Anyone who has heard their doctor tell them they have a breast tumor that requires a biopsy understands the heart-thumping, adrenalin-pumping fear that message causes.

But it can be worse.

My friend faced that fear without health insurance because as a self-employed worker she simply couldn't afford it. The health care facility wouldn't do the biopsy without upfront payment. My friend handled the situation the only way she could — by putting the cost on her credit card. After two years, she is still paying the bill, with interest, while supporting two children. Fortunately, the tumor was benign.

Now, two years later, she faces the same situation again. Sitting at the hospital's financial desk together and trying to make arrangements she can afford was a wrenching experience for both of us.

As a state, we have the capacity — and hopefully the will — to assure this kind of desperation ends for my friend and about 53,000 others. The Utah State Legislature can join with the federal government to expand Medicaid to many more Utahns. Tell them the time to do it is during this legislative session.

Irene Fisher

Salt Lake City

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