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No More Pre-Existing Conditions! December 24, 2013

Posted by Admin in Diary, Healthonymous.
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January 1, 2014 is a day I’ve been looking forward to for more than 28 years. No more pre-existing conditions for me. The moral of my story is  – “It could happen to you”.

Dear YoungInvincibles @YI_Care : I was once one of you. Healthy, able to get life and health insurance ‘on demand’.  I ran 10k races in college, skied in the winter and hiked in the summer. Then age 26 came along and my medical care changed forever. I found a lump in my breast. 

Off I went to the doctor, who assured me that I was “too young” to worry about this hard, fixed in place, not painful lump. I had to manage up and advocate for myself to get a mammogram. So I finally got a mammogram (not always effective in young women with dense, perky breasts) and what do you know, the lump I had found was real-and could be cancerous. But they were skeptical, due to my age.

About this time, my doctor asked for my health history and I realized I had no idea if anyone in my family had ever had cancer. “Mom, what did your mother die from at age 45 during WW2?” -Oh- lung and breast cancer……gee thanks. Gulp. And why didn’t I know this before?

That didn’t matter, because now we had to biopsy my big lump.  There was no Breast Cancer Fund, no Internet, there was no Susan Love Research Foundation. There were three books on breast cancer available. One was on plastic surgery-scratch that. I was a busy financial advisor and barely had time for this surgery, let alone another one! Yes, I was a Yuppie. Then there was this one- First, You Cry by NBC correspondent Betty Rollins. I read it, but took small comfort from the story. The third one was apparently not memorable, but we bought it.

Here’s my point, YoungInvincibles; you might not get cancer in your 20’s, but anything else can happen. I didn’t ask to get cancer in my 20’s. And although I had some increased family risk, this wasn’t even the worst thing that could have taken me to the hospital. A skiing accident might have made me a quadriplegic; a car wreck could have placed me in rehab, or e.coli could have killed me!

If I hadn’t had health insurance, me or my family might have had to cover the cost of my 2 surgeries (first one didn’t get all the cancer cells), 8 weeks of radiation treatment and follow-ups ourselves. I might have entered my 30’s with unpaid medical debt. Did you know medical bankruptcy is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.?

#GetCovered for your wallet. #GetCovered for fewer surprises.

#GetCovered for your health and the Ten Essential Health Benefits.


Got Pre-Existing Conditions? Romney or Obama Health Plan? October 4, 2012

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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As seen on Slate.com this morning-about pre-existing conditions and Obamacare.

Here’s an admission from Governor Romney’s advisor, Eric Ferhnstrom:

Pressed by TPM’s [Talking Points Memo] Evan McMorris-Santoro, Fehrnstrom said those who currently lack coverage because they have pre-existing conditions would need their states to implement their own laws — like Romney’s own Massachusetts health care law — that ban insurance company from discriminating against sick people.

“We’d like to see states do what Massachusetts did,” Fehrnstrom said. “In Massachusetts we have a ban on pre-existing conditions.”

[emphasis added by me]

If you have a pre-existing condition, the President’s plan (already the law), provides for no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions (think chronic conditions, cancer, diabetes etc.). But if Governor Romney is allowed to repeal Obamacare, then each state would have to push through their own versions of protections instead.

No guarantees there.

The Republicans are big on freedom. Before PPACA was passed, you could be trapped in your job with employer-provided health coverage, if you had a child with epilepsy or diabetes and they had been born AFTER you began work at your current company. Why? Because they would have been uninsurable with an individual plan or for a period under a new employer plan.

I knew two people who could never change jobs before PPACA was voted into law.

No freedom for them.

There is now.

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fact-killing health-reform repeal January 19, 2011

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, huh?.
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So says the headline in the today’s column by Froma Harrop in my newspaper today.

I’d only like to address one part of the column and proposed legislation (HR2) in this post.

So which jobs will PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) destroy? The House Republicans offer no evidence-just assertions about losses to small businesses and assumptions about new government jobs. In fact, a repeal of PPACA would eliminate tax credits for small businesses. (This credit is available from 2010-2013 for non-profit and for-profit businesses of fewer than 25 employees and and average annual incomes of less than $50,000.)

Some businesses would lose jobs-some would be in the administration of health care for profit businesses that the US has. With 32 million more people covered, it seems obvious that more health care workers would be needed to serve them. There is also a provision in the bill to add slots in nursing education, which would lead to growth in the number of nurses we could train and add to the workplace.

A recent column in the Journal of Nursing Administration (JONA) article describes the additional opportunities for nursing education as a “watershed moment for the nursing profession”.

In workforce development reports, allied health professions and health care jobs are routinely in the top growth areas for the next ten years.

Can it be that the Republicans are only worried about pleasing their lobbyists (including 55 former members of Congress as of 2009)?

According to Bloomberg News, 1.5 million dollars per day was spent in the first quarter of 2010 on health care reform lobbying….

