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.

Why Greg Martin Is The Best Choice For District 3

I cannot fathom electing Joe Smith for County Commission District 3. The support Joe Smith has received from Councilman Chris Anderson and other leading local Democrats is great cause to distrust his intentions.  Greg Martin is the GOP nominee for District 3, and frankly, he has an outstanding record of elected service in Hamilton County. I would describe Greg Martin as ... (click for more)

Joe Smith Will Bring Sanity To The County Commission

What in the world is going on in the County Commission room on the fourth floor of the Hamilton County Courthouse?  “If you don't vote for me I won't vote for you" - or-  “I want to take back my vote for the chairman.”  Seemingly back door agreements being made in from the sunshine. Our County Commission needs a peacemaker, a counselor, a consensus builder, and ... (click for more)

Atlantic Capital Bank, Formerly FSG Bank, Moves Home Office To Warehouse Row

Atlantic Capital Bank, NA announced Friday that it has sold the current home office at 531 Broad St. to Harbert Realty of Birmingham, for  $5,375,000.  The bank’s new home office signals the start of a brand transition from the FSG Bank name, currently found in its eastern Tennessee and northwest Georgia markets.  Atlantic Capital will occupy the third floor ... (click for more)

TDEC Asks Residents In Southeastern Counties To Limit Water Usage To Ease Drought Conditions

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is asking the public to temporarily limit water usage for non-essential purposes as areas in Tennessee’s southeastern counties face extreme drought conditions. Residents who receive water from the following public utilities are advised to limit their use until drought conditions subside: Fall Creek ... (click for more)

CPA Blanks CCS, 1-0, in A-AA State Soccer Semis

MURFREESBORO - The scoring opportunities were few for both teams, but Christ Presbyterian used a shot and a deflection off a defender for a 1-0 win against Chattanooga Christian in an A-AA state semifinal match here Thursday at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex. District 12 player of the year Sarah Sievertsen scored the winning goal in the 54th minute as the Lions advance ... (click for more)

DeBord Happy To Have Kelly, Hurd In Vols' Backfield

Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Larry Scott spoke reporters at Wednesday's press conference in the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio. No. 18 Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) takes on South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC) on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium with a 7:15 ... (click for more)