I thought President Obama made a good speech tonight on the case for national health care reform, stating that insurance companies have too much say over who and what is covered, nearly 50 million people don’t have health insurance, 14,000 people lose their health insurance each day, and insurance premiums have doubled in the last 10 years. Everyone should be covered, he said, and people shouldn’t be disqualified for certain conditions. Of course, Hillary Clinton tried to reform health care – 16 years ago when Obama was 30 years old. Something tells me this time around it will be better accepted. I hope it gets passed, but I’m not holding my breath. Anyway, there are a lot of areas that are in need of health care reform.
Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org) has launched a TV ad campaign to try to combat the health care discrimination against people with autism that currently exists. Autism Speaks aims to ensure that autism is covered in any new national health care plan. Currently, most states do not require health insurers to cover certain medically necessary autism therapies. Therefore, parents of children with autism have a choice to spend money out of pocket for autism therapy, or go without. Many don’t have the choice because they can’t afford it anyway. Personally, I always feel a little bit guilty because the work that I do (www.coachmike.net) for kids with autism ends up being mainly for those whose parents are fairly affluent because they can afford it.
In addition to autism, mental illness should also be covered by any national health care plan. Currently, insurance companies can discriminate against people with mental illness by calling it a pre-existing condition. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “As many as 700,000 Americans are homeless on any given night. An estimated 20 to 25 percent of these people have a serious mental illness.” How can we afford to cover autism and mental illness? How can we afford not to? The savings in the long run will more than pay off the costs in the short run.
I have a stake in health insurance myself, as my kidney disease (see www.mikeneedsakidney.com) will eventually require a transplant from a donor. My current insurance will cover most of it, but “most” isn’t ideal since the cost of the surgery and the medications in the first two years could approach $200,000. Think of dealing with an insurance company on the phone, then think of doing it either just before or after you’ve had a transplant. Also, coverage ends after three years for transplant recipients even though immunosuppressant drugs are needed for a lifetime. Needless to say, people who have the same health insurance as Congress would have everything 100% covered.The moral of the story? Don’t get sick.
Also, see “Fun with Health Insurance” on my blog – go to the links on the right side, click, “Kidney Disease,” and scroll down to the second item. I cut and pasted a bunch of posts I read on a kidney disease site.
On another personal note, I can say anecdotally that there is still a lot of resistance to national health care. On match.com, I’ll sometimes communicate with women who list that they are “middle of the road” politically. I always say that there are a couple of issues that I feel strongly about. The first issue is the environment. I’m for a clean one. I believe that a lot of diseases, disorders, and deaths occur because of pollution in the environment. The second issue is health care. I say that I believe that everyone should have a fair chance at affordable health care regardless of whether they are rich or poor, healthy or sick. I don’t say much more or less than that. A bunch of times I’ve gotten a response from women, even in relatively liberal Maryland, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia similar to this one: “Wow. Maybe we shouldn’t meet.”*** – see below
You wouldn’t say that only certain people should get schooling paid for, or that only specific areas should get libraries, or that roads and bridges should be built and maintained in some areas but not others. But somehow, it’s ok to say that some people should get health insurance and others shouldn’t, or that some people should get their health insurance terminated for pre-existing conditions.
*** Update, 7/25: This is an actual email exchange from today, word for word, nothing left out. When I saw her response I thought I must have provoked it but here is exactly what I wrote, followed by exactly what she wrote. If anything, my initial email was pretty boring and a little uninspired, but certainly not inflammatory in any way. So maybe health care reform doesn’t have much of a chance.
What I wrote:
“Hi. I liked your pics and profile. I like MD too. Would you like to meet sometime? There’s one thing. With the health care stuff you do and the middle of the road politics, what do you think about everyone deserving a fair chance at good health care? If you agree with that then you agree with me. anyway, let meknow what you think.
What she wrote back:
“Definitely probably not a good match then. I do not feel like paying for peoples’ health insurance who are too lazy to work and usurping the welfare system. Living in Baltimore, I already see this and it will only get worse. Also, I have seen first hand in other countries who have universal health care… the length of time it takes to get a doctors appointment and hopefully get the doctor you want. I can lead to unsatisfactory health care. Obama said it will not come off of the backs of the middle class but I do not believe that for a second. You want to pay for everyone elses healthcare? Go for it! I guess some of my views are more Conservative, this is one that I do not want to ruin my happy little employed life. I do feel sorry for those who have lost their jobs and I do think that there could be a package of some sort to help those folks, but other than that, I do not feel like paying for worthless slackers and people who do not choose to make their lives better. I certainly do not want to start a political debate with you, so please let’s not go there, but I have strong views on this and I do not want to get screwed anymore than I already have been. I already pay a huge amount of taxes and they do not seem to care that I am a single women and just barely scraping by. I am sure you will send a wonderful email back, so instead of having to bare hearing I am just going to block you. Good luck in your search and there are plenty of women, perhaps lower class that will agree with you… or you may just want to stick to DC because Baltimore women (at least the ones I have talked to) are on the Conservative side of this topic. I wish you all the luck in your search!”
Maybe it was a Freudian slip when she said, “I can lead to unsatisfactory health care.”
On the bright side, she does seem a little fiery. :)