Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I now know about a half dozen people who have lost their jobs within the last six months. Their number one concern is affordable healthcare. President Obama is insistent that we address healthcare now but Congress and critics who are happily secure in their jobs with lush healthcare packages don't feel the urgency of the matter.

I keep hearing the "horror stories" of government run healthcare and the usual right wing scare tactics saying that you will lose control over your choice of doctor and that the government will step in and tell you that you can't have certain treatments. The people spreading these rumors aren't listening to what Obama says because the crux of his argument is that if you have employer subsidized health care nothing is going to change.

The urgency of healthcare reform is for people like me and my friends/family who are out of work. We need access to affordable care and the assurance that we can get this coverage despite pre-existing conditions.

The pre-existing condition factor is a difficult one that probably won't happen as long as for-profit insurance companies are running the show. To run a profitable business it makes sense to deny insurance to people who will actually use the service. But that's what's happening every day in the richest nation in the world.

Here in New Mexico we have something called the high risk pool that allows people with pre-existing conditions to buy Blue Cross insurance but these are high-deductible plans that are only good if you have a catastrophe. This is why I have this gives me some comfort that I know I will not be wiped out if I break my leg or develop cancer.

But as for everyday stuff...I had a physical recently because my policy says I'm allowed to have one physical per year. So I recieved a statement saying that the doctor's visit was completely covered but not the accompanying blood tests. The results of said blood tests showed that I am still suffering from anemia. It was suggested that I see a hemotologist but I will not because I can't afford it. I went through anemia treatments when I was covered by workplace insurance and watched as Blue Cross paid almost $10,000 for a treatment that did little for me. Now that the cost has shifted to me, I made the choice to live without the treatments because I cannot afford to pay for them.

Since it hasn't been settled yet, I don't know if Obama's healthcare plan would help me pay for my anemia treatments but I'm pretty sure it would pay for my routine blood tests. Oh and I did place a challenge on the Blue Cross denial of paying for blood tests that are routine screenings. The emphasis is supposed to be on preventitve care and a simple CBC would detect problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and yes, anemia.

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