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I couldn’t let this pass without a mention.

Earlier this weeks, there were smallish headlines on msnbc.com about an insurance company which deliberately cancelled the policies of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Of course, the company covers its ass by using secondary reasons as justification, a practice that “will soon be illegal” but has always been unethical and is definitely inhumane.

It is also a well known phenomenon:

That tens of thousands of Americans lost their health insurance shortly after being diagnosed with life-threatening, expensive medical conditions has been well documented by law enforcement agencies, state regulators and a congressional committee. Insurance companies have used the practice, known as “rescission,” for years.

People who are gravely ill are forced to choose–to fight to live, and often incur debt in amounts larger than all their lives’ earnings, or… let themselves die, often without dignity, always without hope.

I do not believe, for a moment, that the health care law recently signed by Obama will solve all issues. It will probably solve only a minor percentage, and it will face challenges that will, in all likelihood, try to reduce whatever good it accomplishes.

It is, however, a step in the right direction–however much public opinion and politicians dragged their feet to take it.

As Ann Aguirre so eloquently said, “Running health care for money is beyond immoral. If it’s for profit, it’s not for people.”

32 Comments »

  • Rescission pisses me off. If an insurance company collected premium payments, it is obligated to pay up when its policy holders file for claims! :fumes:

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  • Mary M.
    April 24
    1:39 pm

    Holy cow! Insurance companies could do that in a country that’s supposed to be civilized and it’s not even illegal??? That’s beyond apalling, it’s the summum of immorality. A tribunal should slap the next company to try that trick to a 200 million fine and set the example. Reading stuff like that remind me every time how lucky I am to live in Canada.

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  • S.L. Armstrong
    April 24
    4:27 pm

    Rescission usually only happens with those who are insured through the private insurers (ie, those who are not insured directly through their employer). It also happens frequently to people who have had lapses in health care (shifting any conditions they may have had while previously insured to a pre-existing condition exclusion). Is it right? Hell no. Not one bit. It’s not as if, once they cancel your coverage, that they pay you back the premiums you’ve paid in for a service they will not provide you. No, they get to pocket that money and get rid of you without paying dime.

    When my husband lost his job about five years ago, we chose to use the COBRA coverage we were offered by law. This meant our monthly payment for insurance premiums went from $200 a month to $750. While he was unemployed. But we were so afraid of losing even the COBRA coverage because it would mean, after a 30 day lapse, every medical issue we had would become pre-existing and no insurance company would cover it.

    I wound up in the hospital with a $20,000 bill the month my husband found a new job. Thanks to the COBRA, and our scraping by on the payments, we weren’t financially responsible. I thank my father for that, as my husband and I had just told him we were going to stop the COBRA payments because we didn’t have the money, and he wrote us a check then and there to ensure we could keep the coverage.

    But it’s a nightmare of mine, for him to lose his job and for us to have no insurance. It shouldn’t be like this. I shouldn’t have to fight with my insurance company on every single issue. It’s a disgrace, and I cling to my health insurance hoping nothing happens in the next four years to change when that pre-existing condition law begins to work.

    We shouldn’t live like this, with our health in the hands of profit-hoarding companies who will cancel coverage and sentence people to die without a second thought.

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  • It’s health INSURANCE not healthCARE – insurance is a processes of gambling to make a profit. I don’t understand how so many people don’t see this. Of course they are going to drop you if you start costing them mega bucks…you’re costing them money/profit.

    That the new health’care’ reforms here (of which I am ‘generally’ in favor of) revolve around everyone having to have health insurance via a private company that exists only to make a profit off you is totally and utterly mind boggling. I’m totally in agreement with Anne’s statement…something that totally boggles my very right wing workmates. They can’t seem to grasp the whole ‘it’s not healthcare’ part of the equation that seems so simple to me..

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  • “our monthly payment for insurance premiums went from $200 a month to $750”

    What?!

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  • Nat, that’s not at all uncommon. The employer was picking up the other $550 of the premium as part of the compensation package.

