Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You Know You've Been Curious: My Thoughts on Health Care Reform

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In some twisted way I'm lucky that my illnesses have left me sick enough to qualify for Social Security Disability. Sure, I have to wait two years before I'm eligible for Medicare, but once I get to that point I know I'll have good health coverage that won't rely me or my husband having the kind of job where you get good benefits (or benefits period).

You see, I haven't been able to work since October 2007 and my husband is a barber. Like most barbers he's an independent contractor who rents a chair from the person who owns the shop he works out of. Despite his success in his chosen field he has had to continue working at a demoralizing second job so I can have health insurance. But at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel for us.

I wonder if not necessarily having a dog in this fight anymore has made me less militant about demanding a "public option". Maybe I'm too easily satisfied, but I'm not expecting a public health insurance option to pass Congress anytime soon and I guess I would be okay with that if Congress does just two small things:

First, I want to see Congress require insurance companies to cover everyone.

Second, I want Congress to force insurance companies to charge everyone the same rates so that those of us with chronic and life-threatening illnesses who don't qualify for Medicaid or Medicare can afford the insurance we so desperately need.

That being said I fully support a public option.
Private or employer-provided insurance policies do cover a lot, but when you become ill you quickly realize there is road block after road block put up in your way when you try to get the treatments, medications and procedures your doctors suggest you try. If that isn't because of the policies of the insurance companies why does every single one operate that way and why do the vast majority of very sick people face the same challenges regardless of how savvy, educated or intelligent they are?

For a nation that claims to put families first some of our policies and laws hurt families terribly. We have the lowest life expectancy and the highest infant mortaility rate of all developed nations. This is unacceptable. I'm ashamed that we find ourselves in this postion. I know we can do better.

Here are some excellent articles I've read lately that sum up my concerns about the health care status quo and desire for change. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

What's Not to Like? Reform? Why do we need health care reform? Everything is just fine the way it is. - Newsweek

How to Think Constructively About Health Care Reform - Harvard Business blog

What's So Great About Private Health Insurance? - Los Angeles Times

Health Reform: The Cost of Failure - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

And You Thought a Prescription Was Private - New York Times

Debunking Canadian Health Care Myths - Denver Post

Is the Health Insurance Industry Immoral? - Wall Street Journal

I'm Worried About Health Insurance Reform - Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness

Health Care Reform and the 'Public Option' - Medicine & Social Justice blog

In Which I Take a Stand on Health Care - Mommy's Martini blog

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.