Let me tell you a story. This story is about a woman. This woman got into a car accident. This car accident was caused by the other driver. This woman was seriously injured. She was in serious pain. She was uninsured.
The way that insurance companies work is her insurance (theoretically) would pay her bills. Then her insurance company would go after the other driver's insurance company for reimbursement. Because she was uninsured, she could not afford the treatments. She went to physical therapy as long as she could, but it is expensive. What she really needed was surgery. Surgery may have alleviated the pain that she will now feel for the rest of her life.
She sued, but lawyers, too, are expensive. The lawyer finally told her to settle. It was the best she could do under the circumstances. The settlement was not enough for the surgery.
Let me tell you another story. This story is about a man and a woman. The man is employed by a hospital. This hospital gives its employees good insurance, as hospitals do. The woman got cancer. The man's insurance covered some of the bills. It did not cover enough. The woman is currently fighting cancer. Both are fighting to keep their house.
Here is another. This story is about a boy. This boy is only 19, but has been away from home for several years now. This boy does not have a job. This boy gets some assistance for health care through the state. This assistance does not cover dental work. This boy has immense pain in his mouth. It is more affordable for this boy to wait until the pain is completely unbearable so he has to go to the emergency department than if he went to the dentist. The assistance will help pay for the emergency visit. This boy must wait until it is a medical emergency before he can get help.
Okay. One more. This is about a woman. This woman had some knee pain. She has insurance and goes to her primary care physician who refers her to a specialist. The specialist says that she needs a MRI. He cannot order one, though, until an xray is done. The specialist knows that the xray will show nothing, but must order it because the insurance company will not pay for the MRI until an xray is done.
The xray is done. The MRI is done. The specialist tells the woman to get a prescription knee brace and go to physical therapy 2 - 3 times a week. This woman cannot afford to go 2 - 3 times a week. She cannot afford to go once a week. This woman goes every other week for six months. One of the underlying problems, they find out, is that this woman has flat feet. With the proper shoe inserts, this can be fixed. Then she would not have to go to the physical therapy. The insurance company does not cover any of the costs of the inserts. The insurance would, however, continue to cover the p.t. indefinitely. They would rather spend hundreds of dollars a month on p.t. than a couple of hundred dollars up front.
I could tell you more stories and I am sure that you could tell me thousands of similar stories. These are the reasons for health insurance reform. These people are the reasons for health insurance reform.
People claim that the quality of their health care will go down. First I ask: Is your care really that good? Second I beg these people to listen to these stories. Listen to the people who are getting screwed by the insurance companies or who are uninsured. Listen to your family, friends, and neighbors. I am sure that each person will hear stories similar to mine. Finally I ask that these people to listen to what these bills in congress are actually saying. Not just what they are told that they say by uninformed sources.
Okay, I am coming down from my soapbox for the night. I just believe in this so passionately. It always saddens me when the people who would benefit from change the most are the same who oppose it. For instance, the poor southern states. These lower class people who were being screwed by the republicans, are also their biggest supporters.
The last story, btw, was mine.