The High Costs of Health Care

Uploaded by SenateDemocrats on 23.07.2009


When I was 62 I was diagnosed with Melostatic Breast Cancer.
From one year to the next it was already in lymph nodes.
And I need chemo and that sort of thing, so I
needed to cober my health benefits, which I did,
and for 18 months I was able to maintain the benefits
I had while I was working, then, when the cober expired,
or four months before, I attempted to get additional
health insurance to take over after the blue cross expired
and I found that nobody would touch me,
all because of my cancer.
I finally was able to get coverage through a cober plan.
It had a five thousand dollar deductible in every area,
no prescription plan, and it cost me nearly a thousand dollars a month.
And I do want to tell you that all the years of my
adult life I had health insurance and never needed it.
So its not like I was a high risk always into my insurance,
I never needed it until I was diagnosed with cancer,
and then the whole thing failed me.
In the 2007-2008 school year
my husband and I worked five jobs,
and between the two of us,
we could still not afford family insurance.
In August of 2008 my husbands dream came true;
he was hired by American University to teach film studies,
and he was so happy, and he was such a great teacher,
now we could finally afford family insurance.
In January 2009 he began going to the doctor because of chest pain;
in February the pain went to his back and he could no
longer carry his books or his papers to classes,
he borrowed our sons rolling back pack so he could teach.
By March the pain was so extreme we demanded an MRI.
On March 27th at 11:00 A.M. my husband was
diagnosed with metasatic kidney cancer.
After suffering through a health system that is
more concerned with quantity of care instead of quality care,
Fred died on June 17th at the age of 39.
Would access to affordable family insurance in our case?
I think so.
If my husband could have seen a primary care doctor
throughout the past 10 years, there is a very good chance
his cancer could have been caught before stage four.
If there had been consistent follow up to ER visits we
made as an uninsured family, I think someone
could have looked at all of his symptoms in combination
and ordered the test that would have found cancer.
I wish they were fighting for health care reform that lowers cost;
we arnt talking about a balance sheet.
When we say we are fighting for reform that will
no longer let insurance companies use pre-existing conditions
as an excuse to deny you coverage you need.
We are not talking about fine print or some lawyer talk,
we are talking about people like Regina and Cathy.
Several weeks ago I sent out a letter to my constituents,
inviting them to tell me their personal stories of
health care and why they felt we needed health care reform.
In just a couple weeks I have received over five thousand
e-mails from my constituents outlining stories
many like you have heard hear today.
I had one very compelling story from a woman
who sent me an e-mail by the name of Sharon,
she was diagnosed with breast cancer,
she thought she had high quality health care,
paid high premiums to her insurance,
but when she was diagnosed with Brain Cancer
found herself going from doctor to doctor,
treatment to treatment, and chasing her insurance
company to cover what they were supposed to do.
And she said to me that we need to stop our insurance
companies from spending our premium dollars figuring
out ways to exclude people from coverage,
that's what health care reform needs to do.
What we are proposing is greater competition among
insurers in the health exchange.
Greater competition in hopefully getting some kind
of alternative, a public option, co-op,
some alternative to compete with the insurance
companies and make those costs attainable, because,
too many Americans who have health insurance
wont in the next decade because the cost keeps going up,
and too many Americans will not have health insurance at all, as you've heard.
We have a moral imperative to change this system
before it completely breaks down.
The president was right last night.
This is an historic opportunity to make sure that
these two families and their life experiences will
not be repeated in the future,
we can provide quality care for Americans and we
can do it with a good health care reform machine.
The time has come to make hard choices.
Do you want a world without musicians and artists and actors and teachers?
Do you want to give up on dreams?
Or do you want to do everything in your power to
fix a very broken medical system?
I know this is a hard time for many people.
The economy is bad and things are uncertain but that
is no reason to turn away, if we all work together
good will come of this and my husband will not have died in vain.
We will change things.