    SL, when someone who is covered under employee insurance gets extremely ill, the insurance company jacks the rates for the whole company to compensate, until the ill person is fired. Then they lower them.

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  • This is so beyond sickening. The fighting that happens with insurance companies gets worse every year-and it’s one reason I’m glad I’m not in nursing any more. Unless I feel like doing it, at least.

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  • Wow … that’s just … wow. That’s like paying home insurance and being dropped by the insurance company right after your house has burnt down.

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  • BarbaraB.
    April 24
    7:46 pm

    Last year I paid 10,000.00 dollars for medical insurance. It increased to 10584.00 in 2010. I’m single and was paying 882.00 a month for medical insurance. I’m unemployed and no longer eligible for COBRA. This past February I dropped the insurance as I could not pay for it anymore. I’ve got persistent moderate asthma and have had to go to the emergency room quite a bit over the years.

    I developed hypertension and gained weight due to the asthma medicine. All of this counts against me with insurance companies. It’s really fucked up because one of the four asthma/allergy medicines I take costs almost 300.00 by itself. This is not including the hypertension medicine. Fortunately for me I had savings and a paid for vacant house that belongs to my family to move into, otherwise I’d be homeless pretty soon.

    I have to say that as a U.S. citizen I’ve never deluded myself that the country was the best in the world. Not even in the top ten. I could not be indoctrinated to believe that lie. But the older I get I realize just how deep the greed and corruption runs in the U.S.

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  • S.L. Armstrong
    April 24
    9:54 pm

    Yeah, my husband works for a small company right now. For a year and a half, we had reasonable rates. We paid about $250 a month in premiums, and then in February of this year, it all changed. Our doctor co-pays went from $15 a visit to $40 a visit, our specialists went from $30 to $50. Our deductible went from $600 a year to $3,000, and we were forced into having a $250 deductible on our prescriptions before the company will even pay out on meds, and even then, each tier went up by $10.

    It’s insane. My husband had to contact his boss and say he’d need a raise (because I have several medical conditions that require much health care) or he’d have to look for a different job… and this was after we’d move cities and downsized where we lived to open up more income.

    What really gets me is that, even five years later, I am being denied for a routine procedure because the insurance company insists it’s a procedure for infertility, and they don’t cover that. I’ve appealed it repeatedly, had three different doctors say it’s necessary, and still I am told too bad. My husband’s medication for his migraines (he has chronic migraines, and when they go untreated and the stress mounts, he winds up with a non-Parkinsonian tremor that interferes with life and worries the hell out of me) is $200 a prescription, and the insurance company has limited how much of it he is allowed per month (the doctors prescribed 12 pills, they will only allow 9) and is now trying to force him onto a different med that we’d tried in the past that did nothing to help the condition.

    It’s frustrating, paying all this money to people who make such important, life-altering decisions for us without even a true chance of appeal.

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  • My mother will take her last insulin dose tomorrow morning. She has the PPA papers, though in the past they’ve never covered insulin. It runs approx $400/mo. My mom is unemployed. Uninsured. I’ve paid what bills I can to cover her living expenses and her meds, but even now I’m faced with the decision… do I juggle and risk my stability to get her meds, or am I afraid that the next time I call, she doesn’t answer because she’s in a diabetic coma. Not a lot of choice…

    The insurance companies can do it because they can. I won’t say any more because this topic makes me furious. My father died because of not having insurance. Looks like the same thing is going to happen to my mom.

    I pray to God that this never happens to those who were against health care reform. Why? Because I have a lot more compassion than they apparently do. We need a single-payer system and we needed it several years ago.

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  • I too am glad I live in Canada. I think it’s criminal what is happening to our neighbours. I read some of these horror stories and my heart just aches.
    I don’t understand a whole lot about the health care reform that’s been proposed, but surely any change is better than the current system. And what really boggles my mind is the resistance to it.
    I’ve heard that some detractors use Canada as a scare tactic against universal health care and that just makes me shake my head. Ours may not be perfect – I work in the industry so I know – but at least we don’t have to worry about crushing debt loads or watching people we love die because some profit driven puts profit ahead of life itself.

