I really like going on recruiting trips. In addition to the free trip, I get to meet all kinds of students excited to
throw themselves on the fire enter the workforce building software. Recently I got to go on a trip to the University of Calgary. Probably not my first choice of venues but at least it wasn’t winter!
After a day of taking resumes, chatting with candidates and frantically purchasing all of the drinks for sale at a campus store some students hung around for a bit afterwards to chat.
A girl with her arm in a sling introduced herself. Immediately I asked what had happened to her arm - expecting a sports injury, or otherwise amusing story. She proceeded to explain that she has a genetic condition that requires her to have surgery semi-frequently and this was the result of her most recent hospital visit.
Her questions for me weren’t about salary, or whether Microsoft does agile development or whether there were positions available on the Access team (we still make it!). She asked me whether she would be able to take time off to have surgery when she needed it. She asked about how much insurance would cost and whether it would cover her condition. Her primary concern was that Microsoft is located in the United States and that meant her health would be in jeopardy.
I was really proud to explain that at least at this company, we take care of our people. While I don’t know the specifics of her condition, I am absolutely certain that Microsoft would do the right thing by her. I know that she would receive great treatment and be accommodated by her team at work. Indeed any manager that would raise an eyebrow about accommodating her would be a in a shit-ton of trouble.
This is just one example, but throughout the civilized-healthcare-providing-world there are untold numbers of bright and qualified people that happen to have - or have family members with - medical conditions that will make them think twice about moving to America.
While I also agree that in the greatest country in the world* it is an embarrassment that people are having to make a choice between food and medicine, I believe that fixing healthcare is also an economic imperative.
* not including Canada