Tuesday, September 22, 2009

open letter: health care

I'm a little shocked at some of the opinions I've been reading about health care reform. I can't understand why this is such an emotional, hot-button issue. It seems pretty simple to me, health insurance is NOT serving the needs we have now. Premiums are much too expensive for most people, lots of jobs are no longer offering health insurance as a benefit, people with long-term health problems or pre-existing conditions are not covered, and the insurance company gets to decide whether you get the care you need.

The result is that fewer people than ever are insured, including millions of children. It's easy to be smug about health insurance if you have good benefits, I know this. I am covered by my own insurance as well as my husband's union benefits. But when I was in a motorcycle accident and broke my arm, my emergency surgery was not covered, as "out of network." When I had to go in for a follow-up surgery, my claim was denied again, because they didn't view my second surgery to remove the screws that were damaging nerves in my wrist as "necessary."

What are we so afraid of? People with Medicare universally love the coverage they have. Do you think insurance companies are going to lower their prices and become competitive if there isn't a much better, free option out there for people who need it? History tells us no. Defining pregnancy as a pre-existing condition so you don't have to cover it should be a crime. This goes double for cancer treatment.

We need to get over our selfishness about health care. Everyone deserves basic care. I don't want to live in a country where people die because they can't get simple care that would save their life. This is not the 3rd world, we can afford to do this.

Julie Pickett-Hall

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