I never talk about politics here. I know you don't come here for that, and while I feel very strongly about some things, I don't believe I have the only 'right' opinion out there. But, I'm sorry, for once I can't keep quiet, because I am scared.
People I know have been saying to me that they think the NHS should be scrapped, and that we should replace it with a private healthcare system. I also know that the Conservatives have a history of privatising government systems, because they see that as a solution. Those two facts together terrify me.
I could speak generally about the privatisation of health services and why I think it's a bad idea (things like 'hey, do you really love your car insurance company so much that you want those same guys to have the literal power of life and death over you?'), but instead I'm going to talk about my own specific situation.
As many of you know, I have had cancer.
Guys, I will struggle to get insurance for that. Health insurance companies will not want to cover me for a pre-existing condition that I might get again. Why would they?
I will also struggle to get insurance for the other cancers that I am now at a higher risk of getting due to my treatment (yes, some of the drugs they give you to treat your cancer increase your risk of getting another cancer, but what are you going to do?).
I am looking into the future, and wondering what I am going to have to give up to pay for my potential future cancer treatment. I have a vague idea of how much my last treatment cost and the word 'astronomical' springs to mind.
Our savings will go, obviously.
My kids university fund (and I am not banking on getting them a nice student loan when they are older, so if I get sick that could quite easily scotch their chance of ever getting a degree).
Sell the house? I love this house, but, well, we could live somewhere smaller, and if the alterative is death what are you going to do? What if I get a reccurring cancer? I know one person who was fighting cancer for fifteen years. What then?
Now, you could argue that maybe there will be help for someone like me - after all, I could not have been expected to get insurance prior to my cancer, because I expected the NHS would always be there. Maybe. That would be nice. But even if I'm okay, even if things work out for me, I am willing to guarantee that someone I know and care about will not be. They will not be okay. This is their future.
Look, I'm not saying 'vote for the left, they will fix everything!' because I'm not an idiot. I am saying think about what is most important to you when you go to vote. I am also saying that whatever party does get in, if they start taking the NHS apart, I will be fighting it with everything I've got and I hope you will too.
Please, please, please, I am begging you ... do not undervalue the NHS, and do not let people trick you into thinking that privisation is the answer. One day someone you love is going to get sick - and you do not want the first question they ask themselves to be 'can I afford to go to the doctor?'.