Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who's really Killing Granny?

No death panels needed, really.

Try to imagine yourself in this situation: You are 60 years old. You ran your own business for years, paid for your own health insurance, and then you had the misfortune to be diagnosed with cancer. Three times. You can't work as hard as you used to, but you can and must still work. So you find a job that covers your insurance.

And then you get fired.

Not so bad--COBRA requires that you be allowed to keep your coverage, as long as you pay for it. For 18 months. So for the past 14 months, this 59 year old cancer survivor has lived on unemployment, paid probably more than her income to remain covered, and searched for a job that will include health benefits. Not surprisingly, in this economy, the market for older, cancer-surviving, grey-haired women isn't all that hot, and so far, she hasn't found a job. If she doesn't have one in December, she will be without income and without health insurance.

She had medical bills to pay out of pocket in 2005 of $33,000, so odds are that those took a big bite out of her savings. And of course, if she was a real smart cookie, she had money in mutual funds in a 401k, but those have dropped by half for most of us, so it's pretty unlikely she can pay for private medical insurance anyhow, but with her medical history, under our current system, it's most likely that no insurance company in the country would take her at any price.

God forbid that we should have rationing. God forbid that we should have inefficient bureaucracy. Thanks heavens we have the freedom to choose our own doctors.

And if you worked all your life and have the misfortune to have a life-threatening illness before age 65, well let's hope God is on your side, because otherwise, you are on your own.

Here's the story and a picture of this woman. Look at her and think about her when you think of why our "health care system" might need a few tweaks.

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