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Citizens' Health Care Working Group

Health Care that Works for All Americans

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It's Up To You

What's next in the national discussion about our health care? This is your chance to be part of an important debate. Use the resources of this web site to learn about our health care system.

What happens next, depends on you.

Citizens' health care experiences:

We respect your privacy. All comments will be displayed anonymously.

SUBMIT your own experiences or complete our poll.

Go to current Shared Experiences page, or read entries from other months: July 2006; June 2006; May 2006.

Shared Experiences, April 2006
icon - man speakingApril 28, 2006:

Last Saturday at 3am, I got a call from my 21 year-old daughter. She was crying and in obvious pain. Walking home with a friend, she'd been goofing off and fallen on her face on the sidewalk. Her chin was cut to the bone and she had broken at least two teeth. Despite the pain and the profuse bleeding, what she feared most was going to the emergency room with no health insurance. My 23 year-old son (also with no health insurance) worked on ski patrol at a resort this past winter. His first call was to aid a snowboarder who'd hit a tree. On arriving at the scene he found that it was a friend his age and she was in terrible pain with a back injury. Despite her pain and the potential seriousness of her injury, the young woman begged them not to call an ambulance because she had no health insurance.

By far the largest group of uninsured in America are those between 18 and 24 years of age. While 16% of all Americans have no health insurance coverage, 28% of those between 18 and 24 years of age are totally without coverage. That is almost 1 in 3 of our children. This group is also the fastest growing of those without health insurance. Too old to be covered by their parents' policies, our children are learning that fewer and fewer employees can afford to cover new hires. The result is a rapidly expanding bulge in the uninsured. (Submitted 3/18/06)

icon - man speakingApril 27, 2006:

When we were volunteering at a NWR, I could only access an ER, not a private doctor, because I was out of my home state. In one case, the ER was useless - I had something in my eye and the ER did not have the equipment needed. A local optometrist did, at 1/4 the cost. Needless to say, the ER charged me for what they could not do. When I was a teen, I'd go to the local pharmacist for cinders in the eye. Now, everyone is afraid of being sued and a primary care physician can't even handle simple things like that. My husband is old enough to have Medicare. He has so many more options nationally. Last year he was diagnosed with lung cancer (40 years non-smoker) and was able to get the best care available in the nation. The local doctor kept saying 'Wait and see", while the MSKCC surgeon found the cancer and removed it surgically. If it were me, I'd have had to either settle for incompetent local care or pay for everything myself. (Submitted 4/19/06)

icon - man speakingApril 26, 2006:

I am an ER RN, and so have a different perspective than many people. I have seen too many people who are uninsured, or under insured that cannot find a doctor to assume primary care, so they use the ER to receive it. They come in, by ambulance for medication refills. That is at the expense of the people who are also struggling to afford health care. (Submitted 4/19/06)

icon - man speakingApril 25, 2006:

Since I had polio when I was 13, I have a severe disability so I was unable to work. We paid a high amount for private insurance and had high medical bills besides. So there was no money left for a pension plan. My husband worked two jobs until he was 45. We had insurance through his work starting in 1983. Last year we paid over $7,000 in premiums and had co-pay for medications of $60.00. The company he works for has dropped all insurance coverage on all their workers as of 2006 because they cannot pay the high premiums. My husband is still working at age 72 because the high cost of my medications. Even though we have Medicare and a med-a-gap, the Medicare Part-D is costing us almost more then it is worth. I run a support group and hear terrible stories about people going without health care and suffering because of not being able to get treatment. (Submitted 4/19/06)

icon - man speakingApril 24, 2006:

Having private insurance, it has been easy for me to access good health care and required me to have a certain level of personal responsibility in our health care decisions. I have always worked and have chosen jobs that guaranteed health care coverage. This has been a welcome and reasonable sacrifice for there were times that I could have or needed to work part-time but didn't because I was motivated to maintain insurance for myself and our children. As a general rule, I have received good health care as my children have. Again, it took time, money and energy to do what the health care provider advised and we are all healthy today even with one child surviving cancer. We were able to accomplish this through grace firstly and by commitment to be a contributing member of a free society. (Submitted 4/12/06)

icon - man speakingApril 21, 2006:

I worked for 30+ years, paying into the health system that whole time. I was permanently disabled 10 years ago. The Medicare system was fair to me until more medication became necessary. Because of the lack of prescription coverage, and the increasing costs of that medication, I am $20,000 in debt. I thought that the new Medicare Part D program would help me. Because of the complexity and the irrationational exclusions, this program is virtually worthless for me. I am holding on by a very thin line right now. I cannot receive Medicaid benefits because of a few dollars on the income chart. I am being unfairly punished, and on the road to bankruptcy. The current system is simply unfair to those people who have worked hard and tried to do the right things. (Submitted 4/12/06)

icon - man speakingApril 20, 2006:

We are a retired couple; me through disability. Medigap insurance for the two of us costs $684 a month. The last increase was quite significant. If such increases continue, we will not be able to afford Medigap health insurance. There MUST be some caps or controls on costs for medical services and how much insurance companies can charge. (Submitted 4/11/06)

icon - man speakingApril 19, 2006:

Everyone refers to the insured and the uninsured. I fall into the category of the underinsured, I guess. I have an individual insurance policy (which covers only me). For that, I pay $354.50 a month in premiums, and the policy has a $2,000 annual deductible. So, I pay almost $7,000 a year before my insurer will then pay 80% of costs. In the last 5 years, my premium has increased almost 45% each and every year over the prior year. There is no protection for anyone who has an individual policy; they have no bargaining position; they have to pay whatever the insurance company wants them to pay. In my state, there are 218,000 people with individual policies with my insurer alone, but there is no way to let us group together to get group rates; everyone fends for themselves. Also, please note, the last few years I have not gone in for my "annual" exams (i.e. mammogram or pap). They have become every other year simply because I cannot afford them.

So, for me, the affordability issue has now influenced my preventative care and I'm bypassing it. Having a colonscopy is not even in the picture. I used to be a small business owner; therefore, I have had an individual policy for the last 20 years. I currently do not work and I am not able to collect Medicare for a few more years. So, I am spending my retirement funds on health care. My retirement funds are not that great, but I own my own home. That keeps me from being eligible for low-income subsidies. However, it is leaving me in a position that I will not have retirement funds to help support my Social Security payments. I need to decide which is more important to me -- retirement or health. All I know is, I can't have both. (Submitted 4/10/06)

icon - man speakingApril 18, 2006:

"In general, I have had good experiences in getting health insurance (Medicare + supplement) and in care. I had prostate cancer, had a radical prostatectomy, and resulting loss of erectility function. None of the low cost treatments worked. I was offered a prosthetic device, which struck me as unreasonably expensive. I would not feel right about asking the government to pay for what is a desirable but not essential treatment." (Submitted 4/8/06)

icon - man speakingApril 17, 2006:

"My employer provides health care for "significant others", even if unmarried. This is a great perk at my job, that my boy friend is able to get affordable health care under my plan. I haven’t had any problems with the health care system personally; however, I feel that all people have the right to have health care since we are all humans, especially children."

"My younger sister does not have health care since she is too old to be on her mother's plan and isn't working full-time at one job. Neither is she a full-time student. But she does work 40 hours a week and goes to school on Saturdays. Being a productive person who is contributing to the economy and future of our country should entitle her to basic health care, but sadly, that's just not the case.” (Submitted 3/21/06)

Read Shared Experiences from other months:
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006.


We respect your privacy. All comments will be displayed anonymously.