The Redhead Healthcare Manifesto

iStock_000010196668XSmallI’m a 37-year-old Caucasian female with mild asthma and breast implants. “Sedentary” isn’t a word that comes to mind when I describe my lifestyle. My adventures have taken me around the world and to over 19,000 feet above sea level via my own two feet. I’m a track and road cyclist, rock/ice/alpine climber, trail runner and a former competitive bodybuilder. As the owner of my own small yet rapidly growing business, I carry my own health insurance and have since 2007.

If I applied for new health coverage today, I’d be uninsurable. This, I know – because I tried.

Back in July of 2009, a simple accident resulted in a shattered tibia/fibula in my left ankle, netting me eight screws, one plate and six excruciating weeks on a pair of crutches. Apparently, this is a “major surgery” and the Percocet they prescribed me for pain management following surgery is “serious medication.” I slipped, fell and now…I’m uninsurable as a result of these two things as well “asthma.” Mind you, the asthma was disclosed on my initial health care application and they still insured me (with an approximate 20% upcharge for associated risk).

Denial based on breast implants, major surgery, serious medication and asthma.

As we’re approaching an era where a national health care option for the United States is possible, I’m stepping back this week to say I’m sick and tired of the bickering. I bust my ass to grow my business and the reward I get for making a go of it on my own is a health care and self-employment tax penalty.

And I think it’s horse shit.

Before I share my list of requests from the government in this country I’m proud to call home, here’s a preemptive strike: I understand there are those who do not have health insurance. I get it that “I should be thankful for what I have” and all that jazz. For all that’s holy, I’m not asking for sexual favors as part of my health care plan. What I’m asking for is for my government to start acting like a business and less like a collective bunch of Yes Men and listen to the American public.

If you’re a regular reader of Dear Redhead (and I thank you), you may find some of my views surprising considering I’m a supporter of same-sex marriage, the abolition of DADT and the right to choose. I think it’s pathetic that we can raise millions of dollars for earthquake relief in third world countries yet if asked to donate the same amount of money to lessen the federal deficit we’d roll our eyes and offer a staunch “hell no.” These are odd times in which we live and I feel our priorities as a nation have skewed so that we can’t see the forest for the trees.

Enough of the New Coke Healthcare Campaign

Remember back in the mid-80s when Coca-Cola decided that it wasn’t good enough? It released New Coke. They slammed the campaign through, kinda like Pepsi Clear. That’s what my government is doing with healthcare reform. You’re slamming a campaign through to fix something that people say needs fixing. I’m not arguing with the need for a “fix.” But what I don’t need is a syrupy-sweet placebo that’s going to be rushed and ill conceived because you have people screaming for answers. Sit down. Map a course. Think like a corporation. Understand the costs, ramifications and disclose your plan to your shareholders: the American public. I an still unclear as to what’s going to come down the pipe funded by my tax dollars if this reform bill should pass. I’m terrified that what’s coming is another AdWeek headline about a failed advertising campaign instead of an actual operable and sound solution set for the health care issues that my friends and I face. Lord knows, it took years upon years for the health care industry to become as corrupt and exclusive as it is today – how do you dare tell the American public that it’s something to be remedied in the first 18 months of a new Presidential administration?

Put the Human Back in Health Care

I go to see doctors for care, not an automated underwriting system. I am a healthy, childless female with great cholesterol results, CBC testing that gives no pause and athletic ability that allows me to aggressively pursue whatever I determine is my adventure-du-jour. I do not have asthma attacks and my boobs – saline-filled though they may be – are not a health risk. When I apply for a life insurance policy, I have to undertake a physical exam to qualify. If a doctor were to examine ME and not a computer-generated application, I’d be the ideal health insurance candidate. Active, low-risk, healthy diet, low to no risk factors.

But what a computer looks at is “triggers.”

Stop looking at me as an excuse to deny coverage and put the “human” back in health care. The message you’re sending me (and many other Americans) is that by forging our own way in our nation’s economy, we’re less worthy of care than those protected by a corporate umbrella where risk can be shared. You’re telling me that the life I’ve chosen for myself, one that’s active and healthy, is less insurable than the morbidly obese corporate lackey by nature of association. I don’t buy it. I understand that insurance companies are not charities and pre-existing conditions all have an associated risk. I want options for health care that allow for me to be considered as a person, not an application to be flagged by computer for probable denial.

