With This Surgery, I Thee Wed

We all want to grow up and marry (for those who wish to be married), the love of our dreams…and of course live happily and healthy ever after…

Come ‘on…who are we kidding….we want to marry for the insurance and health care security right???  It seems ridiculous, but many couples admit that their marriage was in part not an expression of pure and never-ending love for each other, but rather a means of securing insurance for both themselves and their domestic partner.  But you may be asking yourself, does this really happen?  Do people really get married just to get insurance coverage…and why can’t they get affordable insurance on their own?  We’ll the answer lies in the some 1,000 legislative laws that are extended to married couples or even same-sex domestic partners but nor to heterosexual domestic partners.  I believe that this sort of marriage has become so popular in recent years that even the media is drawing more attention to its rising popularity.

In the ever-dramatic episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, there was an incident in which this idea of “with surgery I thee wed” comes into play within the hospital of Seattle Grace Mercy West.  In episode 10, Dr.  Teddy Altman, cardiothoracic surgeon,  meets Henry Burton, a patient with the rare genetic condition Von Hippel-Lindau disease and who can no longer afford to pay for his medical care.  Out of concern for his well-being and lack of family for support, Teddy marries him  in order to ensure that he has insurance to undergo a life-saving surgery.  Right before surgery, Dr. Altman signs a simple signature to ensure that Henry will be insured in the procedure later that evening. 

It seems frustrating to me that laws have been passed allowing one set of domestic partners and not another to be covered by their partners insurance.  It also seems arguably stupid that a simply city hall preceding and signature on a piece of paper is what stands between someone receiving a life or death treatment for their illness.  There should be other, more just, ways in which people should be able to obtain insurance.   Like one 30-year domestic partner couple says, we should marry for love, not for insurance security… ’til death do us part


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