so um, health care reform, well...

>> Monday, March 22, 2010

There were actually some pretty fun, light-hearted blog posts that I wanted to share. I guess the big news lately, though, is the progress of healthcare reform. Since my thoughts about all things health care have been shared before, instead it seems natural to say something about it, now.

I'm going to be totally and completely honest with my thoughts. Which may be hard because I *think* I know my audience and I don't want to alienate anyone or make anyone really mad. But if I don't speak my mind because of that fear, then it will probably just keep me awake all night and I really like my sleep.

OK so in full disclosure, I didn't realize anything had happened. It seemed that any hopes for progress with reform were doomed. And feeling hopeless like I did, well I just quit keeping up with it. Logging on to Facebook today though, wow, yeah that was an experience. It was pretty 50/50 on the response. I won't go into further details about the demographics, but there *was* a couple unifying factors on who felt what way. All in all however, I decided to just not say anything. I posted a funny update about Bethany and logged right off. Said a prayer. Then promptly went outside to do something with the girls.

My thoughts didn't go too far away though. And I think I need to let them out. Not so much about health care situations, cause let's face it...I've shared enough from the medical battle grounds already and if I didn't reach you with that, then I never will. To me it's not about politics or Democrats or Obama or even Pelosi. No, to me it's about the many, many patients I've met either as I've cared for them or as I was treated along side of them. Those people. Which for the most part are just like me...and you.

It was me, it is still me. And many others. I have Medicare now, which is "government healthcare". Well, actually it's my secondary insurance. I have a private insurance as my primary. For as long as they choose to cover me. I learned the hard way that you can in fact be fully insured with a reputable major medical policy. You can pay your premiums on time, every time. Starting off being healthy and then having a catastrophe. Ya know, the kind that "won't ever happen to me". Right.

Try having a *pre-authorized emergency medical admission* complete with heart surgery only to have the claim denied for no.good.reason. It was pre-authorized! That means the insurance company was brought the details of my case, established that it was in fact an emergency and needed to be treated at a tertiary care hospital, and approved it. Then took it back. Leaving me with a bill bigger than my mortgage. Unfixable through appeals.

You don't think that could happen to you? Neither did I. But at the least, I got treated. Way too many, way too damn many, don't get treated. You want to talk about "life" as an issue? Just think about that!

I've rambled on and on about all the other problems that patients have run into on this blog. They run the gamut. Not sure if I ever shared the problems that healthcare facilities have. But think about it this way...if an insurance company reneges on an obligation to pay a large amount of money for treatment, money they can't drain from an unemployed, disabled, sick person...who do you think pays that facility? And I'm not talking about bums who don't work, I'm talking about the person who went to their full-time job one day and found themselves in the hospital the next. Well, everyone does! Have you ever seen the cost of a single dose of Tylenol at the hospital?

Over the past year or so I've paid attention to the comments people make about health care reform. So many are insured through great major medical policies. Their concern? "Well now I may lose what I have!" Um, wow. If you feel this way, let me ask you think it's possible that you may have a false sense of security? And my word, where is the compassion for your fellow humans? Good you?!

The other one that bugs me, "God help us". Hello! God is IN CONTROL ALWAYS. I'll admit to a few "God help us" though, like for example when we started a preemptive war when we already had one war going on. Way to spread our troops thin when they need to be strong. "But they had WMD's-we know it!". Just like some claim to know all about death squads who want to kill off our senior citizens. "Just look! It's on page um, page um, it's right here, no not there, wait maybe here, no. Well,'s here. Somewhere!" Right.

Sorry for the rant. But. Please. The system is broken. Do I know how to fix it? Nope. But atleast someone's willing to try. I'm sure to have some people "UNFOLLOW!" after this. I hope you don't, really. Though we may have different views does not mean I don't appreciate your friendship, because I do. I appreciate you. I care about you. But for anyone who feels led to dump me after this...I sure as heck hope you are going to decline Medicare when you retire or become disabled and are eligible for it. If you feel that strongly against the government's help and all...

One last thing, and then I promise I'll go back to the fun stuff. I even have a contest planned! President Obama? Yes he is our President. He deserves the same respect that any President past or future deserves. But, for the love, he is a man. Created by God. And that's all I'm going to say about that!


Lysana March 23, 2010 at 11:47 AM  

I will admit, I was with you in the "I didn't realize anything had happened." Until, like you, got onto FB and found half my friends ecstatic, the other half up in arms. An exaggeration - not everyone commented - but of those who did, it was about 50/50.

I don't know what I think yet. I DO agree that what we currently have doesn't work properly. I'm not sure I agree that this is the right answer. Might we have jumped over "the right answer" and gone too far in the other direction? I don't know. Only time will tell that. Although I tend to suspect we have.

I am concerned that people will be fined if they don't have insurance. How is THAT better? But maybe it will be okay.

I haven't read up on it much. Really, there doesn't seem to be much point in reading up on it unless I can actually find the text of the bill, which is probably too technical and legal-sounding for me to understand (but I haven't even found it yet, so I don't know). I don't have any interest in reading the media about it, because there WILL be a spin.

I want to know what it says, and I want to make my OWN opinion. It's hard when the media tends to be so biased (either way).

And I would never "UNFOLLOW!" just because I disagree with you. :) If you were offensive about it, maybe, but you're not. I also read Dooce, and she and I DEFINITELY have different opinions on political stuff. But she's pretty darn funny, too, so I keep reading. Besides, it's good to hear both sides of the story - as long as people are being respectful about it.

