The summer recess for Congress is nearing its end and it will be time for those we elected to do what needs doing on health care, or respond to hysteria driven by industry and right wing rumors.
I found a story on CNN that illustrates the need for reform very clearly. The video describes the efforts of Dr. Nick Spirtos, who opened a chemotherapy clinic in his office after the county hospital equivalent closed due to budget cuts. Spirtos provides chemotherapy treatment free to those in need through a combination of pro-bono work by him and his partners and financial donations.
What is most striking to me is the story of the patient interviewed, Christina Aguilar.
Aguilar is in treatment for ovarian cancer. She worked, she had health insurance. She did everything right, except have good health insurance. The kind that pays for chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
Her insurance doesn’t cover chemotherapy? Honestly?
As a nation, we have got to ask ourselves if that is even close to being ethical. To me, the answer is clear. I think it has to be, for anyone who allows themselves thought as opposed to being a vessel for Limbaugh and Beck to fill to the rim. This woman is asking for chemotherapy, not botox. She’s asking for life, not elective treatment.
Pro-lifers, are you listening?
Probably not. Let’s keep moving.
I hear so much about how different things should be taken out of the Federal Government’s hands and pushed to the state and local level. They’ll get done there. I can tell you from my experience in other matters, it doesn’t. Christina can tell you that in the case of health care, it apparently doesn’t either. The county hospital chemotherapy center that was her safety net was closed due to state budget cuts.
We hear a lot about the numbers of folks who are “satisfied with their health insurance”. We know very little about the level at which they’ve accessed it. Perhaps Christina Aguilar would have been one of those folks a few years ago. Perhaps someone whose exposure to the system consists of taking a child to the Doctor and dropping a $20 co-pay on the counter would be.
I wonder what Christina’s satisfaction level with her insurance is after being told chemotherapy isn’t covered?
I do know what mine is following the bills I got after my son was born. I do know what it is after insurance refused to pay for the anesthetic doctors wanted my wife to have in a necessary surgery because of the likelihood she’d have a life threatening reaction to the one they would pay for.
I don’t know if satisfaction means satisfaction with knowledge. I can’t imagine it does.
I don’t know if my health insurance covers chemotherapy. I’m afraid to look. I pray I don’t need to know.
What do you really know about your insurance? Perhaps more critically, what do those screaming people really know about theirs?