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  • B
    April 25
    12:44 pm

    What’s really hilarious is the attempts to use Sweden as a scare tactic against things universal health care. No system is perfect, sure, but I’ve experienced both the American one and the Swedish one (currently) and I’m sure most of you can guess which one’s better.

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  • Even if they don’t drop you completely, insurance companies seem to have a “Deny First” policy when it comes to serious or chronic illnesses. When my husband was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, getting his medical bills paid became almost a full time job for me. I say *ME* because I told him that his job was to fight to get well, my job was to fight with the insurance company and medical providers.

    Here’s the thing, with a serious illness, you’re kind of drowning in paperwork. You get EOBs (explanation of benefits) for each claim, you get bills from each provider, you’ve got to read your original policy and you have to constantly keep up with your network’s list of providers. I don’t know how it works elsewhere, but here in Ohio insurance companies contract with networks who contract with the providers to set charges, etc.

    Anyway, it was amazing how many claims were “never received”, tagged as duplicate when they weren’t. partially paid because the provider was “mistakenly” flagged as out of network, etc. Then I’d have the bills from the providers (doctors, labs, etc.) that I had to match to all those EOBs and try to keep the providers happy so that I wouldn’t be turned over to collections (thus creaming our credit rating) while I played the network/insurance shell game.

    So here we are a decade later. Thank the Good Lord that my husband’s Lymphoma was a form highly treatable with chemo (I understand that now his type is treated with pills!).

    But now his insurance rates are astronomical (he pays more for just him than I do for me and the 4 kids combined with another company) and he cannot switch to another company because of his history.

    However, thanks to Obama/Pelosi and their fucked up health care plan, MY HUSBAND WILL BE TAXED ON HIS “CADILAC” HEALTH CARE POLICY, even though he has no choice in policy.

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  • Between September and December of 2009, our baby girl racked up nearly half a million dollars in medical bills from a NICU stay, heart surgery and hospitalization at a children’s hospital, and repeated visits to her cardiologist for echos and EKGs. Our policy at the time did not cover the $6000 per month Synagis shots she required to prevent RSV, a virus that would have been fatal had she contracted it. So what did we do? We cleaned out our savings to pay for five months of that shot.

    Because Dave’s company had a year of sick babies, their insurance premiums skyrocketed and the company chose to switch insurers. This company also denied coverage for Synagis. Our kiddo had open heart surgery in March. The claims are rolling in and we’re getting a lot of denials, including the anesthesia ($7300) used during her ten hour surgery. Just yesterday we had a claim for $134,390.99 for just room and board in the CVICU. We’re still waiting for surgeon’s fees, OR, the week she spent in step down, the various medications, blood transfusions, and emergency procedures she had done, including a chest tube to reinflate her collapsed lungs. All in all, we’re looking at a million dollars for this two week stay.

    As many of you probably know that means our now 7 month old child is about to hit her lifetime maximum. Once that happens, she’s done. And unfortunately for us we live in a state where our AG is suing the federal government over the health care reform bill. That likely means none of the changes we desperately need will take affect.

    Last year, over one-third of our income went to medical bills and insurance premiums. Just this week, I’ve realized we are one of those middle-class families who could so easily lose everything because of medical debt. And we’re some of the “lucky” ones with medical coverage!

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  • Anon76
    April 25
    5:04 pm

    BevQB said:

    “I don’t know how it works elsewhere, but here in Ohio insurance companies contract with networks who contract with the providers to set charges, etc.”

    I live in Ohio, too, and the system is a nightmare. It’s a real pain in the butt to find providers in your network.

    For example, about ten years ago my husband had to have treatments for compacted discs in his back that had pinched the nerves to the point he had horrendous leg pain and his foot was always numb.

    The network specialist our network family doctor referred us to practiced almost 50 miles away. (Their was no one in our network closer, believe me, I checked.) And since my husband could not sit up for long periods of time, especially in a car where every pothole caused agony, he’d curl up in the backseat of my compact car and off we’d go.