Treat My Business Like Big Business

My entire life has been a collection of work, trials, successes and tribulations, culminating in the incredible place I exist in today as a small business owner. Where others are struggling, I’m breaking down walls and seeking alliances in order to expand my business. Yet I am a company of ONE. If I walked into an ad agency today and accepted a position as a W2 employee, my health care concerns would be silenced as I’d have the entire company to absorb whatever risk I pose with my saltwater boobs and asthma that lets me train to race bicycles and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro without the use of an inhaler.

I want my government to begin rewarding small business owners with the greatest gift possible: equal opportunity. Stop hitting me with a self-employment tax and telling me my “group of one” poses too much risk for me to get better healthcare. Especially if I’m willing to pay for it. I find it astonishing that my current insurance provider, Kaiser Perm, will continue to insure me (and raise my rates) on my current plan but will not allow me to pay $50-$75/month for a better plan because I had crap luck and took a fall down a few stairs. And no – my breast implants did not cause me to be “top heavy” and cause the fall and I was breathing fine at the time, I’m confident.

Offer Me Options, Not Ultimatums

As it currently stands, the healthcare reform bill is a pass/fail measure. Back to my point of running healthcare reforms like a slick (headed for failure) ad campaign, stop trying to shove the entire Thanksgiving turkey down your throat in one bite. Or rather, down MY throat.

If you offered the American public and their Congressional affiliates bite-sized options instead of a “take all you want but eat all you take” approach, we might offer you a bit more buy in. The current dictatorial healthcare buffet does one thing and one thing only: divides this nation – the nation that elected you. Take steps. Healthcare was broken before Obama landed in office. It’s likely to be broken for a fair time to come. Those in Canada, the UK and Cuba (nations with socialized or subsidized medicine) still have those who attest their health care is broken in places. We’ll never have a plan that pleases everyone, so stop acting like Yes Men and put on your strategic marketing hats. Think in healthcare morsels.

Who is the target beneficiary? What will it provide them? Who will it NOT serve? What are the pros and cons?

Tell us. We’re listening. We’re not idiots. We want explanations. We’re smart enough to determine if those explanations are answers for our particular situations.

So, there you have it: four simple demands from a demanding redhead in Denver, Colorado. My health insurance premiums are paid-up and I just had a voluntary follow-up with my orthopedic surgeon who was astounded at my strength, activity level and range of motion in my left ankle. And I’ll also add that he was appalled when I told him Kaiser denied my insurance application for a better plan citing “major surgery” and “serious medication.” I believe his exact quote was, “It was an accident!”

Yes. Yes, it was. And if we’re not careful, we’re headed for an even bigger accident with healthcare in this country. But it won’t be an accident. It will be very deliberate.

