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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.”

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A KKB regular writes:

I saw this article today and thought you might be interested in it as I think shows the amoral ethics of the pharmaceutical industry, which may be of interest to readers of your From Your Sickbed series of posts. I have personal experience with the outrageous cost of seizure medications and cannot help but feel that this apparent greed of the industry contributes to the high costs of medications.

Because of the nature of my epilepsy my neurologist said my prescriptions had to be very precise and he would never allow me to get generic versions. This is especially hard for people who have to choose between buying meds or paying their utility bills and buying food.

There were times when I had no choice but to go without meds if my kids were to have water and lights. This only worsened the seizures. And now to find out pharmaceutical barons wine & dine doctors while passing the bill on to others? Something very wrong with this scenario.

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A Romland regular writes:

My poor coworker has colitis. She recently ended up spending the weekend in the hospital with full-blown diverticulitis.

A. She got a bill from a surgeon who walked into her room and was there two or three minutes and told her she didn’t need surgery. The bill even after the insurance portion was around 300.00

B. The doctors insist she have a colonoscopy. Insurance won’t cover it UNLESS there is SOMETHING WRONG.

Her husband got laid off last November and he’s been doing contract work for a company–they think the company won’t hire him full time because they don’t want to pay benefits but his COBRA runs out soon. She’s terrified that one of them will get really sick and he already takes five or six medications a month.

I realize that healthcare isn’t perfect pretty much anywhere–my dad told me about some 69 yo dude from his church who left Canada because he had cancer and they said he was too old to be worth treating which I think is downright horrible–but at this point, I’d say the US insurance companies and the US pharmaceutical companies are no better than companies like Exxon.

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A RomLand regular writes:

I grew up visiting the doctor and dentist only when something was wrong. Annual visits just for a physical? No, because even with insurance, the co-pay for three kids was a large chunk of change from a not-large budget. It has taken years of adulthood to break myself of that habit, even partially.

Just after my first year of university, I came down with what I thought was food poisoning while home for the summer break. Spent the day huddled miserably in the bathroom, dry-heaving. My younger brother, the bane of my existence at the time, was sweet to me that day, trying to make me feel better. Did feel marginally better that night, because the heaving stopped, but then it resumed the next morning. My mother, an hourly not salaried employee, called in sick and took me to the Emergency Room of our local hospital.

We arrived before 9am and sat in the waiting room for perhaps an hour, answering questions from a survey form and talking to a nurse or PA. The first thing they wanted to do was a pregnancy test, because they were sure it was an ectopic pregnancy. I was confident that wasn’t the problem, but nothing I said convinced them otherwise, whether it was in the presence of my mother or not. After passing (failing?) the pregnancy test, I was re-examined and they determined I was suffering from acute appendicitis.


Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A KKB regular wrote:

I will tell you that I understand that we can’t totally overhaul the health care system in the US. But some reforms NEED to be made. When we receive a letter from our provider saying that some medical procedures that are NEEDED, may not be covered, then it’s time to make some changes.

What my wife is going through is horrible. It’s not life threatening, so I can see why someone trying to make a dollar wouldn’t pay all that money for her to be admitted to that hospital. But it still effects her life in such a way that at least one to two days a week she can’t function as a human being. (And selfishly, that effects my son and I, too.)

Now whether it’s life threatening or not, something needs to be done. And besides, if the insurance company won’t cough up the money now for the admittance, they will be later for all of her emergency room visits or other doctor’s appointments to find other ways to take care of the problem. Or they will just drop her (which I don’t think they can do with group coverage like I have at work) and then we are screwed, because she has already been turned down in getting individual health insurance because no company is going to take a loss. They would be paying out more then receiving back in her monthly premiums.

It’s time to realize that health care should be a right, not a privilege, and we need to find a way to change this.

If you would like to share your own health care in America experiences, good or bad, please email me at Hairylemony @ gmail.com

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

Back in June, a reader wrote:

I am, right now, apparently in the minority of ‘well insured’. And you are right that I don’t want to go to UHC. My fear is that instead of elevating everyone up to ‘well cared for’ (like my family) we’ll get downgraded to ‘what’s the least that can be done for _______?’.

I realize that makes me selfish. But, my husband just had a major heart attack (he was dead @ work and they used the paddles to bring him back). He now has a pacemaker. He’s had cancer 2x in his life and a liver transplant. He knows he cannot ever quit his job (and we pray he always HAS his job). I do not know what he would do if he knew his living would break us. I do not want to find out.

