Alex Chilton didn't seek medical attention because he had no health insurance

Alex Chilton didn't seek medical attention because he had no health insurance

As if we needed another argument for why, regardless of the political and financial means for attaining it, universal healthcare for all is absolutely necessary, now comes this sad, quiet revelation: It might have saved Alex Chilton. Buried at the bottom of this loving portrait of the late Big Star frontman in his later years—during which he lived a simple, “lazy” life in a small cottage in Treme, playing the occasional spontaneous gig and apparently watching reruns of Walker, Texas Ranger and Touched By An Angel, which is kind of awesome in its own weird way—is this paragraph:

At least twice in the week before his fatal heart attack, Chilton experienced shortness of breath and chills while cutting grass. But he did not seek medical attention, [Laura Kersting, Chilton’s wife] said, in part because he had no health insurance.

On March 17, Chilton suffered another episode and finally caved to going to the hospital, where he then died. Had Chilton been less concerned with the expense, and had he been able to visit the doctor during the first sign of sickness without it costing thousands of dollars, would he still be alive today? Obviously, that would just be speculation—and politically biased speculation at that, which we know everybody hates around here. But it is a sobering portrait of what it’s like for independent musicians, as well as everyone else out there who has to make do without health insurance; now, why don’t we want everyone to have that again? Something about socialism and Hitler?