Michelle DuBarry and Bernie 2020 in sidewalk chalk

Mom’s Thread About How “Good” Health Insurance Treated Her After Child’s Death Goes Viral

A heartbreaking Twitter thread on the nightmare of dealing with a greedy health insurance company while trying to keep it together after her one-year-old son was hit by a car and later died in the hospital has been sweeping across the internet since it was posted Sunday. Writer Michelle DuBarry shared her experience in order to support Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All program, arguing that no parent should ever have to battle with insurance after suffering the worst loss imaginable.

Even before the child died, DuBarry and her husband had to worry about insurance deductibles and generally about whether they would be able to afford their medical bills even with “good union health insurance.” Unfortunately, they would find no relief from the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and, as everybody who has lost their employer health insurance knows, COBRA is worthless.

Soon after their baby passed away, their insurance company and the hospital that treated him began to make the grieving parents’ lives even worse. Michelle’s husband was also injured in the accident but was unable to receive proper treatment due to a ridiculous catch-22 created by the combination of car insurance and health insurance.

DuBarry asked readers to imagine having to deal with all of that just days after losing a young child because your husband desperately needs medication and still having to pay out-of-pocket expenses to a hospital that put a lien on your house.

What happens next is perhaps the most infuriating part of the whole ordeal. Frankly, it’s to her credit that Michelle DuBarry didn’t go on some kind of rampage in her health insurance company’s headquarters.

“Then our health ins. co. came after our pain and suffering settlement,” she explained. “They demanded reimbursement for the $175K they were out. Turns out they were legally entitled to do that.” And they got it.

It’s bad enough having to deal with an insurance company and a legal system right after losing a one-year-old child to an accident caused by the negligence of another driver. It’s unimaginably cruel to take away the settlement money that the grieving parents could have used to take some leave from work so that they could focus on dealing with their trauma instead of focusing on avoiding bankruptcy. DuBarry imagines a better system.

She further warns that health problems will eventually happen to every one of us, even if it’s not as horrific as what she went through. All of us will experience loss, and none of us need to have to negotiate with profit-driven health insurance companies while we grieve.

DuBarry concludes her thread by stating her support for Medicare for All and the candidate who first supported it and wrote the bill, Senator Bernie Sanders.

Currently, Senator Elizabeth Warren is the only other candidate with a Medicare for All plan that compares to Sanders’. Bernie Sanders has gained an early lead in the Democratic primaries, handily winning the Nevada caucuses over the weekend.