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Healthcare: Which Way Should I Go?

Two weeks ago, I was in Washington, DC with the Better Health team, listening to people talk about voting down government health care.

Last week, I was in Chicago at BlogHer, part of a lunch meeting with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison, listening to women at BlogHer talk about passing the government health care bill.

And I have now just entered the land of confusion.

Valerie Jarrett spoke with a room full of bloggers about health care, but she also listened.  She listened while women told their personal stories and she seemed to understand that health care situations aren't as simple to solve as we'd like them to be. Women candidly told their stories and a few tears even slipped out.  But she listened intently.  And she said she wanted to give a voice to those who might not speak up for themselves.

"Often the people who need it the most don't speak up because they don't feel like they have a voice. Give the grass roots a voice, empower them, work together informing people within their communities. You can work to help them get their voice, get info that they don't have."

Valerie Jarrett

This lady is important.  Her cell phone rang several times during our lunch (it could have been THE PRESIDENT, for crying out loud) and she had her assistant take the call so she could focus on us.  She handed out her card and scheduled phone calls between some bloggers and her staff to help with the specific health issues that these bloggers were dealing with.  Sure, for them it was a matter of being in the right time at the right place, but she really listened.  I've never sat in a room before with a member of high political influence who paid attention to the people more than the information on her cell phone or in her planner.  (Maybe that means I've been in the room with the wrong politicians?)

It was a remarkable experience, and the room was electric with hope.

And now I'm even more confused about this health care issue.  I want insurance coverage, I want good coverage, but I don't want to be excluded due to my pre-existing condition.  I can't find a happy mental medium with this, but I know there has to be a way for people like me to find health coverage despite diabetes. 

With that thought, I'm off to the Joslin Clinic in Boston, with my pregnant best friend in tow, to immerse myself in the best that health care has to offer.  And I hope that whatever decision made by our government leaves me with access to the people I need to help manage my care.

Comments

Good luck at Joslin! I know all your hard work is going to pay off!

Yes, this is a tough issue. Especially for those of us that may have health insurance at this time. While I completely support doing away with pre existing condition discrimination and having to pay outrageous COBRA premiums, there are other aspects I do worry about in regards to healthcare. Will our great doctors leave? We have a lot of great doctors who come here from other countries because of our healthcare system. Will those of us who are insured loose some of the benefits that we enjoy? Will our deductibles go up? Will our coverage go down? Talk is prescription coverage right now at 80% could go down to 60% or 50% coverage to recoop costs. It's a very fine line. And one that I hope we'll have a say in once all the issues are worked out.

Anything is better than what we have. Most people do not realize this, but as part of a team of cancer care providers I do. Patients are at the mercy of a private sector, corporate, profit demanding HMO who demand pre-approval for all tests, treatment etc. This is not the forum to vent all my concerns, but I will say that our medicare patients never have a problem. In fact, in a completely business sense, we would rather treat a medicare patient than one from an HMO

wow I just got through leaving a comment on another blog about this very thing . I say that all in all talking is good . But talk is all that it is ,is talk . I think if our president really wanted to make a change he would do away with the FDA and the IRS. Put these people that work for these depts in other depts first off ,so they dont loose their jobs . I think the FDA is part of the problem because they allow the pharmacies to charge 9.00 for a pill that take .20 to make . I and many millions of americans are walking around uninsured cause we simply cannot afford health care and we work so we are told we dont qualify for free or reduced cost health care . wow I make too much money first time I thought that in my life . sorry but I think our government could care less about our millions of americans walking around w/o insurance .

This is a hard issue and I am torn about it for many reasons. One thing I know for sure is don't let your government decide what is best for you....whatever you feel is best call your senator and tell him/her what is best for you! Let's just hope they respect the population they are representing!

Yes, I know what you mean. Currently, we have EXCELLENT insurance coverage for my diabetes care - I have a pump and a CGMS (newly aquired) and have not had to pay a single penny out of pocket this year for anything. But, if my husband ever changes jobs, what will happen? Who knows? That is the ONLY thing, I think, that makes socialized health care attractive to me. Otherwise, I keep thinking about the fact that the money to pay for g'ment health care will have to come from SOMEWHERE. Are we going to borrow more from China? Are taxes going to be raised? Is some other important g'ment program going to suffer in order for this to work? Too many question marks.

More than anything, the actual costs of healthcare need to be reassessed and private health insurance needs a big overhaul. I don't think the FDA or the IRS need to be disbanded - the IRS is how our g'ment gets the money to function, hello - the FDA maybe needs to be examined more closely. Lots of issues that need to be figured out and there is not going to be one answer that satisfies absolutely everyone, unfortunately.

Kerri,

No one knows exactly what is going to come out of the House & Senate regarding healthcare reform, but we DO know the following:

1 - Fear, uncertainty and doubt, the so-called FUD factor will be employed by the folks who have something to lose/gain.

This means that you will hear horror stories about "socialized medicine" on the one hand (can you say Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, O'Reilly and company?)

You will also hear horror stories about how the insurance and drug companies are EVIL, profit is EVIL, etc.

2 - SOMETHING is going to be done.

3 - Since this will be the first iteration, it WILL be UGLY.

4 - So-called "Private Insurance" will REMAIN in place. There may be "easier, lower cost options" available to those not covered by employer based plans.

Some drug companies may lower the price of some drugs.

5 - There will be new taxes to partially fund health care.

What can YOU do as a "blogger extraodinaire"?

As always, be reasoned. Let your readers in on facts, call out those who are spreading FUD.

We should all let our political reps know that you support a reasoned, take it slow approach. That you will support politicians who ARE NOT on the FUD bandwagon. They will reply with aggravating form letters, but maybe after enough messages get to them they may hear us even of the form letter does not change.

Fair Winds,
Mike


Oh and here is one thing I forgot to add in the category of wishful thinking.

Congress should make themselves subject to the healthcare laws that they pass.

This is a tough issue. Chronic conditions like diabetes (either type) cost health insurance companies significantly. In theory, a nationalized health system could help spread those costs around a bit and ensure that people who have conditions like diabetes receive appropriate care. But what will be deemed "approrpriate" care will be held to extreme scrutiny. For example, will the government cover a CGM? I would hope so, as tigheter control on BSLs means less money down the road, but it is unsure where the costs will be cut from. Right now, many people with diabetes cannot get CGMs through their insurance.

I would HOPE that with a national health plan, the government would be more concerned about the long-term costs of health conditions. Currently, insurance companies bank on you leaving them (because you change jobs or lose your job) at some point, so they really don't care about your long-term health. They figure that by the time you experience diabetes-related complications, you will be under Medicare or some other company. However, if the government will ALWAYS be the insurer, they will have every reason to be concerned about what your costs are down the road, because they will be paying for them. I would hope that this would incentize them to really pay for and push the preventative stuff, the CGMs, close monitoring, and nutrition counseling.

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