So, I would be all for UHC, IF and ONLY IF it meant everyone was well cared for. Or, if we could pay for our own supplemental insurance that would continue to cover us as well as it does. But, it would still have to be affordable. And it won’t be if companies drop their coverage because ‘the government is taking care of everyone’.

I really don’t know how to fix it.

My sympathy for anyone that has had hellish nurses. I have to give HUGE KUDOS to the nurses, doctors and staff of University Hospital here in Colorado. They were absolutely wonderful with my husband (who was just released and came home today). O

Sorry for being long winded, when I don’t even have an iota of an idea of how to fix things…

If you would like to share your own health care in America experiences, good, or bad, please email me at Hairylemony @ gmail.com

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A reader writes:

“We can bail out the auto industry, the crooked bankers, everybody else but those most in need of help? We can pay crooked contractors $500 for a single toilet seat for a military base but can’t give the average Joe a break on the medical rollercoster?

I know all about filing bankruptcy due to illness. Back in the late seventies my DH and I were over $10000 in debt due to medical bills. Back then that amount would be more like $100000 now I’m sure. I couldn’t work and he was barely keeping us afloat. Our only alternative was bankruptcy. We lost our car, all our furniture…which had been used as security for a loan…and most of our dignity. It was the hardest thing either of us had ever done to sit in a courtroom before not only our creditors but other peoples’ and admit we had not ‘wisely handled our finances’…the sweet way the judge put it.

Something’s gotta give but I seriously doubt it’s going to be our government.”

If you would like to share your own health care in America experiences, good, or bad please email me at Hairylemony @ gmail.com

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A KKB regular writes:

Here in America, I called a highly recommended doctor in the spring because my heart was racing. The receptionist said “Why do you need the doctor?” I replied “Heart.” She told me the first open appointment for a new patient was a week and a half out. I wonder where the urgency for heart was. Sent for blood tests, my private insurance wouldn’t cover the bloodwork because they were routine. Lost the job and insurance due to back problem.

Ended up in hospital and was approved for medicaid. Thryoid, lymphodema and who knows what else. Bills still aren’t paid and guess what? My medicaid only covers family planning prescriptions. *sigh* What I don’t need. Meantime, I have pain medicine and anxiety medicine prescriptions that I can’t get filled. And when the thyroid is gone, guess I won’t afford that pill either. Bah.

If you would like to share your own health care in America experiences, please email me at Hairylemony @ gmail.com

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A KKB reader writes:

Apparently I’m in the minority group who has health insurance that they really like.

Although we’re covered by entirely different plans, both my son and I have federally funded insurance. Because I am a veteran and my ex-husband is still active duty Navy, my son is covered under Tricare, which is the military’s medical plan. There’s no deductible, no co-pay for office visits, no cost for prescription medications. Everything is provided completely free of charge. He absolutely adores his pediatrician, and we’ve never had any problems getting an appointment with either his primary doctor or any of the specialists he’s had to see for his allergies. (more…)

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A KKB regular writes:

No one says that the American brand of universal healthcare has to an exact copy of the UK’s NHS or any other country. All of these country’s programs are great starting points and there’s no reason they can’t be improved upon by our policy makers. Personally, I’m quite fond of the idea of being able to access the same insurance plan provided to members of the senate and congress. I’d almost bet the farm their health insurance policy isn’t as shitty as mine.


Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A KKB regular writes:

My mom has a heart problem and diabetes, and we go from either her not having insurance at all, and my worrying if she’s even taking her medications, to her having insurance, paying crazy amounts, and then having it not cover any of her medications as a “pre existing” condition. (Which is why the late Ellora’s Cave checks infuriated me. It’s not that they were depriving me of the latest gadget/spending money. They were depriving my mother of her live saving medicines, because when things get tough, I buy mom’s medicine for her.)

My father died of cancer, and I feel that he might have lived, or we at least might have had more time with him (diagnose to death time = three months) if he’d had quality insurance/better coverage.

If you wish to share your own health care experiences, please email me at hairylemony @ gmail.com

Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A KKB regular writes:


I quit my job a few years after getting married to go back to school full time and finish my degree. I can’t buy private insurance even though I’m willing to pay high premiums because of pre-existing conditions. The only way I will ever get insured without reform is by getting a job after earning my degree that offers insurance benefits. Even then it will be six months to a year before any “pre-existing conditions” will be covered. I still owe over $12,000 for a miscarriage last year, and am currently pregnant. (more…)