Legendary tennis champ Billie Jean King understands how devastating this year has been– specifically for people with persistent health conditions. King, 76, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007, wasn’t able to go to much of the U.S. Open this year due to safety procedures. “Keep in mind, this year especially: Champions Adjust,” she wrote on Twitter at the time. Just a few months previously, the tennis center called after King was become a momentary hospital for COVID-19 clients
Like lots of people, King also says the pandemic affected her treatment. Although she usually needs to go in for blood tests every six months, King informs SELF that her doctor warned her versus entering the office for this sort of routine care at the beginning of the pandemic. And she’s still hesitant about going to regular physician’s visits. “I have actually debated more than I normally do [about going in],” she states.
As we rapidly approach Election Day in the U.S., SELF spoke with King about the state of healthcare in our nation and why it’s so crucial to make sure everybody has access to quality medical insurance– particularly in the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis that’s left millions of Americans without jobs. And, as someone with a chronic health condition, King is specifically enthusiastic about ensuring those with pre-existing conditions are secured. Her answers have actually been modified and condensed for clearness.
SELF: How are you? How have you been throughout the pandemic?
Billie Jean King: I’ve been extremely fortunate and the people I understand have actually been extremely fortunate. I know someone who’s gotten sick straight, however I’ve been really lucky. I also had the opportunity of speaking with frontline workers during the U.S. Open, like medical nurse professional Sylvia Springer-Fahie.
She had actually gotten COVID, her hubby had gotten COVID, and their 10- year-old autistic kid had it, and it was difficult to explain social distancing, so that was actually difficult on them. But they all improved, which is excellent. But as she said, a great deal of individuals have not made it. And we actually need to do much better.
With concerns to healthcare, what’s at stake in this election?
Health care is so crucial to our wellness and it assists emotionally. People who are on insurance coverage tend to go to the physician and get what they require done[more than those who don’t have it] And throughout COVID, I think many people have not gone as frequently in general. However when you have insurance coverage, you tend to go, which helps everyone in the long run because you will not get sick as typically and it won’t be as extreme usually. That’s what’s at stake here– it could be up to 133 million adults with pre-existing conditions [who are at risk of losing their health care protections].
Our country appears to deal with healthcare, specifically the expense. With individuals losing their jobs [during the pandemic], they’re not going to have health care. You can go to COBRA, but that’s costly. The pandemic has made it really challenging for everybody.
A great deal of individuals state they do not have insurance coverage. A lot of young people state, “I do not have a job, I can’t pay for [insurance], and I’m healthy right now.” So they think they do not need to have it. But I don’t like that– I believe everyone should and is worthy of to have their health care, due to the fact that I travel a lot (prior to COVID) all over the world. In other nations, healthcare doesn’t cost as much and it seems like it works. Canadians shake their heads at us. I’m not clever adequate or in it enough to understand exactly what to do, however it just seems like everybody’s health must be a provided.
With the Affordable Care Act, Biden wants to extend Medicare and have a public health insurance choice for people. He understands that individuals want to have options.
What do you want more individuals understood about health issues in the U.S.?
History when you read it is very fast, however when you live it is very sluggish. You can work for something and get something passed, like Roe v. Wade It took decades and decades to do that, and it looks like it’s unraveling now You need to begin over in some cases.
And your generation is so important certainly for yourselves and for the future. With climate modification it’s so apparent. Your age group, I believe, much better than any age, gets that. We’re at a vital stage on that. We have to [take action], we simply need to. I’m going to be gone quickly, so I do not have to fret about me. But for kids and grandchildren and all those individuals, we need to.
What else should individuals bear in mind when they go to vote?
Like with masks, it’s not about you just; it’s about you not getting someone else sick. We’re choosing our country and the health of our country. It’s about thinking about the other individual, not just yourself. Obviously, you need to take care of yourself, but you must constantly consider your teammates and the other individuals in this nation and the world. And I believe if we choose Joe Biden, the U.S. will look after more individuals and will be a better place.