    Well, that worked through two sets of cortisone shots that didn’t correct the condition, but, then came surgery. Getting there and back the first time went okay, but then the IV fluids used settled in a mass near the incision and an infection developed. My husband was so sick and in so much agony he cried.

    Doc said bring him in right away. Now, we have a hospital less than 15 miles away, but it’s not in our network and the doc therefore didn’t practice at it. To have gone to that hospital would have meant astronomical bills, and even in his pain, hubster said no way. I’ve got insurance, so I’m not paying more. I can make it the 50 miles.

    And he did so. With the back seat of my car folded down so he could stretch out somewhat. Half in the backseat, half in the trunk. This is how he went to and from the hospital for a second surgery where they put in a drain tube and kept him until the infection subsided.

    It was either him riding in the trunk of my car, or stretched out in the bed of his pickup. Out of the question as it was raining. (Ambulance costs for a trip of that length? Out of the question.)

    Man, this makes me tear up to think about again. This is the state of American healthcare/insurance, and we were at least lucky enough to have SOME option.

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  • LizA
    April 25
    7:44 pm

    I am really horrified after reading these stories. How do people cope??? Austria has by no means a perfect system, but usually people are insured (it is part of the unemployment benefits and also for people who get Notstandshilfe (money from the state for people who cannot find jobs due to illness/disability/whatever). There were a few loopholes but the state is trying to cover them up so everyone can have health insurance. Usually insurance is paid jointly by the employer and the employee, it is compulsory so there is no way to opt out of it. I have two jobs and thus two different health insurances. They don’t pay the same things in some cases (for example, one of them pays for my contact lenses but the other does not) but either would pay for the important things, which are hospital stays, operations and the like. It is also possible to have private insurance on top of the normal one….
    I am so glad I never needed a doctor while I lived in Ohio, it sounds like a nightmare…. let me close wishing everyone in the US the best of health so you do not need any procedures done.

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  • However, thanks to Obama/Pelosi and their fucked up health care plan, MY HUSBAND WILL BE TAXED ON HIS “CADILAC” HEALTH CARE POLICY, even though he has no choice in policy.

    But BevQ, won’t the new health plan’s rule that the insurance companies can’t deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions mean that your husband will no longer have to get a “Cadillac” plan? Presumably he would be able to sign up with another insurance plan since they can’t exclude him because of the pre-existing condition.

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  • Edie
    April 26
    7:37 am

    Holy shit is all I have to say after reading your stories.
    I am now even more grateful that the families emigrated to Australia and not America. Our problem can be waiting lists and beds in some cases… but thanks to our medicare system everyone has care and it is pretty good care mostly.

    I sincerely hope that the reforms manage to improve things for you guys!

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  • Cindy
    April 26
    3:07 pm

    My only problem with the health care reform bill is it was not what was needed (at least, not completely). I want to know what happened to having the same plan as Congree and the government workers being open to the U.S. because I’m certain the rates are reasonable.

    Yes, I agree with forcing insurance companies to not disallow pre-existing conditions.

    For one thing, they needed to include audits on the doctor’s offices and hospitals’ billing practices. Why, you ask? Two stories.

    When I was little, I was at the pediatrician and they asked mom if she was paying or letting it go to insurance. She asked the fees for each. $15 if she paid, nearly $90 if the insurance company paid. She said she would pay and let the insurance reimburse her.

    I was briefly on Medicaid here in PA (that story next). Needless to say, I didn’t receive statements for my care while I had it. When I was off, I received the bill for my clinic visit. They had billed me for blood work that hadn’t been done (and the clinic doesn’t even do it.) I fought and got it removed, but I’m sure Medicaid was billed for blood work when done and for each clinic visit.