Toy With Me About Toy With Me

Comments

  1. Roy Mattison says:

    Ms. Napoletano, Hello. A little about myself before I begin. I know your position exactly as I owned 2 businesses except mine were with 6 employees. Not enough to get a discount, but more than enough to pay much more taxes, fees, etc. and headaches. (If you can remain profitable without employees, do yourself a great favor and do so!) OK, that said, while on vacation in Florida I was riding a motorcycle thru the Everglades NP to enjoy nature and feel the wind on my face. I was struck head on by an illegal alien driving without insurance. Even with all the insurance I had, it could not cover 6 months in the hospital and 27 surgeries, helicopter rescue, etc etc etc. I lost both businesses, my house, and although I chose not to go bankrupt, it took me 10 years to come out of debt. I am not disabled and live in severe pain 24/7. Being from Vermont my pain doctor highly suggested that I leave the NE during the winter to lessen the discomfort and I choose to buy a house in Costa Rica. I met a wonderful local there and married her. At that time I acquired dual citizenship and with my wife working for the University of Costa Rica as a professor I was covered under Costa Rica’s Social Medicine. This was a great benefit for the 6 months that I lived there….OR so I thought! The time I had to wait in order to see a doctor was 3 months minimum and some specialists required 7 months waiting time to be seen! My wife’s aunt died of cancer while waiting to be seen by a specialist! Even when your appointment date does arrive, you show 15 minutes early only to wait in the office for 3 to 5 HOURS for the doctor to finally call you in! If you want SOCIAL medicine, this is what we have to look forward to! How happy I am when my flight arrives back in the good ‘ol US of A because I know that when I have a kidney stone emergency (I get one about every 2 years) I know that when I show at the E-room, I will be seen within the hour unless some major catastrophe is going on.
    Try a little experiment, don’t choose just one country, but goto several and interview the locals about social medicine. There is one way around it, as there is always in this world…MONEY talks…walk in with cash and you will be seen quicker, but so many don’t have that money to do so. The wealthy in this country, just like the wealthy in every other country, will always avoid the hassles of the poor.
    More people will die with social medicine because medicine will be backed up. People will run to the doctor with just a scratch or a sneeze because medicine will be free. But if you or I have breast or prostate cancer, at least as of right now we will be seen promptly weather we are insured, under insured or not insured at all. We don’t need the government to run health care. Every business the government has put their hand to has never been profitable. It will be better to highly regulate the insurance companies or to privatize social medicine, but for god’s sake, don’t let the government get their hands in it.

  2. I can relate – I'm seventeen, and my parents tried to switch insurance companies a year or two ago. They couldn't. Why? Because the new company wouldn't cover me. I have an INCREDIBLY mild heart complaint that I don't need medication for, and there is an incredibly tiny chance that I would ever need to have surgery for it, and even then, it is not at all invasive surgery. This condition isn't even close to life-threatening, but yet the company wouldn't cover us. All I can say is RIDICULOUS.

  3. “These are odd times in which we live and I feel our priorities as a nation have skewed so that we can’t see the forest for the trees.”

    Very well thought out and written. I used this same saying, “Can’t see the forest for all the goddamn trees.” just today talking to a co-worker about the bill. I think it’s rushed and too quickly rammed down our throats.

    Nothing is lost by sitting back a minute, thinking things ALL THE WAY THROUGH, and getting it right the first time; instead of , “LETS GET THIS DONE NOW!”

  4. As someone who doesn’t have insurance available through work (I wish they’d give me full time but they won’t- I had to inform them that I’d have to leave if I didn’t get the 30 hours I have now..and I couldn’t find a better job, I’m going to be looking here soon) and certainly can not afford both health insurance AND rent AND car insurance AND groceries…even if I drop the $75 a month therapy sessions (which I’m fairly certain qualifies me for a “pre existing condition”)….I will NOT be able to afford health insurance…

    I sure as hell hope the govt don’t require me to buy it without making an affordable option available. I can only afford about $30 a week. Right. OK that’s nice. If they require me to buy health insurance (which I’m sure will cause the rates to go even higher) I don’t know what I’ll do.

    And my friend in the UK tells me “I don’t know how good I have it” and how bad universal health care sucks- I want to smack him. The UK has healthcare about as good as ours in terms of hospitals etc- we got our crappy infested hospitals over here, too, and they have some damn nice ones. So STFU I say! Come over here with your chronic condition and see how well you fare.

  5. jesus h.

    speaking as a canadian:
    i don’t know why you guys are fighting this healthcare reform so much. ANYTHING has got to be better than what you have now, don’t you think? do you REALLY think this is just an “ad campaign designed for failure?” i’m pretty sure the millions of people living way below the poverty line are sick and fucking tired of sharing bite sized pieces and damn rights, they want the whole turkey right now.

    i would rather have our long canadian wait times and KNOW that i am going to get in to see a doctor in a few days, whether or not i have the $50 co-pay. and yes, our healthcare system is still broken in some areas; it is far from perfect – especially wait times for surgery and to see a specialist. and yes, i pay $140 a month for extended health care coverage for my FAMILY OF FIVE. FIVE PEOPLE. no deductible. that gives me, amongst other things, 80% prescription medication coverage for medications not covered by my provincial health program. do you know what a difference that makes?

    you’ve worked hard to have your own business and i am *not* taking anything away from that, redhead, but there are millions in america who haven’t been given the same opportunities to pull themselves up by the bootstraps to the point where they can afford to buy insurance. what about them? what about the children or of those people?

