A year ago this month, tornadoes and taxes drove us to the brink. According to year-long Gallup polling, the April 27 tornado outbreak claiming 300 lives was 2011’s most stressful day, with April 18’s tax day right behind it. Rounding out the top six and tied with Form 1040 were the Fukishima nuclear plant meltdown, Egypt’s revolution and near-record Mississippi river flooding.
Disasters, revolution and…. taxes? In Sesame Street parlance, one of these things is not like the others. Still, 2010 results were similar: disasters (Midwest flooding, Chilean miners, Haiti earthquake, BP Oil spill) were among the top six stressors, with money (Ben Bernanke testimony on the economy) occupying the number one slot.
If money issues have a palpable effect on a broad swath of Americans nearly to the same extent that a disaster does, then imagine what stress levels are like among the 1.27 million Arizonans with no health insurance and mounting care costs. Research clearly shows that they forego needed care, that the care they do receive is incomplete, and that the strain of medical bills only deepens the health hole into which they may fall. Given that health is a basic need, ask yourself whether it makes sense for one in five of us to live and work this way.
Perhaps standing in the shoes of the uninsured might help make this year’s tax day seem a little less like a disaster.