Tuesday, March 23, 2010

If You’re Not for Health Care Reform You...

1. Haven’t been denied coverage
2. Haven’t paid your own premiums
3. Haven’t watched your premiums go up as much as 45% per year
4. Haven’t had a sick child
5. Haven’t experienced a serious injury
6. Haven’t gone bankrupt trying to payoff medical bills.

And, as demonstrated by the debate and subsequent vote in congress, if you’re not for health care reform—at least the current version of reform on the President’s desk—YOU are a Republican.


I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat. In fact, I detest partisan politics. I won’t form my opinion on an issue because President Obama and Nancy Pelosi tell me how to think. Nor will I enter a debate using phrases I’ve heard from Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich.

I am an American citizen who strongly believes our nation is in dire need of health care and health insurance reform. I realize it’s what our government is trying to accomplish. It’s been a messy—even UGLY—process, but the debate in itself, has demonstrated the true nature of a democracy.

I may not like every aspect of the bill President Obama has just signed into law; however, I believe it’s the first step in getting on the track to reform. Let’s stop fighting and name-calling and deal with it, shall we?


When it comes to why I feel we need health care reform, my opinion is based on the following:

I am a small business owner. It’s a sole-proprietorship, where we pay for our own medical insurance. We do not have a dental plan. This means each time we go for a cleaning or a crown, we pay full pop (Did you know crowns can cost as much as a thousand dollars apiece these days?) Fortunately, we are a healthy family. Most of our doctor visits are preventative in nature. We keep our appointments, issue our co-pays and go back to living healthy / lucky lives.

Two years ago, however, my child had an accident and broke her arm. It required surgery. At the time Blue Cross/Blue Shield—a reputable insurance company—covered us. As customers of BCBS, each October, the month I officially aged, I received a letter informing me our premium was going up. Then again in December, the month of my husband’s birthday, a second letter came announcing yet another increase. Since we weren’t getting any younger, there was no end or cap in sight.

After my daughter’s fourth cast came off for good and all the bills came in, in spite of our BCBS coverage, we still faced close to $4,000 in expenses not covered by our plan.

Now, this may not seem like a lot to people with a lot of money—those people who make $200,000 per year or who have homes valued at $700,000 (i.e. those facing taxes proposed by this bill/law)—but to people who work just as hard in less lucrative professions and who pay rent rather than own a home—or who’ve already paid out $6,000 in insurance premiums, which have only covered part of maybe four annual checkups . . . it’s a big financial burden.

We paid our bills and then shopped for new insurance. With the new company and the new underwriting, our premiums were cut in half; however, we soon learned that they paid for, well, nothing. Then when our birthdays rolled around, the premium went up 45%. So, we found yet another company and are currently keeping our fingers crossed that this one will be a good one . . . at least until the birthday letters come.


I was happy on Sunday night when I learned this health care reform bill passed in the House of Representatives. Again, it’s not because I agree with everything the bill proposes. It’s because I agree with what the bill represents. What it represents is the first step toward truly necessary reform.

It also represents the first time in a long time that Congress has actually accomplished SOMETHING other than just perpetuating ugly and unproductive partisan politics.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm a small business owner who last year was diagnosed with Rhuematoid Arthritis. I have severe progressive and traditional treatment failed me. I am currently receiving Remicade IV infusion every 8 weeks which has SAVED me! The cost per infusion is $1790.00. In addition to supporting a household of 4 and employing 16 people, I have to stress about the cost of my care.
I was informed that if I had Access or Medicare my cost would be $50 per infusion. I also learned that if I had no insurance Johnson and Johnson (Makers of Remicade) would assist in my cost but since I have insurance I was denied assistance. As a small business, we pay $9000.00 in premiums for employees per month yet people who can carry NO insurance or are on welfare have free medical care or minimal co pays. Where the hell is the fairness in that? I pay for insurance but have to stress about how to support my family because of the cost of my care. I have always been a moderate conservative but we have a serious problem with health care in this country and we need reform.

Michele Cozzens said...

Dear Anonymous,
I don't know how or if this current reform bill will address your situation. Thank you for sharing yet another example of how badly reform is needed. I'm very sorry for your difficulties and just as sorry about how the current system is making your treatment even more difficult. It doesn't make sense and no, it certainly is NOT fair.

Perhaps we need to stress the importance of INSURANCE reform and fight specifically for these changes.

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
—Michele

Maya said...

Hi Michelle,

Perusing Facebook led me to your blog about healthcare reform. I couldn't agree more- we need reform in this country and we have to start somewhere. Electing obama was a major coup and we'd be fools to think that the programs he promised to enact would be easy to push through.. so we must have faith, be patient and in this moment, be grateful.. we're on our way. Hopefully the radical "right" won't cause too much harm to anyone in the process.