Sunday, March 12, 2017

Health Care--Listen to the Stories

photo by Montgomery County Plan / flickr


We've got a health crisis in this country. We've had it for a long time. The Affordable Care Act opened the door. It was far from perfect--but for the first time in our history the country finally promised health care for all. Despite all sorts of political roadblocks--20 million people who had been uninsured now have health care. Many for the first time. 

photo by Sage Ross / flickr

When Social Security was first passed into law there were a lot of complaints and many problems. Many politicians from then until now--hated Social Security. But after much work--we do have a system that helps people in this country enormously. Before Social Security there was no safety net. Watch carefully in the near future--all those antigovernment folk who have always hated Social Security will not point their guns in this direction. But back to health care.

The question is Health Care a right or is it simply a luxury for those who can afford it? Trump Care is said to leave out over 15 million people. The Office of Bureau Management and the Brookings Institute give us these figures. Republicans mostly are trying to discredit the this Bureau and the Brookings Institute. When these opponents do not get what they want they chip away at the recognized sources whom we have looked to for a long time for fair truth.                                                                                                      

We heard a lot during the Affordable Care Act debate about death panels. Doctors and hospitals that would decide who would live and who would die. This did not happen. It was a scare tactic. But if any plan put forth in health care does not cover the people of this country and especially those in need--there will be no picking and choosing of who lives and who dies--all those not covered will simply quietly slip away.

Listen to the stories that are out there. Listen to the pain. Listen to those who very much a part of who we are as a people.

Diana B.
Diana became ill in 2012 and started missing work. She was fired and lost her health insurance. In 2013 she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Because she was weak her friends helped her file for disability and started helping her sell off personal possessions to pay for some minimal care. In May of 2013 she said she was refused disability and had to re-file. She died in October 2013. ACA Healthcare was not yet available.

Donna B.

I lost my job with the NASA Space Flight program in July 2013 and used Cobra for health insurance. Because Cobra was so expensive (over $700/month) I had to drop it. I signed up for insurance on in December 2013. I never experienced any of the problems with the online system, but then, I was an IT person familiar with software systems. My health coverage with Florida Blue started on January 1 2014.

On March 21, 2014 I went to the emergency room because I could not breathe. On March 24, I was told I had stage IV lung cancer. I was the first cancer patient in Brevard County to be prescribed one of the new target drugs for patients with the ALK receptor. When the cancer mutated again I was placed on another new target drug in January 2015. I was still using a Florida Blue health insurance plan through the I have been on this target drug now for over 2 years and have great quality of life.

We heard a lot when the Affordable Care Act was being considered with the words: Death Panels. It was a scare tactic. But if we do not cover the people of this country, especially those who are in
need--the Death Panel scare will become a real reality. Although I no longer qualify for any assistance, I was able to keep the same insurance privately. Without insurance I would be paying $8,300/month just for the drug. Thank you, President Obama!

                                          And now a story from Canada. 

My story. December 27, 2016 I couldn’t breathe, so I went to the Walk-in-Clinic across the street and they suggested the Emergency Department immediately. January 4, 2017 I decided to go to Emergency. Up until last week, which made it 6/7 weeks, I’ve had chest X-rays, blood tests, ultrasound on the thyroid, stress test on the heart, echo-cardiogram, more blood tests. All it cost me was the bus tickets to get to the various places. Since I had breast cancer three years ago I have a mammogram every year. In January I had my third one, clear, and also picked up my pills, free. Because cancer is rampant in the family I have become involved in genetic testing. If it proves that it is hereditary, I will be given the opportunity to have a hysterectomy and all my relatives will be given the opportunity to be involved in the family decision and will be offered counselling. Because the pills I take for cancer leech the bones of calcium I get a bone marrow density test every year. All this because I was triaged for shortness of breath. Now on the other hand, I have knees that are not working properly. Orthopedist says that there may be a growth on one of them. Because it is not an emergency, I have to wait for an MRI on it. May take a few months. We triage, but get the care we need. Free.

All I paid for all of this was bus tickets. Sometimes friends drove. I have stock in American medical insurance companies. I’m making money on your health.

I live on my pension as a public school grade teacher. I have investments, but don’t use them. I spent 10 weeks in the Mediterranean last year. Don’t skimp or cut corners just to save. ( I do because I don’t want to waste.) My taxes are probably higher than yours, but I still have a great life. Where did I go wrong?

photo by Sage Ross /flickr

--Roger Lovette /

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