So I’m sitting here at home on a lazy Sunday. I check my e-mail and lookie here, I have an e-mail from "Vice-President Joe Biden" asking me to go check out the health care horror stories that the Obama Administration has gathered from around the country.
Now, I have my own horror story from a couple of years ago when I lost an argument with a can of cat food and had to take myself to the closest emergency room for stitches (on a Saturday morning). That little trip wound up costing me over $1,500 for the emergency room visit, stitches, emergency room doctor, and so on.
But this diary isn’t about me. It’s about the disconnect between the stories gathered and our supposed leaders in the Senate and Congress.
Here are just a few of the problems recounted in the stories;
1. My dad works for the government and I was covered by his Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance until I turned 23 and graduated from college. I tried to get individual coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield without a lapse in my coverage. They denied fully covering me since I had a pre-existing condition. They would not even allow me the discounts that other insured parties enjoyed through the insurance agreements.
2. I am a single parent who was layed off from Bank of America in 2007. I was offered to stay on the company’s medical plan but the premium was over $1300 a month. So I opted for COBRA as it was $770 a month. After Cobra ran out, I was denied medical insurance for pre-existing conditions. I had paid medical premiums non-stop for 40 years and now I cannot get quality medical insurance.
3. She works 32 hours per week and does not have health coverage available. She works as a customer service person at a grocery store. Her husband works full time as a cook for a hospital. He makes less than ten dollars per hour. He is a professional chef by trade. He carries the family health care and pays one hundred dollar per week! Out of a fort- hour week at less than ten dollars, this is roughly one quarter of his income that leaves little to live on after taxes.
4. My insurance premium went up over 30% this year, I pay a very big deductable and the coverage has been reduced. I did not have any significant expenditures only routine testing and three visits this year to my primary care physician and one visit to a specialist. When I tried to get into a Tax Savings Plan I was told I would have to double my deductable and have a downgraded plan. The cost of insurance premiums for my wife and I will now be over 12% of my pretax income.
5. I am the Mayor of a rural town in Oklahoma. You probably wouldn’t be surprised at how many of us don’t have health insurance. Most here don’t believe that you are listening to them. I do. I don’t expect you to read this. My husband and I are in our late 40′s. It would cost us over $1,600 a month for insurance. We own a small business in SE Oklahoma.
This is just a small sample of five stories that the Obama Administration has received out of hundreds and thousands of such stories. There is a common thread. The insurance coverage or inability to purchase coverage or too expensive coverage are the most commonly stated problems. There are stories of how folks have been treated in Canada or England or France or Germany or Japan with some comparisons of what it would cost in the US but most of the stories are based on the costs and actions of insurance companies.
Maybe we can tie Max Baucus, and Kent Conrad and Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman and all the other Senators and Representatives who are balking at having a Public Option in a Healthcare Reform Bill because the insurance companies might be hurt and not make as large a profit as they can get by squeezing individuals and refusing coverage. In today’s healthcare system in the US, it is the insurance companies that are hurting us and denying us healthcare for their profits.
Max Baucus, Joe Lieberman, Kent Conrad, Charles Grassley, Ben Nelson:
Do you understand that your insurance company buddies have created the problem?
Do you understand that your constituents want you to support us and not your insurance company campaign contributors?
Do you understand that the best path to fix these problems is taking the insurance companies out of the picture?
I don’t expect you to give up your gold plated health care. I just want you to understand that the same level of care that you receive should be available to ALL of us.