Insured Patients Go Bankrupt

The sad news keeps coming today… As if in response to my post from earlier this week questioning whether we have the best healthcare in the world

Today’s article from MSNBC about an insured, good credit rating woman who has gone bankrupt because her insurance didn’t cover her costs of treatment for ovarian cancer.

Such a travesty….

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1 thought on “Insured Patients Go Bankrupt”

  1. Oh Goody! A place to park a few comments on the US health care system by someone who returned after living 30+ years in Canada! For those who have not gradually come to know the US system, there is much mystery. Odd vocabulary, curious “partial” coverage on just about any condition, and also peculiar focus on profit for those selling “wellness” by way of health insurance policies. As of yet I have no coverage. I’m addressing this mostly by attending to practices I can do that support good health, (tai chi, vegetarian diet for the most part, alternative wellness practices, and whatever else I can round up as possibilities). I was first accepted, then turned down, by one company. The months long effort to successfully enroll in a program, the relief of success, followed by the stunning reversal and return of my first payment, left me feeling very nervous about trying further. (I was referred to a “not for profit” company for the “uninsurable” and the premiums were so outrageous given that I take no perscription meds and have no diagnosed condition requiring regular doctor care, I could not imagine paying in quite a few hundreds of $$ every month and not “using” any of my “investment”.) I did NOT “feel” the “not for profit” company truly was interested in serving me in a “not for profit” manner. So far, my understandings of what is going on in the US lead me to believe that profit is the primary concern of most health care providing companies in the US … well, each and every one of them, (not “most”), has surely got to be more accurate! I dream up a range of possibile schemes that might appeal to many in the US without triggering their anxious and sometimes angry “sore spots” about “socialism”. The best I’ve come up with so far is something that would blend corporate style delivery with grass roots participation — perhaps a cooperative insurance company. Everyone interested pools some money, those who need would draw on cooperatively pooled funds, and those who don’t need would know it is there for when they do. They would also have the satisfaction of knowing they were finding their own, citizen-based, way to coverage. They would also have the satisfaction of knowing they were directly contributing to services of their (unknown) fellow citizens. Rather than taxes being collected and turned to health care provision by a government agency, individuals could join the co-op, hire/fire their CEO’s, build modest equity, etc. In order to generate a large enough pool of funds, the coop might need to restrict coverage to critical and/or acute care – for instance, it could be focused on hospitalization and related tests for hospitalization need, as an exclusive type of coverage — at least in the beginning. I suspect it would also need to be a nation wide pool in order to draw in enough members and keep annual premiums low so that nearly all could afford the premiums. In many respects, such a co-op would function similarly to any corporation, but a true “not for profit” mission and intention would be present. To my observation, all ideas suggested by high-profile, politically involved, individuals are inspired by deep “inside the box” thinking. Aspects of what is suggested continue to have an exclusive nature (some could get coverage), and seem to hold fast to links with “for profit – BIG profit” corporate models. “Tax relief” strategies only offer relief to those whose income is high enough to benefit! “Covering all the children” has the peculiar potential scenario development of scads of healthy children whose parents have all dropped dead (early) due to lack of medical care … speaking hypothetically of course, but there is something peculiar about suggesting any single group of indivivduals is more in need of a change in what is available than other groups. ANYONE can have unfortunate developments such as a broken bone, an infection (I once had a worthy one from a spider bite of all things!), and in each and every case, individuals with these kinds of emergency situations should have immediate and full coverage until they are sufficiently treated, and are free to return to the general unfolding of their lives. Follow up visits to doctors, etc., might have to be not-covered in my envisioned “acute care for all who want to participate” coop. Part of my museful thinking on what might be possible holds steady to a “make it affordable” principle. We would fall far short of a system like the Canadian one if we were to offer ourselves “acute care only” coverage. But at least individuals with immediate, life-threatening, developments would be nursed through that crisis time. Final bit for those who may not know: The Canadian system is not all that old, grew out of conditions in the prairies in the 30’s, I believe. The individual primarily responsible for bringing it into the political/social development was a politician, and also, I believe, a Methodist minister. Compassion!!! A good place to start when designing either a new system, or repairs and alternatives for the existing one(s)! There has got to be someone , or a group of people, somewhere in this nation, with knowledge, ability, and compassion-based interest in developing alternatives that turn the focus back toward meeting real needs without trying to pile up tons of money. The thinking needs to follow questions that address how to provide service given existing and possible systems and structure. The thinking needs to strongly dis-allow “making big bucks” from any consideration. We do not have to make strong profit gains the driving force for each and every aspect of our society. There’s no requirement for us to do so! There are many professionals in the health providing system who are deeply sincere and who silently witness what they canNOT deliver due to the way things re set up. This, also, is part of the misery of the system as it exists. Believe I’ve touched base with most of what I wanted to say. Many thanks – just came across your website today.

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Trisha Torrey
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