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Ted Kennedy’s Death And Health Care Reform

Senator Ted Kennedy has died at the age of 77.

TedKennedy

Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009

Senator Kennedy was a warrior for health care reform.

Recently, I added a twibbon to my avatar on twitter that says “I support #HCR” (#HCR is health care reform). As a general rule, I do not blog about politics. That is not what my blog is about. The reason I am blogging about Senator Ted Kennedy is that he was on a mission to get health care reform legislation passed.

As a chronically ill patient who has seen the ugly side of the health care system in the United States and personally experienced the devastating financial blows associated with the broken system, I wanted to take a moment to make note of Senator Kennedy’s strong desire for the passing of health care reform legislation. I have included some links below that demonstrate Senator Kennedy’s passion on the topic of health care reform.

‘The Cause of My Life’: Inside the fight for universal health care

“Healthcare Should Be a Right for All Americans”

The official Senate web site of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Senator Kennedy was involved with numerous pieces of legislation. Many of these were related to health. The link below lists accomplishments of all sorts but if you scan through it, you’ll see a number of health-related topics ranging from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and more.

In 1985, he led the successful fight to enact the provisions in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which today gives American workers the right to temporarily continue their employer health coverage when they lose their jobs and their insurance would otherwise end. My family has been on COBRA insurance more than once. So I have a personal appreciation for it. COBRA is what kept me insurable. Without COBRA, there would have been a break in coverage when my husband got laid off. This break would trigger the insurance companies to refuse to cover me due to pre-existing conditions. It was crucial not to have even a day break in between policies.

Accomplishments of Senator Kennedy

Do you believe there is room for improvement in the current health care system in the United States? If you do, like I do, and you have a twitter account… let me know if you’re interested in adding an “I Support #HCR” twibbon to your avatar. I’ll be happy to dig up the instructions on how to apply this to your avatar.

Ted Kennedy was a warrior for health care reform and I believe he should be remembered for his contributions to furthering the health care reform cause.

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


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Reading: Ted Kennedy’s Death And Health Care Reform

4 comments

1 Dorian aka coffeesister |_|)No Gravatar { 08.27.09 at 4:05 pm }

Indeed he should be remembered & we should honor his legacy by finally seeing healthcare reform through.. I hope to have helped convey that w/my wee tribute; http://twitwall.com/view/?what=000D040803

(|_|*cheers*|_|)
“Let us resolve that the state of a family’s health shall never depend on the size of a family’s wealth.” — Ted Kennedy
.-= Dorian aka coffeesister |_|)´s last blog ..Latest Quotationary =-.

2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 08.28.09 at 12:43 am }

Dorian,

I would like very much to see great strides made in reforming the healthcare system. There is plenty of work to be done but I believe it can be done.

As I have mentioned to you on twitter previously, my family almost lost everything due to catastrophic medical expenses. We almost lost our home because of the staggering costs associated with healthcare. The battle we went through to hang onto our house was exhausting, sad, frustrating, and downright scary. It took a great deal out of me. I still haven’t recovered from it actually. It has been awhile now… but I am really still trying to gather up my energy after all that happened during our battle to keep our home.

The bottom line is that my chronic illnesses nearly wiped out our household financially.

Not only would I like to see meaningful health care reform legislation passed as soon as possible to alleviate my own fears regarding the continued strain that upward-spiraling healthcare costs put on my family… but I would like to see such reform because I know there are millions of people out there struggling in similar ways.

While we are doing better (in my family) now than we were not too long ago, we are painfully aware how quickly and easily things could down-slide again… because my chronic illnesses haven’t vanished. Were my husband to be laid off suddenly, we could quickly find ourselves re-living the frightening journey of trying to hang onto our house and somehow managing to pay for basics like food and medicine. As much as it is tempting to look at all of that as a sad chapter in our past, the reality is that it could happen again.

Prior to my husband getting the job he has now, we were on COBRA. For those who are not familiar with how COBRA works, you pay the ENTIRE health insurance premium (quite a shock when a layoff has just occurred).

The two huge things that make can COBRA immensely important for anyone who loses insurance due to a layoff are:

1) That you do get to pay that full premium at the reduced rate the insurance company has been charging the (previous) employer. In other words, you save many hundreds of dollars per month over what you’d pay with a privately obtained policy (assuming, of course, that you could even get a privately obtained policy and that there wouldn’t be exclusions like pre-existing conditions standing in the way).

2) Your new coverage, if you sign up for COBRA, begins immediately. There is no break in coverage whatsoever. Let me put this into perspective. If COBRA didn’t exist and health insurance were suddenly terminated due to a layoff (a policy termination that almost always occurs the day of the layoff itself, which may not have been expected), then there would be a gap between that termination date and any start date of a new policy. The kicker is that any gap in coverage between the old policy and any new policy (that one might be fortunate enough to obtain) could prevent a person from even being able to actually obtain a new policy. A pre-existing condition clause could then rear its ugly head. In my case, my existing diagnoses would be used against me and my family.

It’s not hard to imagine that paying the entire premium each month is very costly. (I’m not complaining. COBRA is the only reason I am insurable to this day, despite all of my medical conditions). When my husband found a new job, it was a contract situation rather than a direct-hire one. What’s my point here? My point is that his job has no health benefits. So even though he found a job working very hard at a good company, we kept paying the COBRA (full premium) health insurance payments until it ran out this summer. (COBRA runs out 18 months after it kicks in).

At that point, we had to get creative and find another way to get insurance coverage. We managed to do that (with much effort) but it now takes an even larger chunk out of his paycheck to make the health insurance payment each month. The amount we pay for health insurance is obscene. Unfortunately, I have been hospitalized enough times over the years to know that allowing coverage to lapse would guarantee us losing our home. Even a brief lapse would make me uninsurable by the typical health insurance company. Without health insurance, losing our home would be inevitable. It would only be a matter of time. With the illnesses I have and what we’ve already been through, I have no doubt we’d lose it.

When I think about the millions of Americans who have no health insurance, it saddens me greatly. I strongly believe health care reform is needed and long overdue. Too many people are suffering as time marches on.

Jeanne

3 MimiNo Gravatar { 08.30.09 at 4:13 pm }

I am so glad you posted this. So many people have these very wrong notions of what it is the healthcare reform entails. Many people refuse to see the positive aspect of it and feed into all the negative misinformation out there. Thanks again.
.-= Mimi´s last blog ..Green Turtle Friends =-.

4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 08.30.09 at 5:20 pm }

Hi Mimi!

It’s nice to hear from you. We were overdue to connect. I think that it is unfortunate that there is confusion about what healthcare reform entails. Yes, there is negative misinformation out there, like you said. Sadly, this misinformation stands squarely in the way of desperately needed healthcare reform.

I watched several videos online last night (with a few more remaining to be watched that I haven’t gotten to yet) on the topic of healthcare reform. I found these videos interesting. Bill Moyers spoke with various people (conservative and liberal) and talked about some of the facets of this issue that don’t get prime-time news coverage but are important…

To see online videos by PBS’ Bill Moyers, click here: Bill Moyers on Health Care Reform

It pains me to see this become a partisan issue. There are many people suffering and this issue has gone unresolved for so many years. I have personally felt the sting of the dark side of the U.S. health care system as it exists today. Having almost lost our home multiple times now due to medical costs and having watched so many others suffer with this system, I am looking forward to the day when the system will get much-needed reform.

Jeanne

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