    The other part of the reform that I agree with but should have been instituted immediately was the income limit for Medicaid. I received Medicaid due to a hospital visit and was told to file disability (this was 08, still fighting for that). I’m single with only my father on social security, so I’ve been working 20 hours a week to try to pay bills and keep going. Medicaid was revoked from me because I was working. Because I was a responsible single and didn’t have a ton of children and because I wasn’t an addict, I’m not allowed to earn over $205 a month to collect Medicaid. Meanwhile I have two permanent conditions that could be life- threatening which I can’t afford the Meds for. I did finally get on a local plan that discounts treatments. So aside from my $10 co-pay, my treatments are discounted 100% but I still can’t afford the meds at $20. Not while trying to pay rent, utilities, food, etc.

    I don’t understand the tax credit thing for low income people buying insurance and I sure can’t afford to pay up front for a plan and wait until the following tax year for reimbursement. So my question is…if I can’t afford $350 for insurance, plus co-pays, plus meds and etc., I can’t afford whatever fine they levy. So does this mean jail or firing squad?

    Oh and for the waiting period the nay-sayers for the single payer system or like European countries have…when my heart started racing and I called a doctor, the receptionist asked why I needed a doctor. Because I was a new patient, I wasn’t eligible for an appointment for nearly two weeks.

    And I’ve yet to have an insurance plan (at least employer based) that covered any sort of mental health needs. Unless I wanted treatment for an addiction.

    I think those not for health-care reform either are up in the higher tax brackets or they’ve been blessed with exceptional health and have no clue what those who are ill have to deal with.

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  • won’t the new health plan’s rule that the insurance companies can’t deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions mean that your husband will no longer have to get a “Cadillac” plan?

    Roslyn, you are right, or will be eventually anyhow. But keep in mind that the FUNDING for the health care bill starts now, but the implementation won’t happen for a couple of years (not sure which year they’ve settled on). So in the meantime, he WILL be taxed on his policy and, assuming HSAs are also out the window as Obama wants, then that means not only will we be taxed on my husband’s health insurance, but the kids and I will be FORCED to find new insurance since we keep the costs down (a relative term, I assure you) through a combination of a high deductible ($10k) and an HSA (Health Savings Account). Then, since the price of individual health insurance policies is so sky high, we’ll probably be taxed on that new policy too.

    Sucks to be someone who believes in the benefits of hard work. Work hard, and they’ll find new ways to take it away. Don’t work at all, and they’ll find new ways to pass it on to you. Seriously, this country is fast becoming a nation full of “Why work?” attitude.

    And what truly, TRULY, pisses me off, is that, the people that worked all their lives– the elderly– have to jump through so many hoops, and begger themselves before they get any aid from this country (first hand experiences with my mother). Yet it seems able-bodied people can just sit back and collect without making any effort at all. And really, they get paid to NOT work, so why should they look for work (again recent experiences have made this all too clear for me).

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  • B
    April 26
    7:41 pm

    You know what pisses me off? This:

    Sucks to be someone who believes in the benefits of hard work. Work hard, and they’ll find new ways to take it away. Don’t work at all, and they’ll find new ways to pass it on to you. Seriously, this country is fast becoming a nation full of “Why work?” attitude.

    That’s such bull. Stop acting like you’re the only one in the world who struggles. So many people have so little, and so many others seem to think they’re supposed to make something out of nothing. A lot of people don’t have work because they can’t get it or can’t work, period. You think they deserve to suffer for things completely beyond their control?

    Do you think children deserve to suffer because their parents lost their jobs in America’s shit economy? Because one of their parents took off or killed themselves? Do you know how many children don’t have healthcare because of this sort of selfishness? I don’t understand how people can care so little.

    I was on Medicaid when I was younger. And then my father died and eventually, because I’m disabled, I was dropped down to Medicare, which isn’t as good. Tell me how that makes sense. Of course, it was never enough to care for the problems. Was that my fault? Did I deserve to suffer for that? Do you know what it takes to get on things like social security or welfare? I was only able to get social security due to special circumstances. As for welfare, my family was so poor we had to go to the food bank to eat. We had to file for bankruptcy and we lost our house and still weren’t poor enough to be on welfare. With two kids and only my mother, we weren’t poor enough.

    Most people that poor want to work. People that sick want to work. But they can’t. And they can’t get healthier or get better educated because the US is so fucked up.

