tobu_ishi: (Coraline - B&W disgust)
[personal profile] tobu_ishi
Originally posted by [ profile] ladyqkat at Dear GOP - the collective you are an Idiot
(Post originally seen in this post by [info]ramblin_phyl. I have been notified that it was originally posted by [info]suricattus in her journal post. The story and words are hers, but I do believe that it needs to go viral and that as many people as possible need to get their stories out there. Only by making a noise about this can we make a change in our society.)

There is a move afoot in the nation -driven by the GOP - to repeal the new health care laws, to protect corporate interests, to defend against fear-mongering (and stupid) cries of "socialism!", and to ensure that people are forced to choose between keeping a roof over their heads or getting necessary health care.

This movement is killing people.

Think I'm overstating the fact?

Ask the friends and family of writer/reviewer Melissa Mia Hall, who died of a heart attack last week because she was so terrified of medical bills, she didn't go see a doctor who could have saved her life.

From another writer friend: One person. Not the only one. That could have been me. Yeah, I have access to insurance -- I live in New York City, which is freelancer-friendly, and have access to freelancer advocacy groups. Through them, I can pay over $400/month ($5,760/year) as a single, healthy woman, so that if I go to the hospital I'm not driven to bankruptcy. But a doctor's appointment - a routine physical - can still cost me several hundred dollars each visit. So unless something's terribly wrong? I won't go.

My husband worked for the government for 30 years. We have government employee (retired) insurance. It is the only thing of value he took away from that job. His pension is pitiful. He still works part time. My writing income has diminished drastically. Our combined income is now less than what it was before T retired fifteen years ago. Inflation has diminished it further. In the last 30 days I have racked up over $8000 in medical bills for tests and the beginning of treatment. Our co-pay is 20% after the deductible. And there is more to come. Our savings are already gone. I have the gold standard of insurance and I still can't pay all the medical bills.

Another friend lost her insurance when her husband lost his job. She couldn't afford medication and ended up bed ridden for three months at the end of over a year of no job and therefore no insurance until he found work again.

It's our responsibility. All of us, together. As a nation.

EtA: Nobody is trying to put insurance companies out of business. They will always be able to offer a better plan for a premium. We simply want to ensure that every citizen - from infant to senior citizen - doesn't have to choose between medical care, and keeping a roof over their heads, or having enough to eat.

We're trying to get this to go viral. Pass it along.

I'm going to post my story as the first comment to this post if anyone would like to read it. If anyone wants to tell their story, please tell it on your own journal and post a link in the comments. Maybe, just maybe, TPTB will listen.

Date: 2011-02-07 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't typically repost things in my LJ - certainly not publicly - but this is important.

As you must know if you've got this blog on your flist, I lived in Japan for three years. During those three years, I was covered by Japan's excellent health care system, which takes care of both general health and dental.

I went to the doctor several times, over those three years. I went when the joints of my toes were swollen up and stiff, so that I couldn't walk comfortably, and was eventually diagnosed with Raynaud's. I went when I was bitten by a tick on a hiking trip and my arm swelled up with fluid from shoulder to elbow. I made regular visits to the dentist. In all those years, I only once paid more than thirty dollars a visit for my copay, treatments, and prescribed medications. If I remember correctly, the bill that time was less than forty.

The procedure was essentially the same as it is in the States - I went to the front desk, showed my ID and insurance card, and sat down to wait in the lobby. The waits were normal in length. The staff were helpful and diligent, and bent over backwards to make sure they were correctly treating me as a non-native speaker of their language. Not once did I find myself hesitating to seek medical help because of the price tag involved, should something be seriously wrong.

Since coming back to the States, I have been lucky. My mother, a GP, found me an inexpensive student health plan. It covers serious injury, so that if I wake up in a hospital bed after a misjudged road crossing, my first thought will not be for my bank account, which is already being rapidly eaten up by tuition and the high rent in Monterey. However, it does not cover the little everyday things, and in my first six months back in my home country, I have already spent more on my acne medication than I did on all my medical care put together over my three years in Japan. I cannot imagine how much worse this would be if I was jobless, if I was penniless, if I was a mother living in terror of being unable to pay my own child's medical bills, of being unable to care for her if something happened to me.

Some people might tell me that it's easy for me to say all this because I was not expected to pay Japanese taxes as a JET. Yes, it was essentially a free ride - a complimentary test drive, if you will, of the benefits of such a system. FYI, having taken that test drive, I would gladly have paid those taxes, if the Japanese government required them of me, in return for the absolute peace of mind that I experienced while I lived over there.

A Japanese classmate asked me the other day, "Why don't you have universal insurance here?" She told me that it's incomprehensible to her, even alarming. She was hoping for a logical explanation. I didn't know what to tell her. Do you?
Edited Date: 2011-02-07 05:55 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-02-08 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The logical explanation for why we don't have universal insurance: There are a LOT of people who have a lot of money invested in the current system, and they are afraid of losing their profits, or their jobs, if the system changes. As it stands now, there are people whose job it is to deal with the insurance companies (because it's complicated enough that that's how much administrative overhead is required). There are people whose job it is to deny insurance coverage to people where possible. And people are greedy, and people are easily scared.

Not that it's a good reason, mind you.

I'm lucky. I'm "insurable". Right now I have health insurance through work, but when I was self-employed, they paid me enough (and I've had few enough health problems ever) that I could afford individual insurance. But I've had way too many friends and acquaintances for whom that is not true - who either couldn't afford health insurance, or couldn't get it prior to the recent reforms. I guess the folks trying to repeal those reforms don't have anyone they care about who's in that same boat.

Date: 2011-02-09 05:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's pretty much it. Your summary of the system is kind of shockingly spot on :P The first time I found out about "payment denial seminars" I almost had a coronary (where they all get together and find out how to bar medical billing from being paid, thus passing that burden onto the patient).

I like being the class of citizen who is permanently "uninsurable." It makes me feel secure in my country knowing that as long as I live here under our system, my entire career path will be shaped around: "can this job provide me with insurance? Will they at least pay some of the premiums so I can afford to use it?"


tobu_ishi: (Default)

December 2011

    12 3

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 21st, 2017 03:21 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios