bakery closure microtragedy / fits on one page
Starla D. Darling, 27, was pregnant when she learned that her insurance coverage was about to end. She rushed to the hospital, took a medication to induce labor and then had an emergency Caesarean section, in the hope that her Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan would pay for the delivery.
Ms. Darling [was] among 275 people who worked at an Archway cookie factory here in north central Ohio. The company provided excellent health benefits. But the plant shut down abruptly this fall, leaving workers without coverage, like millions of people battered by the worst economic crisis since the Depression.
Ms. Darling, who was pregnant when her insurance ran out, worked at Archway for eight years, and her father, Franklin J. Phillips, worked there for 24 years.
“When I heard that I was losing my insurance,” she said, “I was scared. I remember that the bill for my son’s delivery in 2005 was about $9,000, and I knew I would never be able to pay that by myself.”
So Ms. Darling asked her midwife to induce labor two days before her health insurance expired.
“I was determined that we were getting this baby out, and it was going to be paid for,” said Ms. Darling, who was interviewed at her home here as she cradled the infant in her arms.
As it turned out, the insurance company denied her claim, leaving Ms. Darling with more than $17,000 in medical bills.
Some of you might have taken a look at my strange, unfinished little dystopian fiction, part of which I posted for you to download a few weeks ago. Well, this is, in a sense, just the sort of thing I was anticipating and trying to render… The thousands and thousands of microtragedies and banal collapses that will come of this thing, this thing that has been inevitable and totally visible from a long, long way back. In a sense, I’ve clipped this NYT story into a shape that would have fit almost without seam into the project… There’s more to be said about why that would matter, the size and the shape of this type of story, and I’ll get to it soon if not (tempting!) later tonight.
(BTW, there is no such thing as a “cookie factory,” as the NYT has it. They are called bakeries… Believe me, I would know, but not for any admirable reason…)