Thursday, October 16, 2008

I hadn't thought of that.

One of my friends has a private blog, open only to readers she knows and invites. She posted a short piece the other day that made me stop and think about this election in a way I hadn't before.

My friend (I'll call her Sharon) has a daughter, Maria. Maria was born with a heart condition and, at the age of 6 months, underwent open heart surgery to correct it. Fortunately the family lived in Rochester at the time and Maria had excellent care at Mayo Clinic, which was covered by the health insurance her daddy carried through his employer.

John McCain's health plan will give families a $5,000 tax credit for health care. One possibility with his plan is that employers will decide to stop providing group coverage for their employees, leaving them to find health care for themselves and their families as individuals. This will likely make their premiums much higher. I don't know about Sharon and her husband, but our insurance with employer contribution exceeds $5K a year for our family. Under McCain's plan there is no protection for anyone with a "pre-existing condition." Insurers will be able to deny people coverage based on their health history. So it is entirely possible that Sharon's family will actually lose money AND Maria may not qualify for any type of health coverage at all.

Obama's plan will allow them to continue with the plan they have now and will ensure that Maria and kids like her (and any American with a pre-existing condition) will have access to affordable health care.

The system is broken. I don't have all the answers. But in a world where insurance companies get to call almost anything they want a pre-existing condition and thereby deny coverage, doesn't it seem reasonable to let people keep the coverage they have if it's working for them and give them access to better or more affordable coverage if they need it? To tell insurance companies it's time to stop screwing the little guy who doesn't have the resources to fight? To make sure that everyone has coverage?

Who do you know that could be denied coverage? Someone with diabetes, asthma, COPD? With Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson's or Lupus? How about migraine headaches or psoriasis? I had a DVT a year ago; I could be denied coverage on that basis alone.

It's worth considering.


  1. Have you seen the movie "Sicko?" It deals with this sort of topic, and is totally worth checking out.

  2. This post made my blood run cold.

    I have a child in exactly the same situation you describe, with need for cardiac follow up for the rest of her life. From an insurance perspective, that means one thing: high-cost specialty care, and they don't want anything to do with that if they can avoid it.

    The right outcome in this election has just taken on new urgency for me.