    “I understand there are those who do not have health insurance” i don’t think you do. i don’t think you know what it’s like to choose between groceries and heart pills.

    maybe YOU can afford $168 a month with a $1500 deductible for half assed healthcare. how many people do you think can afford that? does a poor person deserve to die because they can’t afford the hospital bill to have heart surgery? should a kid suffer because mom and dad have sold everything they own and can no longer afford leukemia treatment?

    you asked who are the target beneficiaries of this bill? PEOPLE WHO CAN’T AFFORD HEALTHCARE AND THEREFORE, DON’T HAVE ANY. the target demographic IS NOT YOU. unfortunately for you, there are too many people living in america in 3rd world conditions who don’t have access to affordable healthcare, and so healthcare reform is going to come along and fuck up your personal healthcare even further.

    as a person who grew up below the poverty line, i can say for damn sure that i am grateful for socialized healthcare. i had minor, typical, childhood health issues; i cannot imagine what it would have been like if i had to suffer with chronic, major health problems.

  6. The current plan sucks. More of the same, except the taxpayers pay more, and not everybody gets insurance. Sweetheart deals were made with big pharma, with the AMA, and the public takes it up the ass — with no lube.

    I vote right, because I hate taxes, but I believe that in a country as prosperous as ours, every citizen, and every legal visitor, has a right to receive reasonable health care. The current bill does not do that. Instead, it will make the declining coverage my retired parents have cost more and more. It sucks.

    as for DADT, abortion, etc.: I’m for anybody who want to serve, regardless of gender or orientation. Abortion OK before 3 months, after if the mother or child’s life is at risk. Recreational drugs (including alcohol and nicotine,) gambling, prostitution, premarital/extramarital/gay/group sex IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS BUT YOUR OWN, as long as nobody gets hurt. I have to live within my means; how hard is that to understand once someone is elected to Congress.

    Don’t get me started.

  7. Dear Redhead says:

    @Darren – Never in a million years. But thank you for the vote :)
    @Hillary – Thanks for stopping by! And who knows – maybe this article on our “adult” oriented website will make it around to people who are in a position to direct legislation and shape policy. Especially since everyone knows I have saltwater boobs now ;)
    @nirvank – Always great to see you here and thanks for your thoughts!

  8. The only thing I would severely challenge is the assumption that corporations plan long-term, justify their decisions, get feedback from their boards/stockholders, etc…. hahahhahahaha. I always laugh, having worked for IBM and Microsoft, at the idea of bringing the efficiencies of private industry to government. Please. Wall St? Enron? Auto companies? As far as I can tell, it’s about the next quarter, CYA, and spin.

    IMO this whole thing was framed wrong from the start. Obama et al really thought we cared about poor people. Hahahhahaha. This was a middle class issue and should have been framed that way. Maybe as a single person you don’t get what families are going through, but even for professional people earning good dual-career salaries, dependent premiums are rarely covered by employers any longer. So even if you’re making a combined income of $150K, who wants to pay $900 per month for insurance premiums to get your spouse and kids covered? All Obama had to do was say that out loud, bec lots of people paying that aren’t making close to $150K.

    And yeah, the entrepreneurs. And all the tradespeople. The mechanics, therapists, hair dressers, leg waxers, acupuncturists…start asking your service people… how many of them, even when they themselves provide some health-related service, can afford (or get, due to pre-existing conditions) insurance? All Obama had to do was start mentioning Suzy Stylist. Or those of us who want to go half-time at work, so we can pursue, say, a dream, like writing a novel or playing in a band, but would lose benefits bec they start at 32 or 40 hours…. Ah, that pursuit of happiness thing. All Obama needed to do was FRAME it.

