up his shirt exposing a pink raised band across his ribs.
Blanche had never seen anything like it. “We’ll keep an eye on it. Don’t rub it.”
She left the trailer and got in her old sedan and drove to work. But the worry added to her ache.
The young man Skip came into the kitchen all chipper. “You got any apples? I want to take one for this long afternoon. I got lab until 6.”
“Over there in that bowl.” Blanche was chopping celery.
“How you doing Blanche?” Skip had apologized to her before and seemed to be a kind young man.
“Oh, my grandson has a rash and I can’t afford to take him to the doctor.”
Skip frowned. “You don’t have health insurance?”
“No, we don’t. Can’t afford it.”
Skip frowned. “We could Google it.” Blanche chuckled and shook her head.
“No, really, it’s great. Let’s look.” Skip whipped out his laptop. “Tell me about the rash.”
“He says it hurts and it’s on his rib area. Just started.”
Skip typed and scrolled and frowned, then showed Blanche the screen. “Does it look like this?”
“No, it’s just on one side and doesn’t have those black spots.”
Skip typed some more and scrolled. After a couple more tries he closed the laptop and said, “Sorry. Sounds like he needs to see a doctor.”
“Yeah.” Blanche shook her head again.
“Well, come this January you can get him and you on Medicaid. Idaho has expanded Medicaid so more people can have health insurance.”
“Medicaid? Really? But I’m working.” Blanche protested.
“It’s based on how much you earn. Lots of folks don’t get insurance through their work and don’t make enough to buy health insurance on the state exchange.”
“Yeah, that’s us. I looked into that exchange thing a few years ago but I didn’t qualify. Made too little.”
Skip frowned. “But this new lawsuit might throw all that out the window. The Republicans want to get rid of Obamacare so they sued that it is unconstitutional.”
Blanche stared at him like he was speaking a foreign language. “I’m sure glad you are paying such attention to this stuff.”
Skip got animated. “Yeah, the Republicans have fought Obamacare for years now. They couldn’t get it repealed in Congress, though that’s what Trump promised. Now they are about to get it over turned by a court decision.”
“So, I won’t be getting health insurance in January?”
Skip frowned. “I don’t know. Could be. Lots of things could change.” He tapped his computer. “Come to think of it, I could lose my coverage too. I’m still on my parent’s health insurance coverage; that was part of Obamacare.”
Blanche looked at the young healthy man. “Why do you need insurance? You’re young.”
Skip laughed. “Blanche, everybody ought to have health insurance.”
Blanche shook her head and chopped some more celery. “Too many people think doctors or pills will solve all their problems.”
“You got that right, Blanche. But when people get really sick, they need insurance. I just read an article how most people go bankrupt paying for their cancer care.”
Blanche frowned. Could Dennis have cancer?
Skip hoisted his backpack. “Let me know about your grandson’s rash. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
Blanche ached even more while she cooked that afternoon.