Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Owning the Emperor's New Clothes
For a variety of reasons I ended up having several personal exchanges yesterday, both written and verbal, regarding what has become something of an obsession of mine, health care. The biggest difference in the conversations and I was having is that every last one of them was with someone who has health care insurance.
Meanwhile back in D.C. Republicans vowed to up the pressure to defeat "Obamacare".
This morning, in an email exchange with another friend who reads here, I found myself comparing the situation to owning stock in the Emperor's New Clothes. The truth of that statement hit me, and I decided to continue here.
In the various discussions I had yesterday, one thing kept coming to the fore: the struggle to get actual care even with health insurance. If it wasn't having to research treatments and then suggesting them to doctors, then it was a case of trying to scramble to get treatment before the insurance company could succeed in dropping a patient. One woman I know was talking to me about a condition her three-year-old suffered from that was a genetic predisposition, and her two year battle to try and force the insurance company to reinstate coverage after her family had been dropped, baldly being told it was for cost issues.
Right now I focus on health care to an almost unhealthy degree. That's for a limited time period, but it seems necessary to me. The last time health care reform was focused upon, back in Bill Clinton's presidency, I did not pay enough attention to it. It made so much sense to me that I assumed it would be put into place for the greater good. This time out I've written to every type of representative out there. Not form letters, carefully composed ones in which I actually took the time to edit in order to be concise.
Yes, my son has a particular concern, and I would be lying if I said that wasn't part of what drives me, but it is a small part. The fact is that I will figure out this situation for my son, regardless of when his preexisting condition begins to truly have an impact on his health insurance. I'm fortunate, I know it. I still worry, but I understand why and how I have fewer worries than someone without as many avenues to pursue.
Having exchanges with people who are currently threatened with being dropped, and will be dropped from their insurance companies really brought home to me what a fictional construct health insurance is. You may have it, and if something goes wrong, you may be covered but it seems just as likely that an insurance company will twist and turn until they've figured out the way to shake someone making a claim. We have health insurance until we need it. It is like ordering, paying for, and then wearing the Emperor's New Clothes for everything they are worth.
When the coverage that had been diligently paid for was needed, the customer was left entirely naked, exposed, and vulnerable.
Politicians vowing to defeat attempts to reform the health care industries strike me as the nefarious tailors.
Not everyone who has had a health crisis has been let down by their insurance company. Some have received wonderful care, and treatment. The point is, the stories where people find themselves dropped should not be allowed to exist. When you pay for something, it is with the expectation that it will be there when needed, not yanked away at a crucial moment. It might as well not exist when that is the case.
It's like health care overseen by Bernie Madoff. He was very rightfully sent to jail, but word from D.C. is that they are going to do everything to protect the insurance company equivalents. It seems we have better standards of accountability for our money, than we do for our health maintenance.
From the article I linked to above:
But former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean believes that the American people are tired of the high-volume town hall attacks — and ready for a return to serious legislative efforts.
“Republicans will keep trying,” says Dean, “but I think we’re done with this. The American people are pretty clear they want a civil debate. As soon as people get back to work in Washington, they are going to work on a bill.”
Now is the time to write letters, if you are so inclined. The sometimes raucous Town Hall Meetings wore us all down. Reading that piece I was particularly struck by how individuals opposed to any kind of reform are counting on fatigue to breed apathy and having that win the day. It's deeply ironic that both are indicative of illness.