    Not about poor people, because even the recently unemployed struggling to make COBRA payments or those recently uninsured don’t THINK of themselves as poor. But about the middle class and middle class FREEDOMS. The freedom to put that $900 toward college instead of health insurance, say, so you don’t have to hit up the federal government for financial aid later…

    So, the strategy should have been, and the Dems should have realized this, to pass the *most comprehensive package possible that would deliver the most tangible benefits to the most people as quickly as possible* in the fastest possible timeframe. IE, in 6 months, to take effect immediately, not with some 2014 rollout. Because the best hope for everyone was for even the skeptics to see rapid results *in their pocketbooks* as quickly as possible. Prove the concept. Demonstrate the value. You were paying $900 for your family 6 months ago? Well, now you’re paying $200. You couldn’t get insurance before? Now you can, for a price you can afford. End of story. Get it in place before the mid-term elections. Done.

    Duh.

    And now, that they’re trying to ram something, whatever the hell it is, because you’re right, we have *no idea what it is* down our throats, with no real definition and a distant rollout… how are they going to get any kind of approval rating for this?? They should be going point by point and telling the middle class how it’s going to benefit us. Not because it’s going to save us money by getting poor people out of the emergency rooms. But how is it going to lower my premiums, free me to go into partial early retirement so I can write that novel, or go freelance if I want, help my neighbor save for college, help my other neighbor open an acupuncture practice…. HOW…. tell me, tell me now, point by point. Because the longer you stay silent, the more I suspect it will do NOTHING for me.

    This might not be true. But they aren’t saying otherwise.

    This is where the Obama administration really fails, as has been analyzed multiple times in the NYer and elsewhere. They don’t get the PR thing. They wait and wait, and then, when it’s almost too late, deliver an eloquent, hypnotic speech… Kind of like that boyfriend you had that said just enough of what you wanted to hear to string you along… till you were about to break up, and then he said just enough again…

    I spent THE SAME in healthcare this year that I spent in taxes. Not counting alt-med, even. That tells me that taxes can go up or healthcare costs can down, or both.

    Oh, yeah, one other thing… I agree that you should be looked at as a person…and that your activity level is a plus, even if you engage in dangerous stuff like climbing (is it really more dangerous than skiing? Doubt it.)…probably not less dangerous than being a high-stress corp exec who DOESN’T exercise. On the other hand, there’s a good chance that your life circumstances could change with time and this philosophy could bite you. You get more tired, exercise less, get more stressed out. You wind up having to take care of two dying parents and two dying in-laws, and just don’t have time for yourself, and meanwhile you go through menopause and you never really back in the groove, who knows. You have the energy to exercise if only you had what it took to get into your exercise clothes… Seen it happen. Anyhow, doesn’t take much to set off an avalanche, as you know.

    Everyone’s an insupportable risk, really.

  9. mesorrentino says:

    @Dear Redhead – I know I’m representing the bad guy here.

    I won’t try to diminish the role that insurance companies play in some of the problems and there definitely needs to be some reform there, I admitted that already.

    What about the actual costs of the surgery itself? Is there any room or way to reduce the actual cost of services?

  10. Dear Redhead says:

    Jesus fucking christ – I was out of pocket over $8k last year. And yes, you’re defending the undefendable. My right to care doesn’t DIMINISH because I need CONTINUED care. Poor insurance companies, actually having to PAY benefits. I broke my goddamn ankle – I didn’t get cancer. Again, it’s the underwriting protocol at fault, not my dumb ass luck of slipping down 2 stairs and landing the wrong way. If you’re trying to make me feel bad or look unreasonable, you fail miserably. I stand by my requests asking HUMANS to evaluate other HUMANS and stop penalizing me for not falling under a corporate umbrella where I’d get coverage for life so long as I punch a clock from 9 to 5.

  11. mesorrentino says:

    @Dear Redhead – don’t take me wrong here, but if you require additional surgery, to an insurance company you are a depreciating asset.

    I know I am defending the undefendable, but sometimes I think we have unreasonable expectations. You have a policy that you pay $168 / month for ($2016 annually) plus maybe $3000 out of pocket total in deductible / coinsurance for a total cost of just over$5,000 per year, but the insurance company is at risk for what $2 or $3 million in expense?

