Pharoahe Monch, who has had to deal with health insurance issues due to problems with depression and asthma, among other things, recently spoke about his take on health care in America when asked about Obamacare.
“Years ago, I’m like, ‘I don’t understand why you don’t want healthy thinking, functioning, and working citizens,'” the Queens, New York rapper says in an interview with the Examiner. “Just starting from that simple man’s assessment is mind boggling to me. But then when you’re blessed to travel abroad to Copenhagen, Germany, the UK, Canada and you see how things are functioning, it changes your thoughts and perspectives about what you’re seeing in this country healthcare wise. You come back and you’re in New York City, South Jamaica Queens, Brooklyn, and you have somebody who is contemplating checking out a severe appendix pain or paying the cable bill – it’s crazy.
“I remember one time I was in Copenhagen and I was experiencing the asthma thing,” Pharoahe Monch continues. “I got sick over there touring and it was top-notch treatment that I had. At the end of the stint when me and my manager went to say that, ‘We’re covered by insurance in the States, you can mail us the bill, here are my credentials,’ they were like, ‘What credentials? For what? What are you talking about?’ and I was just blown away. It takes a monkey off your back that’s invisible. A lot of people deal with it here and they don’t even realize they deal with it. There is a relief that a lot of people don’t realize could be there. I’m saying that to say, you go to the emergency room and the aspirin is bumped up 20 times the price and the treatment is bumped up 20 times the price. It’s private companies that are providing these medications and you get these outrageous bills. The companies are charging these outrageous fees and where is that coming from? Why?”
Pharoahe Monch Details His Problems With American Health Care
Monch says he struggled with some aspects of health insurance recently.
“I was under COBRA [Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act] and how it works is it’s only for a certain amount of time that it lasts and you have to find a new carrier,” he says. “That doesn’t matter when you can’t breathe. Again, I’m likening it to what I can imagine to be a grave problem for people who don’t have the income that I have. If I need it at the time, I would just pay out of pocket. Most people can’t afford to pay out of pocket. There were times when I couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket — if I’m likening that to a spiral situation that’s deep and I think it’s worth writing about. I didn’t write a song about healthcare I’m just saying part of my writing in this project to explain where I was at still coming off of ‘Oh, this is heroic that he’s speaking out about the radio,’ or ‘This is heroic that he’s speaking out about these issues.’ I was just telling from the perspective that we’re shooting the video – same thing. The real hardcore is the people who put those types of things on the line and look at [Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X]. And the groups like [Public Enemy] who had to remove a member of their group. That’s what hardcore truly is in my eyes. I just wanted to make the record feel like P.T.S.D. is not a catchy, cool, popular thing to come behind the W.A.R. album with, but instead the reality of it is there are consequences to reap if you go independent and there is also hard work and trials and tribulations. I just wanted to show that side as well.”
Monch spoke with HipHopDX about his health and depression. “[This album] chronicles my bout with depression and the time I was hospitalized from a severe asthma attack,” he says. “They treated me with heavy dosages of Prednisone steroids and antibiotics intravenously. The side-effects wound up fucking me up. Anybody that knows those medications knows what I’m talking about. Things like a changing of sleeping habits, bloating and appetite increases. One time I was being released from the hospital, and they gave me a drug to wean me off of the drugs that I was already taking. Two weeks after I was released, I ran into issues like not being able to sleep, sadness and not wanting to be by myself. When I tried to tell people about my condition, I was met with responses like, ‘Have a beer or go smoke a blunt.’ I would tell them no, and further try to explain that I’m honestly going through issues.”