    Don’t you get it? That money goes back into the economy. People get health care, they get healthier. They can go to work. They can pay. Their money goes into your health care. We can either help each other or suffer alone.

    Here, where I’m living now, we help each other. Things are good enough that I stay home and work on my writing career while my husband goes to work. Past a certain amount (and not a large one) my appointments and medications are free. And that goes for all the people here. We all contribute and we all benefit. Americans can’t seem to grasp that concept and it’s going to destroy them. I’m just glad I got out of there.

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  • Sucks to be someone who believes in the benefits of hard work. Work hard, and they’ll find new ways to take it away. Don’t work at all, and they’ll find new ways to pass it on to you. Seriously, this country is fast becoming a nation full of “Why work?” attitude.

    My mother put herself through school graduating with her RN degree the same year I graduated from high school. (She was a LPN for many years prior). She worked two, three jobs growing up so I was mostly raised by my grandma and my aunts. She works for three different staffing agencies at the moment, none of which have hours, so she might as well be unemployed, and is STILL uninsured, and I believe has used the last of her insulin today, so it’s a day of phone calls and pleading to make sure she doesn’t go into diabetic coma between now and when her next paycheck comes in…if it comes in. She had surgery about five years ago, had a wound vac attached to her side and was still denied for disability. Nearly eleven years ago this summer she was in the hospital and not expected to live to get out of it, and yes, she was still denied for disability.

    How dare you say that people aren’t working hard? How dare you bash the very thing that has given me and my mother a glimmer of hope for the first time in years? If the changes aren’t going to work for you, I’m sorry. I really am, even as I wonder how much of that is “talking points” and “fear.” Personally, I know I’d rather pay more so others can have a chance to get the most basic of human rights – the ability to live.

    I’m so sorry about your husband’s medical conditions. Chronic medical conditions, no matter who has them, suck, and they effect the entire family. And yes, I’m on a high deductible HSA plan myself, and because of that, and my mother’s condition, I haven’t been seeing the doctor for my own chronic medical condition.

    The truth of the matter is, that there are people who are DYING (my father died because of no insurance) and who desperately need help that the for-profit insurance industry isn’t giving them. We need something, and I wish to God we had more. Nothing is perfect, but to bash what may be a very good step forward…that’s unconscionable.

    Now I have to go back to making some phone calls….

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  • B and Mary, That was a completely valid statement from my POV. I can’t speak to other states, but here in Ohio, it used to be that, if you were collecting unemployment benefits, you had to actively pursue employment. It was required that you do so, or you wouldn’t be getting an unemployment check. Period.

    Now I hear time and time again from able-bodied people that, so long as the unemployment benefits keep getting extended, they like sitting back and collecting them and don’t really see a reason to look for work right now. Did I say EVERYONE? No, but I see it happening in increasing numbers. That is why I DARE say it, Mary.

    THAT is what I have a right to be pissed off about. I’m NOT pissed that our hard work goes to help out people that TRULY need help (and B, that does include sick children, in addition to the elderly that I already mentioned.), but that it goes to help people who should damn well be at the very least TRYING to help themselves!

    Oh, and exactly where did I even IMPLY that I was the only one suffering? I believe we were offering anecdotal evidence of the state of healthcare in this country. As part of that I laid out our past problems and how the Obama/Pelosi Healthcare plan would effect us.

    Did you want me to detail what the elderly have to go through here in Ohio to get healthcare? If I detailed the frustrations of what they go through, would that prove I care about other people? Or would it still boil down to the fact that I dared to voice a dissenting opinion about the healthcare plan. Is that it? If I don’t think it’s perfect then I must want babies to die?

    Aw hell, why do I even bother.

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  • Now I hear time and time again from able-bodied people that, so long as the unemployment benefits keep getting extended, they like sitting back and collecting them and don’t really see a reason to look for work right now. Did I say EVERYONE? No, but I see it happening in increasing numbers. That is why I DARE say it, Mary.

