Yoga teacher Michael Joel Hall was beaten in what was probably a hate crime a month after he lost his apartment to a fire. He had not renewed his private health insurance after a trip abroad and could not afford several thousand dollars for medical expenses.
Yoga studios and teachers throughout Washington, DC held donation classes in order to help pay the hospital bills, and raised the full amount and then some.
It’s touching to hear how people came together for this cause, to help someone in the yoga community who needed it.
It’s extremely sad to me that this did not raise debate about health insurance. The title of this Washington Post article, Yoga teacher recovers, but attack highlights job’s health-care issues, implies that it will address the topic and completely fails to do anything but summarize a series of events (albeit a series with a heartwarming end).
I’m not a yoga teacher, but I have worked jobs as an independent contractor with no health insurance provided. I’ve taken out my own private insurance and have similarly been tempted to let it lapse. It’s expensive and I worry that even if I do need it, my plan won’t pay. There have been times when I might have liked to go to a doctor, but couldn’t afford to take time off work or pay the deductible … in part because I was paying more than a hundred dollars a month for the insurance.
What if you are similarly wrongly hurt, but you are not a high profile yoga teacher? What if you are hurt in a less dramatic way? What if the money isn’t raised? It’s ironic that health insurance is most likely not provided to most teachers in a health-related field such as yoga. It shouldn’t be up to yoga teachers and students to come up with an action plan to cover teachers or others, but the topic could at least be raised.