There IS A Better Way

From CBS Evening News tonight:

Whether snowshoeing or hiking in the New Hampshire woods, [Keith] Blessington always felt great. Then he was laid off. And just as his health care benefits were about to run out, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

“They said, ‘Well we can’t insure you, it’s as simple as that,'” Blessington said.

Blessington did find coverage – for double what he had been paying.

Insurance covered most of his medical bills, which totaled more than $200,000. But he still ended up more than $70,000 in debt, and no longer able to afford the home he shares with his ailing mother.


“I’m afraid I’ll die,” said Denise Prosser. The 39-year-old can no longer afford to treat her thyroid cancer, since her husband lost his job and health insurance.

She doesn’t qualify for Medicare (“not disabled enough”) or Medicaid (her husband makes too much in unemployment). She’s not sick enough for the emergency room – yet.

The Prossers are scrambling to find charitable care.

You know what the answer is for these people?

The choice of a public health insurance plan.

CBS won’t let me embed the video so you have to go to their website to see it. But the whole time I was watching Dr. Jon LaPook’s report I was thinking, this is why we need comprehensive heath care reform with the choice of a public health insurance plan. This is why everyone should be signing on with HCAN and helping us help Obama win this fight. It’s about having a guarantee of quality, affordable health care we all can count on. It’s about having coverage when you need it most no matter what.

3 thoughts on “There IS A Better Way”

  1. I know what I think needs to be done and what progressives generally think needs to be done, precisely what you suggest.

    But I never see conservatives or libertarians address these specific cases of individuals like the ones you profile. What is their solution? Perhaps I’m not looking hard enough, but I always had the impression that John McCain thought a $5,000 tax credit would work for most people and just scratched his head regarding the tough cases. And I’ve always figured that libertarians just don’t give a damn about anyone else–survival of the fittest, or something like that. Or do the opponents of public health insurance figure that church collection plates can pay for the sickest among us?

    And why can’t progressives win this argument in the public discourse once and for all? It just seems to me that the alternative is that we’ll all know someone we care about who suffers a great deal like the people you profile, if it’s not us ourselves, because of stubborn old arguments about big government and let the marketplace settle everything.

  2. It seems so logical, right? Create a new public health insurance plan and let people decide whether they want to keep their private insurance or join the new public health insurance plan.

    People who scream “Big Government!” don’t have to go near the public health insurance plan if they don’t want. And people who can’t get affordable health coverage or care now would have a guaranteed back-up that would be there for them no matter what. And it would have standard, comprehensive benefits, and it would be affordable with cost controls because it would cut out all the excess profits and waste.

    As much as I appreciate the conviction of single-payer purists, the counter current is too strong to achieve what they advocate. However, we just did a poll that found 73% of voters want everyone to have the choice of a public health insurance plan.

    We do this campaign the right way, and we CAN win this time. I truly believe that.

    But we do need everyone who has ever had to fight with his insurance company, everyone who has ever been unable to afford health insurance, everyone who has stayed trapped in a bad job just for the benefits… EVERYONE…to get involved.

  3. Jacki said, “We do this campaign the right way, and we CAN win this time. I truly believe that.

    An interesting point from the Sunday morning talk shows, was that a company which must compete against the government would soon be eliminated as a choice.

    How do you feel about the law of unintended consequences, where government actions often have unanticipated effects?

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