    It’s that way in Iowa too…when they companies don’t fight the unemployment so you don’t receive it. But not everyone is that way, and to imply, whether through broad strokes or sweeping statements that it is, serves no justice at all and really, as it did here, gets people’s dander up, so that we’re yelling at each other instead of rationally discussing the issues at hand.

    That’s why I DARE to say. Look beyond the generalities and the “easy” answers to the individual lives and understand that no solution will fix all our problems and like when you fix a leak only to have another part of the pipe bust somewhere up the line, that there may be some triage-ing of issues and some missteps until something gets resolved. But we’re trying, and to bash the very people who are trying…I have no words except you reap what you sow in every aspect of your life. We all do. And time will tell.

    If you’re against the health care plan because it increases your taxes and you’ve seen hard numbers to that effect (rather than relying on what’s said through the media from any side of the issue), then I’m sorry that’s happening to you and hope the next steps taken on this journey resolve that. But to say you’re against it, because heaven forbid, we’re spoon feeding health care to people who don’t want to take care of themselves, I think sweeps a paintbrush across a much larger and much more complex issue. And dismisses legitimate concerns.

    I suspect what the elderly have to go through in Ohio is pretty much the same as Iowa. I know I’ve helped my grandma decipher her medical insurance and medicaid premium, discussed how we would handle it if Wellmark raised her rates, yet again (they went up $150/month this year), and how, hopefully, closing the medicare doughnut hole might help her.

    My mother and I are in similar boats – neither one can afford our medicine. I’m insured. She isn’t. There’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Since I’m insured, my line to the doctors can be “if you see me, I’ll pay $20 (a “copay” now, and figure out the rest once the insurance goes through). Except right now I’m focusing on her, because I can deal. When you hurt all the time, what’s a few more days…weeks…months… at least my health issue won’t kill me.

    My mother, being uninsured, is told money up front or you’re not seen, you owe us too much already. You can slice it, dice it, twist it which way or not, the system is broken. I’m happy we’ve made some strides towards fixing it. If you don’t like the strides made, then what would you suggest so that your husband gets the care he needs, as does my mother, and the millions out there who are uninsured? Because I hope that we both can agree, that neither one of us wants another human being to end up like my father — DEAD — due to a lack of insurance.

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  • What I don’t understand is why one conscionable American can stand back and let another American die because they have no insurance. My husband and I both work. His company offers insurance, but mine doesn’t. And even though we both work, the insurance offered for family coverage is too expensive. His company pays very little of the premium. There’s no way we can afford it. We either have insurance, or eat and pay bills. If Canada and the UK can provide a government plan that works for their citizens, and IT does work. What’s to stop the U.S. from doing the same? Sure the bill might not be perfect, but eventually the bugs can and will be worked out. And don’t get me started on prescription drugs. Drug companies make a killing off people’s misery, dangling a carrot in front dying people who can’t afford treatment. Medical and prescription drugs need to be regulated, made available and affordable for every American.

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  • Toni
    April 26
    9:36 pm

    BevQ

    I work hard every day, and I’ve been working full-time continously for 12 years (since I was 20). I also go to school, on my own nickel, and scrimp and save to pay for it.

    Even so, I’m more than happy to pay extra taxes (which I’m not sure will even happen with this new healthcare plan) to ensure that my neighbors don’t have to go through some of the health horror stories that have been listed in the comments to this post. A civilized nation as wealthy as ours should provide healthcare for its citizens. Point blank.

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  • Cindy
    April 26
    11:01 pm

    Currently, at least here in PA, including those who have lost jobs, if you can’t afford COBRA (and not many on unemployment can, especially if single), you’re out of luck insurance wise. The department of Welfare flat out told me if I’d had children, I could get medical assistance, cash assistance, etc. I’m working 20 hours or less weekly due to health conditions.

    What ticks me off is the able bodied people who sit home having kids so they are paid not to work. And you know they are out there. The daughters of women who brought them up on welfare who see they get more in money and benefits by not working.

    Welfare and assistance should be available for those who are sick and struggling, or out of work and struggling.

    Think Octomom who somehow used Medical Assistance to pay for fertility treatments so she could have 8 more children. I guarantee those children will grow up to use the system in the same way.

