I'm grateful for the more than 30 comments on yesterday's post about health care and particularly health insurance. Since some people will read only the post, I will excerpt some of the comments here. (I apologize for not linking to your blogs, if you have them, but Typepad kept trying to turn big blocks of texts into links.)
revmaria, who is like me a clergywoman, writes:
a cancer survivor and it's hard even to get life insurance! We don't
have a house or substantial savings so any illness could spell disaster
and homelessness for us.
LaReina, one of my first Internet friends from way back at alt.tv.homicide (Vale, Usenet!), shared a story about her sister who, like their mom, had breast cancer:
self-employed sister's policy with a MAJOR health insurance company was
terminated the first/only time she reached her deductible, which was
when she was diagnosed with cancer.
It took them six months to red flag her case and find an excuse to
terminate her coverage. It was mid-way through chemo (and about two
surgeries into what would eventually be five or six) when they dropped
the bomb. She was far more stressed about the insurance situation than
she was about the cancer.
Ten years later, thank God she's healthy, but she's still paying off
the $200K-plus medical debt. It ruined her credit score, making her
ineligible to refinance her house which, ironically, would have freed
up more money each month to pay down the debt.
Auntie Knickers responded to Pam's comment (about being afraid in a British-type system care would be rationed away from people in their 50s) with this suggestion:
think Pam might want to check out this website, and I've quoted the
relevant answer to what her physician told her. Although many
physicians are strongly in favor of health care reform, there are those
who for ideological reasons or just plain greed are spreading
misinformation about the health care in other countries.
Mrs. Redboots, writing from Across The Pond, adds:
Liz, who knows where I'm coming from, writes:
amazed how many people have no idea that they're just one immune system
malfunction or cancer diagnosis away from being uninsurable (and how
many people think neither of those things could ever happen to them
because they eat right and exercise).
We heard from several self-insured free-lancers, both writers and an editor. I cannot imagine earning enough money to lay out $800 a month for insurance when the deductible is $2500, but that is what they are facing. Ruth writes:
I try not
to think about what will happen if one of us develops a serious
condition. We could be so easily dropped and never be insured again.
We worry about the future for our children, for as Deb says:
older daughter takes a maintenance medication that, without insurance,
would cost us hundreds a month. Her regular check ups would cost
hundreds more. It's not a stretch to say that when she tops out of our
health insurance in 7 short years, that I don't know how she will be
And yet people say that they don't see the need for reforms…
Dr. Sherry is a pediatrician and shared a letter to the editor she wrote last month, which stated in part:
world we ration all our resources. We ration food, gasoline, land, law
enforcement resources, educational resources, the time we give to each
of our children, the attention we give our spouses and much more. All
of this occurs based on the availability of resources and our
individual and collective means to pay for these resources. If you do
not think that Healthcare Resources are being rationed right now, than
you are just not paying attention. What this country needs is to become
more mindful and intentional in how this rationing occurs…
Universal Health Insurance, whether it is through a well regulated
private insurance market that prevents taking of huge profits by
insurance companies at the expense of people's lives, through a public
option plan that competes with private insurance to make them more
accountable or through government provided universal healthcare
coverage..I Do Not Care. But, it must be done, it must be done soon.
What is happening now is amoral.
Finally, I would like to mention that Typepad's spell checker declares that "uninsurable" is not in the dictionary. We should live so long. All of us.