    I had a guy who I chased for 7 months to get coverage (he had none) and 3 months after he finally caved he ended up with cancer and the company spent almost $2 million in treatment over a years time. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me …

  12. Dear Redhead says:

    Again, I’m not discounting the coverage I have. I’m saying that why should I be denied the right to pay MORE for BETTER insurance, especially when a follow-up surgery is recommended for hardware removal by my surgeon? I’m an insurance company ASSET, not a liability. Acute conditions are why we seek out insurance. I’m not trying to weasel care for an undisclosed chronic condition. And I thought it was awesome they rejected my 2nd application based on asthma, a condition disclosed on my original (and accepted) application. *shrug*

  13. mesorrentino says:

    @Dear Redhead – Seems like you have a great plan $168 / month is reasonable as is your deductible, no?

    I think the denial is due to time frame, they want to make sure you don’t need follow up surgery before they increase their risk by lowering your deductible.
    @Wicked Shawn – Don’t get me wrong here, I understand that rates for auto coverage went up when required, as will the rates for health insurance if the fed requires us to buy it. This is not solely due to insurance company greed however, it is due to increase risk to the insurance company as well.

    I do agree with you on the transparency of the current health reform and its not only the price that’s important. There are so many little things in this behemoth that we just don’t need and go against what we are really looking for in reform.

    Let’s remember, there are two major problems with health insurance cost and accessability. Beating up on insurance companies is not going to solve the cost problem, all the do is collect your premiums and pass most of them to doctors and hospitals. They could probably be more efficient, but their profits amount to only $14 billion or so per year. While a huge number, it is a pittance compared to total expenditures on health care in this country and if handed back to the insureds would amount to less than one percent of your premiums annually.

  14. Dear Redhead says:

    @mesorrentino – I call them The Twins. And yeah – I’m a formerly licensed Life and Health producer as well. When you’re self-employed, health insurance options are slim pickins and you take what you can get. In my case, it’s $168/mo for the privilege of 80/20 with a $1500 deductible. Not suckage, but I was denied BETTER coverage by the same company. Now THAT is ridiculous.

  15. mesorrentino says:

    Dear Redhead – Wow, seems a subject I can stand on the same side with you. Which is somewhat of a shame, now I’ll have to crane my neck to ogle your saline sweater kittens, Jane and Russell (by the way, Dolly Parton calls hers Shock and Awe).

    Sensible positions on your part and from one on the conservative side I say this non-accident we are headed for is a serious problem and will do little that real folks out there clamoring for reform really want. As a licensed member of the evil insurance industry I am not opposed to reform and agree with you that a more clearly thought out step by step process is required.

    Relating to your specific situation, saline breasteses are treated differently by each insurance company and are not an automatic decline. They all have their own underwriting guidelines and specialize in different market segments. If buying insurance on your own, it is best to utilize an independent broker, one who represents several different insurance companies but whose primary job is to represent you. A good broker will know which insurance company is best for your situation, and has relations with those insurance companies so you are not a nameless, faceless digital application.

    By the way, if your major surgery and serious medication are recent, give the insurance companies some time. They like to see “accidents” like that heal and have time without additional medical treatment required. Perhaps in six months or a year, your situation would be different.

    Back to the subject at hand, one of the most important requests you have is for the government to provide you options. This will not be the case with health care reform as currently proposed. Government is not about options, private industry is. Government give mandates which limit options. The best bet would be for the government (and big businesses which buy 80% or more of the health insurance in this country) to get out of the way and let the individual consumer do what they do best. I’m not suggested complete deregulation, just sensible regulation to facilitate what we want.

    It is one of the reasons that auto insurance has remained affordable … everyone buys their own, and only buys what they want and need.

  16. I enjoyed the article. I don’t agree with it all, but I like your non-partisan thinking. Yeah you! :)

    Politically I’m a strong undeclared (as I think everyone should be – but that is another topic). I do lean left though – especially these days. Socially I’m a jay bird and fiscally I’m reasonable as I know spending is needed – and more than just on the military and roads/bridges.

    But enough about me.

    Fiscally speaking a single payer system is the cheapest. But obviously people are afraid of being turned into a ‘socialist’ nation. Even though there are socialist aspects to our nation no one wants to call out. But single-payer is unachievable anytime soon.

    So we’ll take that off the table and just talk about reform as you mentioned.

    The issue of healthcare needing reform isn’t new. It’s a half a century issue and taking healthcare reform one step at a time would be ideal, but it can’t be done.

