Friday, September 4, 2009

This Shouldn't Happen in America

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A reader wrote this week about her health care. She is the daughter of a late and old, old friend of mine. I’d like you to read what she says. It tears at my heart. This shouldn't happen in America. I have edited this note to remove some personal, identifying items.

"About 9 weeks ago, Charlie, I found out I was very ill. I’m afraid it’s cancer.... I’m only 41 and I didn’t expect anything like this while I’m still so relatively young. I have begun chemo-therapy on a regular basis.

"I was pretty shocked to find out that my insurance covers only about 80 percent of the costs of the treatment and medicines.... It’s very taxing on me to cover the other 20 percent and I’ve had to dip into my savings. Now I learned my company is letting me go and I will be on short-term disability payments for the next 90 days. After that, I will have no income and no insurance because I will not be able to afford the premium payments....

"I have a lovely daughter who is inviting me to move in with her. She lives in a one bedroom apartment near the city. Her idea is that we will sell my house and use those funds to cover my medical expenses over the next few years. If I do survive this, it will mean that I will face my senior years with no savings and nothing to fall back on. Thank God for my daughter. What would I do if it wasn’t for her?...

"I’m not asking for pity. That’s not why I’m telling you this. I just wanted to confirm some of the things you’ve been writing about lately. We don’t have a very good or very fair health care system in this country.

"I felt your anger as you wrote about health insurance in America. I’ve appreciated your comments. I share your anger. It just doesn’t seem fair that the whole world can come crashing down on us just because we get sick."

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