Friday, October 23, 2009


I have a family member who contracted Hep-C from a blood transfusion she underwent when her oldest child was born, because she lost so much blood during delivery. In those days blood largely came from paid donors, including many drug addicts who sold their blood for ready cash so they could shoot up some more. For two decades afterwards she went undiagnosed although she told doctors that something was wrong with her. They merely labeled her a hypochondriac. Finally when she was in her 50s her condition was diagnosed correctly, her husband divorced her, she underwent a year of grueling chemotherapy and now, since she was a live-at-home Mom, she doesn't benefit from America's work-driven health insurance programs.

So now she has a pre-existing condition, which isn't her fault, and although she has dedicated her life since her divorce to getting a job with health insurance benefits, no employer who offers health insurance will hire her because she is approaching the age of 60. (This is the richest nation ever on earth.)

Her only practical option is to become a pauper so that when her house is gone and all her possessions are in her siblings' garages, the government can take her in and administer minimal health care to her that she can't otherwise afford til she dies.

Who in the world doesn't want the Public Option?


Petraruns said...

It can be kind of complicated for us foreigners to understand the ramifications of your health-care debate (I have been reading the Economist and listening to PBS to try to understand) but stories like yours just underscore where the issues lie - this should not be possible. We have a private option here too which speeds up your treatment and makes it more comfortable, but for all of us those with congenital or preexisting conditions (like me and my son) we thank god for the NHS which treats us, no questions asked. We all complain about it regularly, and it can be very basic and bare bones and slow, but I wouldnt be without it and count myself SO fortunate to live in a country that allows for it.

Anne said...

There are so many people in this country like her, and yet so many that want to deny her health coverage that would allow her to be far more productive that she can be under our current system - not to mention the death knell anyone 50+ and unemployed now faces in this place.

I hope things turn around for her and everyone like her, and soon.

jeanne said...

To answer your question: People who already have health insurance that they are happy with (don't ask me, i've yet to meet anyone like that) and who can't conceive of being in a situation like your family member's.

oh, and rich people, who don't have to worry.

that's who.

And that great masses, who believe everything they're told on fox.

Just_because_today said...

it is sad that the system forces people to take the option -which is no option - of living off the system. It is a very unfair world we live in