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  • This is a fascinating conversation. It has put a very personal slant on everything I’ve heard about US health insurance companies. Really, really scary! I cannot imagine living through a chronic/major illness while worrying about money every second. It makes me grateful for our Canadian system which, although far from perfect (what system is!), at least doesn’t let you go broke while getting well.

    Canadians have Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather, Tommy Douglas, to thank for our system. He fought hard to make universal health care a reality here in the mid sixties. (If I remember my history correctly 🙂 We owe him.

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  • Anon76
    April 27
    5:13 pm

    While I don’t believe in all the provisions of this health care bill, I can only hope that it morphs over time into something truly useful. I def don’t like private insurers still being in the drivers seat of the whole shebang.

    The following is my opinion, so I’m sure their will be many who disagree, but it’s my take.

    You see, we Americans can be an odd bunch. Within our own borders, we are very outspoken when it comes to many issues. Yet we do not apply these same standards to the general population in other countries. Our sympathies flow to others, but not our own population.

    Now mind you, I am not saying that we have it hard compared to citizens of some nations, as Karen pointed out in a previous blog entry. But…I believe you have to take into account the standard of living of the individuals around you when determining “needy” status.

    For instance, an adult or child going to bed hungry is still hungry no matter if they have no roof over their heads or a government subsidized apartment. (And trust me, those aren’t mansions by any stretch of the imagination.) Yes, famine is a killing beast, but it’s darn hard to explain that to an American child whose belly grumbles daily from inadequate meals. Sometimes it isn’t easy to explain it to an adult, either. This while watching a large portion of the population hit the fast food drive-ins. Or, have you ever seen the eyes of the hungry in one of our huge grocery stores? All that food that they cannot partake of.

    Americans expect able-bodied adults to work. It is our mantra that anyone willing to work hard enough can have the “American dream.” We applaud those who scrape their way up from the bottom of the barrel to become “successful”. We give great credit to the young men and women who fight against adversity and work their way through college, sometimes with grants/scholarships, sometimes without. Yet we give very little credit to the parent/parents who struggle to feed, clothe and house themselves and their children. Sometimes one, both or each are working two part-time minimum wage jobs. Well, by golly, if they were really good people, they 1) wouldn’t have so many children, even if it’s one, and 2) they’d be going to night school to advance their chances in the job market and better themselves. Well, that all sounds good in theory, but bills still have to be paid. We are outraged at what is considered slave labor in other countries. Wages so low people can barely live on them, yet don’t blink an eye that it is normal here.

    We don’t consider citizens of other countries to be lazy when no jobs are to be had. Or when those jobs pay poorly. But at the same time, we rail about citizens of other countries crossing our borders and taking these low paying jobs many don’t want. For low wages and part time hours. But to me, the part that is broken is in not paying a decent wage at full time hours. We’ve developed our own slave labor wage and look down on those Americans who have to work within it.

    We are a generous people. But we want to personally choose to donate to you, not have someone tell us we have to. While some are starting to complain about our government sending relief aid to other countries in times of crisis, others are adamant about not sending aid to areas in our own country devastated by such disasters. Don’t think it true? Read up on some of the responses to the individuals trapped in the dome in Louisiana. Lazy SOB’s deserved it. Those people (meaning of color) already took from us in welfare and such, then they wouldn’t leave (oh wait, needed transportation, nah, another part of their lazy) and now they expect us to bail them out…again. We see ourselves as benevolent when giving to other countries, but see ourselves as being taken when giving to our own people.

    And on that last note, that is how I look at the health care debate. Some see it as just another hand out to their lazy counterparts. But times have changed. That person living next door to you, the hard worker, could be the very person in desperate need of this help.

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  • And on that last note, that is how I look at the health care debate. Some see it as just another hand out to their lazy counterparts. But times have changed. That person living next door to you, the hard worker, could be the very person in desperate need of this help.

    Amen, and well said. I so agree.

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  • Cindy
    April 28
    12:44 am

    Well said, Anon!

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