That was a bit disjointed. Sorry. LOL!

Tracy March 23, 2010 at 3:01 PM  


Thank you girl for talking about this. I am too big of a wimp to on my blog. I am already sick of the debate with my husband, let alone opening myself up more debates with people that I don't live with.

Love ya tons and even more now.

heather March 23, 2010 at 3:19 PM  

Thanks for adding your thoughts. I hope others will, too. Really. And thanks for sticking around. =) Though I don't always agree with everything others do, I can definitely say that I have learned a lot about a lot! That is important to me.

I try not to be political. But like everyone, I have my beliefs and passions. Health care is a passion, I guess cause it's what I've known for so long. And have been on both sides. It's bad enough that people get sick, it's heartbreaking. To add stress because of insurance issues or to be denied care...I can't imagine that it happens. But it does.

It makes me sad that there are people who are frightened because of potential change. Nobody knows how this will turn out. Nobody knows what the right answers are. But I have to believe that at the least the intention is good. And that something, somewhere has to give.

Brandi March 23, 2010 at 3:29 PM  

I agree, the system is broken but I don't think this is the way to fix it. Yes, we do need health reform but not so fast and we need more of Congress to agree on a plan. The R's and the D's in a D led Senate not agreeing on a plan is just a tug of war.

The public option shouldn't have been taken out. With a lot of states's laws as they are already, (Idaho included) it forces the AG to sue the federal govt over the unconstitionality of it. It takes away the states' soverinty from the 10th ammendment rights.

I am worried about all the higer premiums I'll have to pay if I choose to stick with a private ins company. Meds are extremely $$$ for me, even on insurance and I think that drug companies are being left out of this healthcare reform. Why can't they get limitations?

TatteredTulips March 23, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

Always appreciate your perspective, Heather! Completely agree that systems needs reformed. Makes me sick what your insurance company did to you. Love ya, always!

heather March 23, 2010 at 11:11 PM  

Thanks for your thoughts LaNae and Brandi. I know we aren't all on the same path as far as solutions, but I know you both and know that ultimately you are both good, caring people. That to me is what is most important...the compassion aspect.

Brandi, I got an email outlining some of the changes that are due to go into effect. I am hoping that I read it correctly and that it will remain to be true that the insurance companies will be under a lot of pressure to not raise premiums of current customers. And maybe competition will actuall improve the benefits. There is also a part to reduce medication costs/reimbursement for Medicare patients. I hope that will include all private companies as well. Also small businesses will hopefully be able to receive credits to enable them to offer insurance to their employees. Lastly, the hope that pre-existing conditions that we both have will not be held against us or our children.

I truly hope that the sincerity is real, that any changes will in fact be for the best of us all. Maybe, I'm just overly optimistic because it seems that sometimes things can only "improve" as they are pretty low now. I will admit fully, that this issue isn't a black and white issue or a business issue to me. It is personal, I've seen so many treated unfairly. It's just hurts to think about it.

The one thing I've had to reconsider my point of view on is fining those who choose to go without. In some ways, I look at it as a thing that is for our best interest like seatbelt laws or helmet laws. But I've also talked with people who simply do not want insurance. They may tend to rely on natural remedies instead of traditional medicine. They believe strongly in that, so it's not necessarily irresponsibility. My eyes have been opened to that.

I am trying to have faith that both sides will come together for things that are workable and fair, for everyone. And ultimately knowing that God is omnipresent and will hopefully lead us in the right direction. We are His perfect creations, and though sometimes medicine goes too far at "playing God", I have to believe that He has allowed us to develop technologies and life saving treatments.

All in all, I just want everyone to get the care they need when they need it. From the healthy who have a catastrophic illness or injury to those with chronic illness to people with life long special needs.

I entered a career field that is about saving lives...that is what I base most of my feelings on. I don't mind what party can make it life saving a priority...I would support Republican ideas as well as Democratic and Independent.

We're all in this together. =)

tarzan March 24, 2010 at 5:14 PM  

Heather, I so appreciate your posting your feelings on this. Even tho I am late in responding I hope you'll still appreciate a comment about it.

I was one of those who stayed up until after midnight watching and waiting "literally", for the vote to reach the 216 votes needed. It was indeed a historic moment.

I fully believe this bill is a big step in the right direction. It may not be perfect.... so what bill is? It still has to pass the senate and possibly even have to go back to the house before the FINAL draft will be signed. It's a very long process that has been in effect since the constitution was written. Through this process you have differing opinions, but in the end the majority of our elected officials will have done their work and I believe have done it well....

Please know that this is a BEGINNING.... Those who wish it was better with public option or more, you will see improvements in the years to come, I promise you. Those who hate it, I believe you will eventually see that it is not going to ruin our country. to Those who are having to make a choice between eating or having health care, or those who have lost loved one because they could not afford health care, or Those who have simply been abused by the insurance companies..... YOU are the winners, and by reliving the burdens from others, the rest of us can rest in the knowledge that indeed "we are our brother's keeper". Less pain in the world is not a bad thing....... love you

heather March 24, 2010 at 9:30 PM  

Mary, thanks for your comment. What a great and insightful one it was! I hope that everyone who's been reading will be checking back so that they can see your comment.

Melanie March 28, 2010 at 9:05 AM  

Who knew that the end of the world would begin with the inability to deny children coverage b/c of pre-existing conditions? (sarcasm)

A year ago, I would not have said this, but I agree with you 100%, Heather.

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