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Reid Says Reconciliation Likely On Health Reform

(Photo credit – Getty)

I have written previously regarding healthcare and wanted to take a moment here to post an update on the current situation, for those of you who may not be aware of the status of things at this time.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I will cite the following post from:

S E N A T U S: Daily Coverage of the United States Senate

See “About Senatus” (taken directly from that site):

Providing daily, non-partisan coverage of the U.S. Senate and the elections which determine its members. This is a private-citizen effort and is in no way affiliated with the federal government.

(Photo credit – Associated Press)

See the following post on the Senatus blog:

Reid Says Reconciliation Likely On Health Reform

According to various news reports, 20 senators have signed so far, calling on Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass the public health insurance option through “reconciliation,” which only needs a simple majority in the Senate. If your Senator is listed as “unknown” on the list below, please consider taking a moment to email or call him/her requesting he/she join the 20 Senators who have already called on Majority Leader Harry Reid, as per above:

Name – ST – Status:

  • Sen. Daniel Akaka – HI – Unknown
  • Sen. Max Baucus – MT - Unknown
  • Sen. Evan Bayh – IN - Unknown
  • Sen. Mark Begich – AK - Unknown
  • Sen. Michael Bennet - CO - Supporter
  • Sen. Jeff Bingaman – NM - Unknown
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer – CA - Supporter
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown - OH - Supporter
  • Sen. Roland Burris - IL - Supporter
  • Sen. Robert Byrd – WV - Unknown
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell - WA - Unknown
  • Sen. Benjamin Cardin - MD - Unknown
  • Sen. Thomas Carper - DE – Unknown
  • Sen. Robert Casey – PA - Unknown
  • Sen. Kent Conrad - ND - Unknown
  • Sen. Christopher Dodd – CT - Unknown
  • Sen. Byron Dorgan - ND - Unknown
  • Sen. Richard Durbin – IL - Unknown
  • Sen. Russell Feingold - WI - Unknown
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein - CA - Supporter
  • Sen. Al Franken – MN - Supporter
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand - NY - Supporter
  • Sen. Kay Hagan – NC - Unknown
  • Sen. Tom Harkin – IA - Unknown
  • Sen. Daniel Inouye - HI - Unknown
  • Sen. Tim Johnson – SD - Unknown
  • Sen. Ted Kaufman – DE - Unknown
  • Sen. John Kerry – MA - Supporter
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar - MN - Unknown
  • Sen. Herb Kohl – WI - Unknown
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu – LA - Unknown
  • Sen. Frank Lautenberg – NJ - Supporter
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy - VT - Supporter
  • Sen. Carl Levin – MI - Unknown
  • Sen. Blanche Lincoln – AR - Unknown
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill - MO - Unknown
  • Sen. Robert Menendez - NJ - Supporter
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley – OR - Supporter
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski - MD - Supporter
  • Sen. Patty Murray – WA -Unknown
  • Sen. Bill Nelson - FL - Unknown
  • Sen. Ben Nelson – NE - Unknown
  • Sen. Mark Pryor – AR - Unknown
  • Sen. Jack Reed – RI - Supporter
  • Sen. Harry Reid – NV - Unknown
  • Sen. John Rockefeller - WV - Unknown
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders - VT - Supporter
  • Sen. Charles Schumer - NY - Supporter
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen - NH - Supporter
  • Sen. Arlen Specter – PA - Supporter
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow - MI - Unknown
  • Sen. Jon Tester – MT - Unknown
  • Sen. Mark Udall – CO - Unknown
  • Sen. Tom Udall – NM - Supporter
  • Sen. Mark Warner – VA - Unknown
  • Sen. James Webb – VA - Unknown
  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse – RI - Supporter
  • Sen. Ron Wyden – OR - Unknown

    This isn’t about politics. At least it’s not for me. For some people, the issue of healthcare is a political one. For me, this is about people, about the basic human right of people to be able to obtain access to basic healthcare to meet their needs. Without reform to the very broken system currently in place in the U.S., the health insurance companies will continue to price gouge customers while providing less and less coverage and issuing more and more rejections for various services, tests, procedures, and surgeries.

    Having had my insurance reject valid claims and having filed an appeal, having had my appeal rejected and then having filed another appeal and having won… I know that insurance companies are excellent at obstructing patients’ paths to needed care, superb at hindering patients’ ability to access care that IS covered as per their contract, and masters at rejecting claims that are completely valid (in the presumed hope that patients will give up and not file appeals, thus resulting in the patient going without the needed care or paying out of pocket for it while the insurance pays nothing for it).

    These practices must not be allowed to continue. A public option will finally force competition so that health insurance companies cannot continue to bully patients the way they have become accustomed to. People who are fortunate enough to have never been seriously ill may not realize just how little the average health insurance company actually covers these days.

    ANYONE can get sick or injured and can quickly discover just how dysfunctional the current system is. No one is immune to the risk of suddenly discovering what so many people already know… that the health insurance system in the U.S. is profoundly flawed, that those lucky enough to have the flawed coverage offered by a typical health insurance company may at some point discover just how little their health insurance premiums are worth, that far too many people cannot afford access to health insurance at all, and that action must be taken to reform this system as soon as possible.

    The longer this mess drags on, the more difficult it becomes to fix and the more people suffer. After decades of talk about reforming the broken system, steps in the right direction are now visible. Every voice matters. I have been busy writing letters to Senators (not just asking for them to support the letter to House Majority Leader Harry Reid but thanking my Senators once both had signed on, to let them know I appreciate them standing up for people like me).

