While it may be true that “everything happens for a reason,” some reasons don’t justify things staying that way. With Mother’s Day this month, it’s a good time to examine why so many mothers in the U.S. are worried about health care costs. Possible reasons/justifications include:

1) Mothers just worry.

2) Smart women have good jobs that provide health insurance.

3) Good women are married to people with good jobs that provide health insurance.

It’s also possible that:

4) Mothers worrying about health care cost are often balancing a broader set of financial priorities than non-mothers. Marriages sometimes end. People change jobs. Health issues/needs arise. These things happen in the lives of people who are both smart and good.

5) Some health needs (like the need for professional midwifery, obstetric care or lactation support) are directly related to having children. Other health issues/needs are more important to “stay on top of” due to the intensive nature of parenting and the profound reliance of children on their parents. (I’m thinking mental health and substance use disorders.)

Please consider the many mothers in our little city. No mother is perfect, and every mother needs to be able to go to the doctor when a problem or concern comes up. Whether the cost is $20, $50, $100, $200 or $0, accessing care also (often) involves:

a) establishing a relationship with a care provider;

b) making an appointment;

c) arranging for childcare and;

d) getting there on time.

In other words, accessing care is challenging enough for mothers, without the added burden of having to justify the expense. National Nurses United is campaigning for single payer health care with the slogan “Love it! Improve it! Medicare For All!”

Nurses know Medicare is not perfect. It could be improved on. They know health care (at best) is integrated with preventative care. Currently, the systems we rely on often accomplish little more than symptom management for chronic diseases. Even so, many mothers can’t even access this level of care.

Flowers and chocolate are fine gifts. Health care regardless of career or marital status is the equivalent of caviar (or gold) infused face cream for “worry” lines.

Whether you are a younger person thinking about your mom, a parent thinking about your daughter, or a grandparent thinking about your grandchildren … please take a moment to sign the Keene Medicare For All Petition. www.radnh.org/med4all