Out in the Cold – Searching for Coverage November 11, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary.
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[picapp src=”8/3/9/6/Snowy_Footsteps_821c.jpg?adImageId=7343341&imageId=4741488″ width=”380″ height=”281″ /]

Today is Veteran’s Day in the United States, also known as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day or Poppy Day in other countries.

It’s lonely work, to advocate for yourself, at a time when you are sick, worried, depressed, between jobs, poor or left injured through service to your country.

I expect better from my country.

Left Government vs. Right Government November 9, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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>Left and right view of the US


Where Do You Fall

How you feel about the recent US House health care bill (HR 3962) might depend on where you see yourself on this chart?

It appears in a book being released today (Nov. 10th, 2009) in the US. For information on the book click here.

Consider the following beliefs about society from the chart:

Left:  One for all and all for one

Right:  Survival of the fittest

These contrasting beliefs make it impossible to argue with some R’s or   Libertarians (we have several in the family) about health care reform or almost any government role save defense. I remembered this when I read a review of two biographies of the famous “radical individualist”, Ayn Rand, this past weekend. Some of her books were in my childhood home and I did read The Virtue of Selfishness, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as an impressionable “tween”.  But I grew up. Now I am a passionate, citizen activist, progressive, government-loving liberal so I guess I wasn’t too tainted. The “radical individualists” in my family live and breathe their ideology.

I’m not saying that it is bad to be an ideologue, but it is a lonely place. For my relatives, it has just gotten lonelier, as most of the family email list has gotten fed up. The errant relatives have told us we can’t see the truth and “we ignore it at our peril”. But this quote from Ms. Rand tells me that this is all part of the plan:

The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see.” source (more…)

Quote from Molly Ivins on Cancer October 25, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Quote of the Week, Humor, Women.
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[picapp src=”9/6/8/a/2004_Hugh_M_219c.jpg?adImageId=6651595&imageId=1441759″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]

Bonus quote of the week!

I miss Molly Ivins’ humor and speaking truth to power. Here is how she began an essay in Time magazine  (2-18-02 issue) about cancer:

Having breast cancer is massive amounts of no fun. First they mutilate you; then they poison you; then they burn you. I have been on blind dates better than that.

Been there, done that, got the (pink) T-shirt.

Would Molly Ivins be involved in the health care reform debate right now? Yes, and I would love to know what she would have said.

For another appreciation of Molly Ivins by Maya Angelou, read on.

“I Can’t Discuss Your Diagnosis With You” October 9, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week, Healthonymous.
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I’m trying to limit myself to one of these a week, but this seemed rather egregious. This is my second health care quote of the week-so unexpected that I had to share it. I was on the telephone today with my insurance company X speaking with a supervisor in their customer service department:

“I’m sorry, I can’t discuss your diagnosis with you. Our company privacy policies don’t permit me to do that.”

Unbelievable! They won’t discuss that with the patient! On the other hand, perhaps it is a good thing that clerical workers are not allowed to do that. That might leave health care decisions, judgements etc in the hands of people who are NOT qualified to dispense medical advice. (Oh-we already do that, don’t we).

Never mind…

First, Do No Harm October 4, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Money.
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I was hoping that the Senate health care reform bill would at the very least, “Do No Harm”. We all think of that as part of the Hippocratic Oath, but it is not. The phrase that references harm is actually the promise “to abstain from doing harm”, according to Wikipedia.

While some might wish that Congress would “abstain from doing harm” more often, I don’t agree. I am a fan of government-albeit a transparent one. To quote the Public Disclosure Act of Washington State: (RCW 42.17.010)

(1)That political campaign and lobbying contributions and expenditures be fully disclosed to the public and that secrecy is to be avoided. (emphasis added)

(2) That the people have the right to expect from their elected representatives at all levels of government the utmost of integrity, honesty, and fairness (emphasis added) in their dealings.

Those statements apply to our members of Congress too. Did the members and the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee accept too many contributions from the insurance industry? (See Baucus’s fundraising in 2008 here) How does the bill  about to be voted on help the public interest with no public option in it? And why do the insurance companies (whose stock values went up the day after the President made the public option sound well, “optional”) need a ten year subsidy to support all of their new customers?

Even people who work for Group Health Cooperative, one of the Co-op success stories bandied about as a new national strategy don’t believe that co-ops are the answer. Next alternative is “the exchange”- a marketplace.

Who has not been paying attention? Many states do not have a marketplace, but a near monopoly. Last I checked a “marketplace” has more than one seller and prices are not all the same.

I respect the President’s statement that we are 80% of the way there and that bills have never been generated out of five committees before. But he promised to go farther than this! As cancer survivor who has not worked  for companies with 100% coverage for a few years, I am not sure that this bill will be enough. If I am guaranteed coverage, what will the price be, without a worthy competitor such as a public option with millions of participants?

Will I be better off? I think so-and it’s better than the R’s “do nothing/start over” non-alternatives. But, oh what could have been? Wait, some of you still need to get involved. Call your MC and tell them you expect better, and soon!

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