Why We Need Healthcare Reform

Mail to the Editor

Dear friend!

My enthusiasm, as you call it, stems from the fact that I’m now disabled because appropriate treatment was declined by my Medical Group, just because it had to be performed by a specialist.
The initial treatment requested by my primary physician was a simple laser session that would have saved my eye and cost $1500.  Instead, I went through nine surgeries and lost my eye.  Do the math!  

I fought Blue Cross more to bring attention than for reparation.  Following my complaint to the state of California, my file ended up on the desk of a Blue Cross paralegal. A lady swamped in cases like mine- often with worse outcomes, like death.  If I’m acting so intensively, it’s because what happened to me, along with thousands of others in this country, would have never happened with the Universal system in France. It is unthinkable.  I’m not fighting for me anymore – it’s too late. But I will never give up, hoping to prevent kids and adults from being denied care. It happens to too may people, and has for a long time.

The French system does not insert intermediaries between you (the patient) and a Doctor or a specialist. A doctor is often recommended by word of mouth. If you aren’t happy you change, and you are covered regardless, no questions asked.  French hospitals are state of the art.  You can stay as long as you need without paying a penny.  Premature discharge is the responsibility of the patient. If something happens, the doors are open to readmission, one will be treated, and covered. But, in this case, suing the hospital for malpractice is not an option.  Deductibles or premiums do not exist. You shall never pay for prescription drugs and they cost a third of what we are paying here for the same drug.
How does anyone on Medicare dare to criticize a public plan, when they are enrolled in one? They are blinded by scare tactics.  In reality if a Public Plan is rejected, in five years Medicare will change dramatically for the worse. And all that your friends and family are afraid of are going to materialize. They would had created their own demise by ignorance, by swallowing lies, by listening to the wrong voices.

How do the French pay for this? When you work, Social Security is deducted from your paycheck as a percentage- let’s say it is 10% (not precise, I’ve been in the US since ’94), with an employer participation. The mechanism is not essentially different than what we know in the US. The effects are very different French enjoys benefits throughout life. To have this basic right we have to pay additional contributions to the private sector.
In France, money for health is not recycled in the capitalist mechanism. Money that touches the life or death of citizens is not used to make others richer. It is also a matter of human decency to avoid being denied proper care.

When some folks are saying: “I refuse to work to pay for others”, what do they believe they are doing? Anyone employed (including self-employed/independent contractors) pays into Social Security, which goes to current retirees, and we hope there will be something left when we retire.  In fact, when our time will come, the money will be gone. Everybody knows that- government, insurance and pharmaceutical industries alike.

It is puzzling that Americans are allowing a few of us to roll the dice on the life of so many. Let’s face it, with some luck my eye could have survived the five weeks delay due to the loss of my referrals, an “administrative failure”, as the Medical Board of California concluded. Maybe even survived the “refusal of care by a retinal specialist”. I could have contested it following a 72 hour expedited procedure, but my eye collapsed before. I lost out big time. Money-wise BC spent more than 150K, multiplied by the number of cases similar to mine. It’s astronomical. But they can take it, they make so much more. Do you know that between 2000 and 2007, combined profits for 10 of the country’s largest publically traded insurance companies rose 428 percent ?

Think about all those who are uninsured. A big chunk of them are working. They would pay for health insurance if they were convinced they weren’t getting in line for higher deductibles, higher premiums and restricted care. This is money nobody has now. This is money that should be accounted along with the savings from outrageous excess, that must stop if Medicare and other Public programs are to continue.

Right now, in the name of profit, what we pay through our private insurance is not what we get. If the care we get is $100, hospital will billed $200, because they know that the insurance is going to cover half of it. So half of $200 is $100, better than $50, right? Even fake accounting is banalized, creating a situation that sucks money from the entire system including Medicare and Medical.

I have reached a point where I don’t care if I expose my condition, if it prevents others from being mutilated by a Health system tailored to needs of the healthy and the wealthy. So be it!

Published by Global Reportage©09

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