Healthcare hearing conclusions
July/August 2006

At the July 8 hearing Candi Churchill, Amy Coenen and Chad Hood volunteered to present conclusions based on people's testimony. The following list was compiled by Chad Hood.

  1. Health care is a crisis for the insured, not just the uninsured. The overwhelming majority of testifiers actually have insurance, or had it when their illness began, but suffer from ever-increasing costs (especially those on COBRA and individual policies), interference with their medical care, and hassles and unjustified denials from their insurance company.
  2. Those that need medical coverage the most usually cannot get it. Participants described multiple medical conditions that make insurance either unaffordable (since the person often cannot work) or impossible (because of pre-existing conditions).
  3. The cost of health insurance is out of control­. We're going into debt just to pay for health care. Contrary to pundits and commentators who berate Americans for not saving enough of our hard-earned money, many people testified that they had to take out mortgages (or second mortgages), run up credit cards, or file for bankruptcy to pay for medical bills that should have been covered by the insurance we've paid into for years and years. Proposed Health Savings Accounts will likely only make this situation worse.
  4. Our current patchwork of medical coverage does not work. There are multiple plans for specific groups (Medicare, Medicaid, CHOICES, etc.) that provide good care, but with complicated rules and extensive eligibility requirements too many people still are not eligible for any of these plans or get kicked off them when they still have no way to buy insurance that will cover them.
  5. Health care in other countries is high-quality, easy to get, and affordable. Contrary to myths (perpetuated by insurance companies), numerous participants described hassle-free care in other countries, and incredibly cheap medications and care, in contrast to what we have here. Some even preferentially seek care outside of the United States. Countries mentioned included Scotland, Canada, Cuba, Finland, England, China and Tunisia.
  6. Insurance is tied to our jobs. Several people testified about making big family and financial decisions based on whether or not we can keep our job-based insurance. We are working longer into our lives to keep our insurance. People testified about getting married or not staying married to preserve job-based benefits. One person's parents got divorced so her father could get on Medicaid for a serious stroke condition. Health insurance also drives up costs for employers and consumes negotiations for unions.
  7. Insurance companies are making medical decisions instead of our doctors. Testifiers described frustration, improper care, suffering, and even death because of insurance company interference in our health care.
  8. Insurance companies should cover all of our medical needs, including pre-existing conditions. People repeatedly cannot get health care for the very things that they need to take care of. Important dental and mental health conditions are often not covered. "Pre-existing conditions" are excluded from coverage by insurance companies. Sometimes insurance companies use earlier tests or treatment as evidence of a pre-existing condition and refuse us care. (In one case, allegedly high cholesterol was used as an excuse not to cover a heart condition. When the patient pointed out a test where her cholesterol was normal, the insurance company said she must've taken something to lower it.)
  9. Health Care is more expensive because of insurance company profits. Insurance companies make money off denying care--many people testified about care being denied even though they paid premiums every month. Insurance companies also refuse to cover sick people. Group plans are cheaper than individual plans because there's a larger risk pool. A national health insurance plan would expand that pool to everyone and eliminate insurance company profiteering.

previous article [current issue] next article
Search | Archives | Calendar | Directory | About / Subscriptions |

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional eXTReMe Tracker