Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Dear Santa December 21, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.



I hesitate to write this last-minute letter given your hectic travel schedule and the sheer volume of work involved in delivering gifts around the world, not to mention supervising all those elves. I can’t imagine the stress. I bet you’re thankful for smartphones, loyal reindeer and a reliable sleigh.

I don’t mean to add to your burden, Santa. But I haven’t asked for anything from you in decades. So I thought I would send you my Christmas list and see what you can do. Here goes:

DSLR camera  (My aged Canon EOS 20-D performs poorly in low light and, well, it won’t last forever.)

office chair (Mine is ripping on the back and I need one that offers better back support.)

comforter (I noticed when I made the bed last week that ours is tearing.)

new bed (Ours is wearing out, as in sagging.)

new pots and pans (Mine are circa late 70s, handles coming loose…)

insta pot (This is a wish, not a need.)

kitchen update (Or at least a new faucet to replace the leaky one and maybe a new sink to replace the brown one.)

new smartphone (My Android is old and slow.)

shirts & sweaters (A weight loss necessitates this as does the need to upgrade an aging wardrobe.)

short boots (Not snowboots, but the fashion kind.)

There you go, Santa.

Wait a minute. I’m having second thoughts about asking for so much. I am thankful for all I already have. Let’s cross all those wishes off my list and make it a single wish. Here’s what I really want, and not just for myself: I want affordable health insurance, lower deductibles and insurance companies to stop making decisions about individual healthcare. Do you possess enough magic to make that happen?

Here’s the deal. The overwhelming cost of health insurance ($1,700/month for us with $4,250/each deductibles in 2020) is causing financial and emotional stress not only for me and Randy but for many others (those who are self-employed, work for small businesses with minimal or no benefits…) in the same situation. I don’t expect free insurance. But I do expect reasonable premiums and deductibles that make our insurance affordable and usable.

I know of family members, myself included, who are not getting necessary healthcare because they can’t afford it, due to the aforementioned high premiums and deductibles. And, no, I can get neither subsidy or tax credit. I checked, with multiple sources (aka MNsure navigators and social services). We fall through a loophole.

I know of family members denied prescriptions or treatments because health insurance companies judged these unnecessary or determined there were other options. Why do insurance companies have the right to override a medical provider’s directive? This makes absolutely no sense to me, Santa. Sure, policyholders can appeal decisions. But why aren’t doctors’ orders good enough?

I expect that for every grievance I could list here, thousands millions more exist.

Well, Santa, I don’t want to sound like a complainer and you probably can’t grant this wish. But if you have any connections with anyone who can effect change, I’d appreciate your help.

Safe travels and Merry Christmas!




18 Responses to “Dear Santa”

  1. Washe Koda Says:

    🎅 As for Santa I believe. I feel bad for folks and health care.
    I Thank the Veterans Administration for taking care of us war era disabled Vets 🇺🇸

  2. For you and all my fellow American’s I hope Santa can deliver your one wish.

  3. Ruth Says:

    A creative and smart post that illustrates the reality of the medical insurance debacle in our country. So well written Audrey.

    • Thank you, Ruth. The interesting facet of this is, that if I didn’t have the $1,700/month health insurance premiums to pay, I could afford the other items on my wish list. Think how that would spread my money throughout the economy rather than dumping it all into health insurance for healthcare I can’t afford because of absurd premiums and deductibles.

  4. Ohhhh, I sure hope Santa brings you the Christmas gift want and need! ❤ ❤

  5. Brian Says:

    A reasonable desire and request.

  6. norma Says:

    Audrey, I am so very sorry about your healthcare problems. I agree that it just isn’t right.
    The only thing to look forward to is Medicare. So hold on if you can. Until then, God be with you.

  7. caroleparkes Says:

    I’m astounded by how much you have to pay for your healthcare. If we had to pay $1,400 dollars monthly, we’d die of malnutrition and also be in the debtor’s jail. Translated into British pounds it is £1,074.33. This would leave my husband and I less than £200 per month for all the other bills, food, etc. As our community charge is £100 per month, our water rates are £55 per month and our gas and electric charges £85 per month there would be nothing left for the TV licence, telephone and internet package, let alone food and clothes. Thank God for our NHS but, sadly, this is in decline. I do hope we manage to keep hold of it.

    • We actually pay $1,700/month for our health insurance with $4,250 each deductibles. Once that’s taken out of the paycheck, there’s not a lot left. It’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of money. Something needs to change.

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