    If you are like me, you’re chronically ill and you are all-too-familiar with how very expensive it can be (even WITH insurance) to obtain needed healthcare.

    I am not naive enough to think that everyone reading this agrees with my perspective and I’m sure that some people reading this don’t. I am writing this post because I am passionate about healthcare access for all, I am sick to death of learning about example after example of health insurance companies making record, windfall profits while patients suffer without care or with insufficient care to meet their needs, and I am bone tired of the decades of TALK about fixing this problem without ACTION to make it happen.

    While I am fully aware that not everyone is in agreement on how to best go about addressing the numerous problems with the healthcare system as it currently exists, the stakes are too high for me not to post this plea for people to contact the Senators marked “unknown” above and request that they become supporters of calling on Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass the public health insurance option through “reconciliation”.

    Healthcare reform has been discussed for decades. I believe there will NEVER be a time when everyone agrees on how to proceed. This matter is far too complex and is attached to far too many special interest groups for there EVER to be a time when everyone will agree.

    As a chronically ill patient who almost lost my house not once… not twice… but three times due to out of pocket medical bills WITH insurance, I have witnessed firsthand how broken the current system is. Since I write a blog about chronic illness topics, I cannot stand by and watch the events unfolding without sharing my perspective.

    I don’t ask everyone to agree with me but I do ask everyone reading this to understand that I know from personal experience just how severely the currently system is stacked against so many. I have friends who have no health insurance at all. This saddens me.


    This post was written by Jeanne at http://chronichealing.com. Copyright © Jeanne — chronichealing.com. All rights reserved.


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    Reading: Reid Says Reconciliation Likely On Health Reform
  • 4 comments

    1 JasmineNo Gravatar { 02.22.10 at 7:13 pm }

    Great post, Jeanne! Thank you for writing it :)
    .-= Jasmine´s last blog ..Peaceful afternoon at Lake Cuyamaca =-.

    2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 02.22.10 at 7:18 pm }

    Jasmine,

    Thank you Jasmine! :)

    Jeanne

    3 AmandaNo Gravatar { 02.23.10 at 5:49 pm }

    Jeanne,

    This is a great post and really highlights how important healthcare is, not only for chronically ill people, but also those who are normally so fit and well, that the unexpected illness that strikes them down is also the one that makes them realise just how poor the system is when they cannot afford the care they need.

    For me it is so difficult to comprehend the way the US healthcare system works. In Britain, everybody is entitled to free healthcare at any time (we pay for dentists, medications and certain things like complementary therapies, but seeing a doctor, x-rays, operations, mammograms etc… those are all free). In fact, not only is general healthcare free, but there are also campaigns to get young people tested for chlamydia for free, family planning clinics offering free advice on contraception and free condoms etc… though we may complain about long waiting lists and the fact you have to often wait for a long time before your GP (general practitioner) will refer you to a specialist, we always know we will be cared for, whether we are rich, poor, old, young, disabled or simply suffering from a bad case of the flu.

    In fact, posts like this are crucial, because until recently I believed the US health care system was brilliant because you could just go straight to the specialist instead of waiting for referrals etc but more and more I become aware of how terrifying it must be if you do not have insurance and am appalled that a country that is one of the only remaining real superpowers in the world can treat its citizens so poorly. It’s bad enough when people in third world countries do not get the care they need, but for those living in a country with such high ideals as the US to then risk losing their homes in order to get the help they need it is just unbelievable and, in my opinion, quite disgusting.

    I am glad you posted this Jeanne, you are right – it is not about politics, it is about caring for those in need, whoever they are. I hope that things do change for the better, I really do.

    xx
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Sacred Life Sunday – Love =-.

    4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 02.24.10 at 2:51 am }

    Amanda,

    Thank you. Yes, healthcare is important for everyone. Often, people don’t realize just how important it is until they either can’t access it at all or they are under-covered and an injury, chronic illness, or some other health matter comes up that shines a spotlight on just how critical it is.

    Having everyone covered whether they are rich or poor, young or old, disabled or not, etc. is – to my way of thinking – the ethical way of doing things. Also, it doesn’t make financial sense the way things are done in the U.S. now because health insurance premiums are skyrocketing so much so that more and more of people’s income is spent on premiums (for those that can afford insurance at all) and the economy is going to continue to be impacted by this dysfunctional system until it’s fixed.

    If someone without health insurance winds up in a crisis situation (whether it be a serious injury or a chronic illness that has been left untreated so long that it becomes an emergency that could have been prevented) and ends up in the emergency room getting healthcare that is much more expensive than if preventative care had been available, then the cost of it ends up getting absorbed and passed along. So, it would be cheaper for people to get the care they need in the first place and it’s the moral thing to do as well.

    To be proactive rather than reactive would save money, result in less suffering, and be better for the economy. The percentage of bankruptcies filed that are related to medical debt is staggering.

    As far as going straight to a specialist is concerned, this is not a given in the U.S. at all. Different insurance companies have different rules and there are some cases where referrals may not be needed but generally we need referrals to see specialists just like you do. (We also have to wait to get in with specialists). There are a very large number of people without health insurance. The prospect of losing health insurance or not being able to afford it in the first place is frightening.

    According to a Gallup poll, “About One in Six U.S. Adults Are Without Health Insurance”.

    I don’t think anybody in any country should go without the healthcare they need. It really is a terrible thing.

    Thank you for your feedback and your kind words, Amanda. I hope so too. This system has been broken for far too long. I love my country and I’m grateful to live where I do. It does sadden me that the health insurance system has gotten so out of control and that so many people are suffering.

    Jeanne
    xo

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