Why Preserve The Current Health Care System?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

This is personaI. If you’re a Republican I want to know why you think it’s worth shutting down the U.S. government to destroy Obamacare and maintain a totally dysfunctional health care system. But more than that, I want to know what you have against my family.

My brother died three weeks ago. He didn’t have health insurance. Apparently he wasn't sick enough and poor enough to qualify for TennCare, the Tennessee version of Medicaid, but he was too poor and too sick to buy “normal” health insurance. Several times during a long illness he got sick enough to need hospital care. Since he wasn’t insured all they did was patch him up and send him home. Repeatedly. Until he collapsed and they couldn’t patch him up and he died. His funeral was on my 58th birthday.

He got just enough medical attention to keep him alive for a while, tens of thousands of dollars of it. Since he wasn’t insured there’s no one to pay his medical bills except all of us, in higher insurance costs, higher hospital bills and  taxes. If he’d lived another few months he’d have been able to get insurance. It might not have saved his life, but his bills would have been paid. 

My daughter has breast cancer. She does have health insurance through her school, but she’s a college student and the coverage she can afford is lousy. Her mother and I help, but our finances aren’t that great either, so my daughter is having a fundraiser to help pay her deductibles and co-pays. Since she’s not in eminent danger of dying, the threat is to stop her chemotherapy three-quarters of the way through and to cancel her surgery if she can’t pay.

Then there’s me. I have a “pre-existing condition” so in the old system I can’t get health insurance in the normal market. I had employee-sponsored health insurance all my working life until the company I worked for collapsed a few years ago. Now I’m self-employed and I’m on my own. In Florida I go into a “high risk” insurance pool so I get a chance to buy insurance for about $1,100 a month. In some other states I couldn’t buy insurance at all. This because I have a condition that a $130 a month prescription controls.  My situation isn’t tragic, but I’m very much looking forward to having a choice of insurance plans that I might be able to afford.

If I was working for minimum wage $1,100 would be more than my monthly net income. Medicaid could help, if the Florida legislature hadn’t turned down the federal Medicaid funding that’s part of Obamacare

If you support the Republicans in Congress, the only alternative you offer to Obamacare is to say “No” and maintain the old system. The United States spends more tax dollars on health care per person than any other country in the world, and more private money as well. The old system let my brother die and makes my daughter stage a fundraiser for her tumor. This is the “health care” system you want to preserve?

Tell me why. 

Frank Greene
St. Elmo and Inlet Beach, Fla.


Mark Siedlecki Will Run A Fair, Efficient Assessor's Office

As a 21-year-old student, it might be easy for my elders to assume that I don’t pay much attention to politics. Most people my age don’t vote in even the presidential election, let alone local races. And as someone who is not originally from Chattanooga, it might also be easy to assume that I am less invested in this city. But all of that could be further from the truth. This election ... (click for more)

Why We're Voting For Kathy Lennon

Why would someone want to run for elected office in today’s highly abrasive political environment? Why would someone be willing to subject themselves to the possibility of personal attacks, smear campaigns and unbelievable distortions of the truth that we see on an unprecedented scale across all political spectrums?  In regards to Kathy Lennon, candidate for Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Morning Fire Destroys Vacant Valleybrook House; 2 Firefighters Suffer Burns

Fire destroyed a vacant house in the Valleybrook Community early Thursday morning. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 5:35 a.m. and responded to a reported fire at the Valleybrook Golf and Country Club off Hixson Pike. When the first firefighters from Station 19 arrived on the scene, they could not find the fire. Lt. Scott Sheets with Quint 19 said that ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Whiskey Company To Construct Large Distillery At Former Site Of Newton Chevrolet

The Chattanooga Whiskey Company has begun construction on a larger production distillery in the former Newton Chevrolet property at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Riverfront Parkway near the Tennessee River. Once fully operational, the Riverfront Parkway facility will be capable of producing upwards of 14 (53-gallon) barrels per day, making it one of the largest craft bourbon ... (click for more)

Williams Hired To Lead Restart Of Owls Boys' Basketball

Jay Williams has been hired as Ooltewah’s head boys’ basketball coach, a program rocked by a rape scandal last December that eventually led Hamilton County School officials to disband the varsity team and cancel more than half its schedule. Williams, who has strong ties to Ooltewah High School, previously coached at LaFayette School and Northwest Whitfield high schools in Northwest ... (click for more)

TSSAA Sets Future Division I, Division II Classifications

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has released the minutes from Wednesday’s meeting in Hermitage pertaining to football classification period for the 2017-18 and run through 2020-2021 1.  Roll Call 2.  Division I and Division II Classification The Board of Control voted the following for the classification period that ... (click for more)