More on Health Care

Last night was Patrick's turn to rant on health care. I guess tonight is mine.

You see, Steph's video got me thinking. Steph and her husband are very talented people, who would make the world a much better place if they were able to start their own businesses. But they can't, because they have pre-existing (relatively minor) conditions that would not allow them to get healthcare.

My mom would have turned 71 today. But she died in 2006 of colon cancer, cancer that might have been prevented if she had been able to get permission from her insurance to have a colonoscopy. But there was no history of cancer in our family, and no indication of any issues, so she had to wait until she was on Medicare. A colonoscopy was on her calendar — but she didn't end up going, because her Stage IV cancer was diagnosed in the ER a few weeks before.

My father-in-law is a freelance radio engineer who often housesits in the DC area. A few months ago he was walking the two dogs — who saw a squirrel — and in a freak accident he was pulled into traffic and both of his arms were broken. I don't want to even hazard a guess as to how much all of the MRIs, x-rays, other tests, and doctor visits cost. And he too is un-insured.

Yesterday my friend M found out she and her family were losing their insurance, as of today. And this morning her little boy woke up with croup.

And a few months ago, when we were testifying at the legislature for statewide coverage for Minnesota kids, a representative from Medica sat boldly in front of us and told our state representatives that insurance rates would skyrocket if children were taken out of the coverage equation, because "we make most of our cost/benefit ratios from covering children." Apparently not from MY child, as Medica was one of the insurance companies that denied her.

We now have high-deductible coverage, one plan through us, and another for Beatrix, a Minnesota-mandated plan that is required to cover anyone denied from other insurance, at the bargain rate of 120% of a standard premium and a $3,000 minimum deductible. The cost of these two plans together almost exactly equals the 2008-09 poverty threshold for a family of three.

I don't understand the arguments of those who are against healthcare reform. They seem to think that Patrick and I, and our friends and family above, must be doing something inherently *wrong* to not have reasonable coverage. We must be working the wrong jobs, or have ruined our health through dramatic debauchery so that we are uninsurable, or are irresponsible with our finances, or some other reason that has made us bring this calamity upon ourselves. When the answer is that, in a country where at least 10.4 million as self-employed (as of July 2009), where almost 50 million are uninsured (a staggering 11.7 million of which are children under 18, as of 2006, long before the current economic crisis), I really don't think the question is what am I doing wrong, but what is my country doing wrong, and how can we fix it.

And if that's all too cerebral for you, take another look at a picture of my daughter, and explain to me exactly how she can be denied healthcare. Go ahead.

Comments

Rich said…
As a US Citizen with 25 years of Canadian health care system experience, I am truly baffled by the opposition. It just feels like my toddler when he's tired AND hungry. Everything is "No!". And until we can get him calmed down and refocused, nothing will be 'yes'. I just wish they'd grow up and come to the table.
gerkat said…
Amen sister. Brilliantly done. How about submitting this piece to the Pi Press or Strib as a letter to the editor?
Philip H. said…
Bethany,
Came over from Stephanie's place, after adding her video to my blog. Happy to help any way I can.

In the eys of many conservatives you are doing something wrong - you are failing to accept whatever the "market" deals you, and you aren't working hard enough or smart enough to do better. They are Social Darwinists, you see, and so to them, it is all your fault.

Is that an ugly way to approach one's fellow citizens? Yes it is, and it denies the fact that health insurance, like so much else in this country, is a victim of multiple market failures. Sadly, for these folks, government will never be the solution, and so they crusade to keep your little girl from receiving care unless you mortgage your lives to pay for it.

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