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.



Roy Exum: Thanksgiving Eve

I don’t know who was the first to do the Famous Pregnant Turkey prank but I’ll bet you a handful of giblets there will be a lot of copycats who try it today. The trick is finding a Cornish hen that is small enough to stuff inside the larger turkey. Then you skillfully pack the bird with some of that sausage-sage dressing and put your Thanksgiving dinner in the oven. When all ... (click for more)

Thankful For Tennessee

While Christmas reigns supreme as a holiday marking the birth of our Lord, I have always felt a special connection with Thanksgiving. These days Christmas unfortunately includes ubiquitous commercialism which can distract us from the true meaning of the day. Thanksgiving stands apart from all that. This day gives us an opportunity to reflect and take stock of our many blessings.  ... (click for more)

5 Disinherited Adopted Children Of Dr. J. Don Brock May Share In Rich Estate After All

Five disinherited adopted children of the late Chattanooga businessman J. Don Brock may share in his large estate after all. After losing at the trial court and appeals court level, the plaintiffs won a victory at the Tennessee Supreme Court. Justice Cornelia Clark ruled in favor of the adopted children and remanded the case to the trial court for settlement of the estate. ... (click for more)

Walker County Asks Dismissal Of Erlanger Lawsuit Asking Court To Order New Taxes For Payment Of $8.7 Million Debt

Walker County, Ga., is asking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Erlanger Health System that asks a federal judge to order the levying of taxes to pay an $8.7 million debt. Walker County noted that new Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has imposed a special tax levy on its citizens designed to satisfy the debt. It also says that Commissioner Whitfield held several meetings with ... (click for more)

Vandy Offers Vols Last Chance To Wipe Some Misery From 2017

Tennessee’s football season from hell comes to a mind-numbing conclusion on Saturday when the limping Vols take on a crippled Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium at 4 p.m. in a game some network boob in a dark, smokey room in Birmingham, Alabama, decided was good enough to be televised by the SEC Network. Each of the longtime bitter rivals is 4-7 overall and a dismal 0-7 in conference ... (click for more)

JOHN HUNT: Thanksgiving 2017 Special As Always

I can’t believe it’s that time again.  Another year has come and gone and where did it all go? My father once told me that time really flies as you get older and I’m starting to believe him. But we’re back to one of my favorite holidays of the year – Thanksgiving – and I’m looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends.  I’m sure that I’ll eat too ... (click for more)