    In my life time, since the mid 70’s, only 2.5 people have been serious about HCR… Bill/Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama. Which leaves 4 years of a DEM, Carter, and 20 years of REP administrations have resulted in no action on HCR. This includes the members of Congress over those years. If someone doesn’t start the ball rolling with a decent chunk of reform, it won’t be addressed again for potentially another 15+ years (the gap between Clinton’s push and Obama’s)…. As odd as this sounds, getting a decent chunk of HCR at once and working to fix that legislation in small parts would be easier, in my opinion.

    Why Congress/Government will never work like a corporation is because of lobbyists. If I sit on the board of directors for Microsoft, I don’t have Apple pushing me to direct M$ to go another way. Congress isn’t like that. Insurance companies, drug companies, and various other lobby groups want what is best for them, not for the shareholders (the US people) and the lobbists line the pockets and reelection campaigns for the politicians. If Apple lined my pockets to push M$, I may be accused with corporate espionage.

    Regulation is needed. Denying someone that is willing to pay for healthcare insurance is not the intent of HEALTHCARE. Last time I checked Healthcare was around to make/keep people healthy and well. Supposedly that is why doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc join the profession. Putting a Healthcare companies bottom line over the healthcare of an individual is sadistic and goes against the meaning of healthcare.

    This goes along with the increasing number of medical bankruptcies – ~300,000 out of ~900,000 are attributed to insurancers pulling the rug out of the covered person when the individual needs the insurance the most. Anecdotally, I’ve known 4 people that have had their insurance pulled out from under them right after they were stricken with a grave illness. All have had to fight their way back from medical bankruptcy because of it.

    Apologizes as my post is probably disjointed as I’ve been distracted by other things… But in short healthcare insurance companies need to realize what they are insuring. Ideally both sides would sit down and figure out the better solutions, but currently one side likes to filibuster items they end up voting for later, or like spreading fibs to dissuade the public – like death-panels. Don’t get me wrong the other side isn’t free of fault either, but we need to start somewhere and probably somewhere big and work from there…

    Full disclosure:

    I give Obama credit for sticking to his guns. Most politicians would have given up long ago (Clinton) on an issue that is complex and has no singular face to rally against.

    Also my wife and almost all my in-laws work in the healthcare field. I’ve also had excellent insurance all my life. From my parents, to my large corporation jobs, to my small business, to my out of pocket expense… So maybe I have nothing to complain about, but I do see a wrong with the industry.

  17. Hillary Nitschke says:

    Erika, this is an excellent piece. You need to forward this to your senators, congressmen… directly to the president!
    Cheers,
    Hillary

  18. Please run for office. That is all.

    D

  19. I had one elevated glucose level test in 1998 while pregnant with my daughter, followed by numerous normal tests. I still get denied coverage over a decade later, and am ‘lucky’ enough to have found coverage with big fat riders and premiums and deductibles. Fucking insurance companies.

  20. The last time I got health insurance ($300/month for me and daughter with a $5,000 deductible) my two knee surgeries were far enough back that they didn’t count against me (or at least I wasn’t turned down for them), and they were totally cool with my asthma, just refused to pay for any kind of medication or doctors visits that could in any way be linked to my asthma because it is a preexisting condition. So, so lame.

  21. I
    m trying not to choke on the TicTac I was eating while reading the insurance broker explaining about how auto insurance remains so affordable. Maybe just unawware of the over 300% increase in auto insurance premiums in the states where it became required by law. Because, ya’ know, the minute the insurance companies, friends of the common folk that they are, knew that they were required by law, their prices became ri-friggin-diculous!

    As for the Healthcare Reform Bill, transparency is essential and has been abysmal. Non-existent, really they have let out as little information as possible, even at this late date we still don’t have the actual price tag. It is undenialable that our nation deserves some healthcare reform to take our health(and I say health, because too many people are refused medical service because their INSURANCE providers say no or they lack insurance) to a level equal to the level our nation is capable of providing.

    If we continue on the track we are currently on, we are going to have to request that the Doctors Without Borders please rediscover their borders and serve the poor and homeless and untreated and uninsured here within our nation!