Friday, March 26, 2010

Coloring outside my own lines

When I started this blog/diary, I told myself I didn't want to use it to write about politics - it's about my faith journey and MS. Well, I'm going to color outside my own lines, break my own "rules," and give a couple thoughts. I know people won't agree. But that's the glory of freedom of expression. And this is going to be a rare breaking of my "rules" :)

You see, it's healthcare. We needed to start somewhere. The US bill has some great things in it. It isn't socialized medicine - you can keep your healthcare as you have it now. I actually don't want socialized medicine. I was a baby in England and almost died before my parents added private insurance. My great uncle in Canada died because he did not receive follow-up screening in time. And in England, my blog friend Clare's husband is waiting 2 months for an MRI. That's ridiculous.

Reasons I like the bill:
1) Coverage for pre-existing conditions. Clearly, I have MS. I've had it for over 20 years. I have always been nervous that if I switched jobs, I could lose coverage. I have been lucky. I worked right out of college for the Mayo Clinic (non-profit) and immediately had coverage. After a few years, I moved back to Colorado and began to work for Kaiser Permanente (non-profit) and immediately had coverage. So many people are not that lucky. They may need to choose insurance called "Cover Colorado," designed for the uninsurable. It's incredibly expensive and your pre-existing conditions are still not covered for 6 months. And, interestingly enough, I utilize the system much less than some people without conditions. I am adamant about prevention, and I address any problems I have immediately. But I need coverage. And on the opinion-side, I believe healthcare is a definite right, not a choice.

2) Allowing those to remain on their parents' policies until they are 26. Bingo! There I was, 22, with MS, looking for a job. That's hard enough. Add MS. There was a lot of fear that I wouldn't get health insurance. My parents are incredibly supportive and would do anything to make sure I was covered. This clause would have alleviated a lot of the angst. So this age group is generally healthy. But young people don't know if they may wake up tomorrow and not be able to walk, be taken to the hospital, and diagnosed with MS. It's not predictable - it's a "BAM!" thing. Young people need insurance too.

3) The prescription donut hole. Very important. Take a standard long-term MS drug proven to delay progression of the disease. It's expensive. The first tiny bit is covered under Medicare. Then you're on your own for a few thousand dollars. Well, people on Medicare may be on disability, so they probably don't have a few thousand dollars on hand. So closing the gap is important.

No bill is perfect. But this is a start. And nothing had been started forever. For those who disagree, I understand. But change shoes. Are you healthy? Pretend you're the person diagnosed with MS at age 20. You have your whole life ahead of you. What are you going to do?


Clare said...

Great points. We payed for private consultation in the end. Expensive but parents payed for it.. Aren't parents great! but not all can afford to do this.
Our NHS is fine for emergencies and once your in the system it does an ok job but its getting in the system and check ups that is the problem.
We have huge debt in this country as many countries do and the NHS is under funded now and will be even more so has huge cuts are ahead, it is a worrying time here for medical care.

ms'er faith said...

Now this is very interesting to me. We get slanted views of other systems, I'd say. No system is perfect. The under-funding is scary! And yes, parents are absolutely the best! Peace.