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Freedom from Freedom

© Barry Deutsch

A dear friend of mine died from cancer yesterday, but his equally awful battle with his health insurance reminded me of how screwed up our health care system really is.

Pretty much everyone I know has either had a bad experience with their health insurance provider, or has a friend or family member that has had a bad experience. One of the great mysteries that I will never understand is how the health insurance industry managed to drum up enough opposition to health insurance reform to keep us from getting single-payer health insurance. Are we really just so many sheep, in thrall to corporate interests?



  1. Jason Ray wrote:

    And now the Repulicans will be submitting a budget plan that calls for eliminating Medicaid (except as block grants to states) and privitizing Medicare. While I am not excited about large government-run programs, the private health insurance industry has repeatedly proven that:

    1) They can not reduce costs
    2) They can not improve outcomes

    So why would we think turning it all over to them is a solution?

    Monday, April 4, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink
  2. Jeff wrote:

    I’m sorry about your friend.

    It’s sad that those who are condemned to the fight cancer and other deadly diseases must spend so much time and energy fighting for the money to save their lives. It is perhaps the most painful aspect of our health care system.

    Monday, April 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
  3. My sympathies.

    And the answer to the question is “yes”. We’ve been suckered.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 3:36 am | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    My condolences IK.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:13 am | Permalink
  5. Dan wrote:

    Sorry about your friend.

    and yet another “yes”

    I can tell you first hand, as someone who is self employed I would not be so without my gov plan and the VA medical system.
    Heathcare is killing us.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink
  6. Beauzeaux wrote:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend.

    I moved to Canada from California in 2004 and I’ve had occasion to sample medical system here. I’ve had two surgeries with excellent care.
    I’m a hospice volunteer here in my small semi-rural community so I see what end-of-life care is provided. I don’t know when my time might come but I’d be happy to be in the hands of the people I work with now.
    I have great sympathy for the many in the U.S. who fall through the holes in the social “safety net.”

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink
  7. Sammy wrote:

    I think stories like the one for your friend are not the exception to the rule, as I too have personal stories from close friends. Change is hard for people. Radical change is even harder. (I almost didn’t use the word “radical” because of recent connotations.) It’s hard for people to make a change. And it’s even harder when those with huge monetary interests pound the airwaves with non-stop propaganda.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  8. Sammy wrote:

    And the one thing that held me back from taking a stab at my own business? Health insurance.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    I often work with startups and people who want to start new companies, and the health insurance situation is a major factor holding people back.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  10. Freddie wrote:

    I’m so sorry about your friend.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of so many of us being “sheep.” It was far more a matter of a few Senators and Congressmen standing in the way, and I can’t imagine it was difficult at all for the insurance industry to “persuade” them not to support a single payer system. I am self-employed and pay for my own health insurance. I also have a pre-existing condition. As you can probably imagine, my health insurance premiums are through the roof.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 6:33 am | Permalink
  11. Don wrote:

    A rant from the best member of the Senate. Takes 11 minutes, but well worth the time.

    A good friend of ours locally has just had her insurance reject payment for surgery because they claim it’s prophylactic. In other words, they would rather pay for treatment after the suspected cancer is more advanced. She’s going ahead with the surgery because she has the means to. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not wealthy. She realizes she’s fortunate to be able to cover the costs because the surgery isn’t that expensive. It may even cost less than she and her husband pay in premiums.

    I agree with Sammy that stories such as that of our mutual friend, IK, as well as my friend aren’t the exception. They happen far to frequently. I have what I believe to be fairly good health plan as part of my pension, yet I’ve been forced to change drugs because the insurance thought the one the doctor prescribed was too expensive. I’ve had to fight to get them to pay claims for treatment because they couldn’t even read their own policy correctly (took six months, but they finally relented).

    Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink