Why Preserve The Current Health Care System?

Tuesday, October 01, 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.


EPA Overreach Jeopardizes Jobs And Increases Energy Prices

The latest round of regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency are difficult to rationalize. The EPA’s planned greenhouse gas rules will jeopardize low-cost electricity relied upon by local governments, small businesses, farmers and manufacturers – a regulation whose impact will be felt by much more than just energy producers and utility companies – but throughout the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Lamenting ‘The Last Day’

I wasn’t at Fenway Park yesterday but I know what happened. Yes, it was No. 2’s last game of a great career, and more Yankees fans than usual were packed into Boston’s holy ground to see Derek Jeter’s swan song. But what I know happened has become an almost sacred rite, when towards the final out of the last game of the season Red Sox radio announcer Joe Castiglione will read a ... (click for more)

Witnesses In 17-Year-Old Murder Case Say They Saw Hollingsworth Threaten, Mistreat Wife

Two potential witnesses in a 17-year-old murder testified Monday that they saw Adolphus Lebron Hollingsworth threaten and mistreat his wife Vicky before she disappeared in 1997. Hollingsworth, who is under $200,000 bond, is set for trial on Nov. 4. Orville Hughes said he lived around the corner from Vicky when he was on Chamberlain Avenue and they were on Duncan Avenue. ... (click for more)

Family Makes Treasure Trove Of Early Chattanooga Photographs Available For Book; Stokes Collection Has Been Passed Down To Descendants

A treasure trove of Chattanooga photographs that have been passed down in the Stokes family for generations has now been assembled in an upcoming book. Chattanooga Around The Turn Of The Century: The Remarkable Stokes Collection will be published by Chattanoogan.com. Pre-orders are now being taken for the book, which includes over 700 photos on large-size pages. Publisher ... (click for more)

Baylor Impressive In Volleyball Sweep Of Signal Mountain

Baylor coach Sarah Lail paused briefly before saying that she's seen her Lady Red Raider volleyball team play better than they did on Monday, but they did just about everything right as they celebrated Senior Night with an impressive 3-0 victory over the Signal Mountain Lady Eagles. It was a meeting of two of the top three teams in Chattanooga -- too bad that Ooltewah couldn't ... (click for more)

Basketball, Wrestling Mocs Host Ball N' Brawl

It’s party time in the Scenic City. Chattanooga’s team is sending some of its best to close down 3rd Street on Friday, October 10, for Ball N’ Brawl. This inaugural event features the men’s and women’s basketball programs along with the wrestling team. “This was an idea coaches Heath Eslinger (wrestling) and Will Wade (men’s basketball) came up with,” Director of Marketing and ... (click for more)