Wednesday, October 22, 2008



By Kevin Stoda

I am 46 years old and I have suffered from chronic illnesses for over two decades. On at least five occasions I have decided to go abroad to live (or have decided to extend a year or two living abroad) to get better health care than what a young single man in America can get, i.e. in terms of health care in America. This has historically been due to the rules permitting insurance companies in the past to not allow for pre-existing conditions.

This is ridiculous! (America needs to take care of its own better.)

This idea of having to go abroad to get health coverage can extend to family members suffering illnesses, too. It is heart rending when you consider how many husbands and wives (or sons or daughters) have joined the military or national guard to support loved ones due to health care issues in their own families.

Specifically, illnesses in the family have put the family on financially shaky grounds and some Americans seek jobs elsewhere on the planet to help pay off family debt or to pay down related costs as extended family falls short of cash due to health care related financial stress and bankruptcies. (I have met an Egyptian national in Kuwait who had served with the U.S. in Iraq and he swore that every American there was working to pay down a mortgage or other debt.)


HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW is a non-profit organization concerned with this matter of better health care in the USA today. They wrote me recently and stated: “The insurance industry is pushing for less regulation. They want more leeway to drop people with pre-existing conditions and deny you care. Today, people around the country are standing up and calling Congress to stop them. . . .With health care costs rising and wages falling, causing one bankruptcy every nineteen seconds, it's clear any solution to America's economic crisis has to include health care reform. Even if you've called your Members of Congress before, please do so again.”

According to the HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW advert, “For months now the insurance industry has been on tour, pushing for more industry-friendly policies. And even though massive deregulation is what caused the current financial crisis that threatens our economy, the insurance industry wants more deregulation so they can take more of your money and give you less in return. The industry has said that they are fundamentally against the real solutions we need: A guarantee of quality, affordable health care for everyone in America. So today across America, we're engaging all of our partners and supporters to have thousands of people call Congress and demand real health care reform. The insurance industry has made it clear where they stand, but do your Members of Congress know where you stand?”
Here is the list of 109 congressmen that HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW claim are supporting their demand—rather, our American demand, isn’t it !!!!??

Representative Raul Grijalva

Representative Marion Berry
Representative Mike Ross

Representative Joe Baca
Representative Bob Filner
Representative Michael M. Honda
Representative Barbara Lee
Representative Adam Schiff
Representative Hilda L. Solis
Representative Henry Waxman
Representative Lynn Woolsey

Representative Joe Courtney
Representative Rosa DeLauro
Representative John B. Larson
Representative Christopher Murphy

Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Representative Corrine Brown
Representative Kathy Castor
Representative Kendrick B. Meek
Representative Wasserman Schultz
Representative Robert Wexler

Senator Richard Durbin
Senator Barack Obama
Representative Rahm Emanuel
Representative Luis V. Gutierrez
Representative Phil Hare
Representative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
Representative Janice Schakowsky

Senator Tom Harkin
Representative Leonard L. Boswell
Representative Bruce Braley
Representative Dave Loebsack

Representative Nancy Boyda

Representative Ben Chandler
Representative John Yarmuth

Representative William Jefferson

Representative Tom Allen

Senator Benjamin Cardin
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Representative Elijah Cummings
Representative Donna F. Edwards
Representative C.A. (Dutch) Ruppersberger
Representative Chris VanHollen

Representative William Delahunt

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Representative John Conyers, Jr.
Representative Dale E. Kildee
Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

Representative Keith Ellison
Representative Betty McCollum
Representative Jim Oberstar

Representative Russ Carnahan
Representative Emanuel Cleaver

Representative Shelley Berkley

New Hampshire
Representative Paul Hodes
Representative Carol Shea-Porter

New Jersey
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg
Senator Robert Menendez
Representative Rush Holt
Representative Frank Pallone, Jr.
Representative Bill Pascrell
Representative Steven R. Rothman
Representative Albio Sires

New York
Representative Michael A. Arcuri
Representative Timothy Bishop
Representative Yvette D. Clarke
Representative Joseph Crowley
Representative Kirsten Gillibrand
Representative John Hall
Representative Brian Higgins
Representative Carolyn Maloney
Representative Carolyn McCarthy
Representative Michael R. McNulty
Representative Gregory W. Meeks
Representative Jerrold Nadler
Representative Charles B. Rangel
Representative Edolphus Towns
Representative Nydia Velazquez

Representative Marcy Kaptur
Representative Tim Ryan
Representative Betty Sutton
Representative Charlie A. Wilson

Representative Earl Blumenauer
Representative Peter DeFazio

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Representative Jason Altmire
Representative Robert A. Brady
Representative Mike Doyle
Representative Chaka Fattah
Representative Paul E. Kanjorski
Representative Patrick Murphy
Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz

Rhode Island
Representative Patrick J. Kennedy
Representative Jim Langevin

South Dakota
Senator Tim Johnson
Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

Representative Lloyd Doggett
Representative Al Green
Representative Gene Green
Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee
Representative Ciro D. Rodriguez

Representative Peter Welch

Representative Norman D. Dicks
Representative Jim McDermott
Representative Adam Smith

West Virginia
Representative Nick. J. Rahall

Representative Tammy Baldwin
Representative Steve Kagen
Representative Ron Kind

I note that only one Kansas representative and no Kansas Senator has spoken up. So, personally, I have to call on Senator Pat Roberts and others in that state to get on the horn and speak out for us.
As far as I can tell, only Obama supports this initiative directly. I imagine that there are other alternative candidates who support the core idea of universal and no-precondition health care in America. Both Nader and McKinney (Greens) support a single-payer plan in the USA.
Now, I encourage Republicans and others to speak up and make sure that this 2008 election health care is tied to the election results and the peoples needs and desires are acted on NOW.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

as an interesting side-note to this article, few people realize that the "rising cost of health care" is usually provided courtesy of the insurance companies themselves, or a "non profit" group that is supported by the insurance industry. So the numbers they use are tainted, at best. Secondly, ask any doctor's office how many people and man hours per year are dedicated to filling out the huge variety of different claims forms and trying to assure the "coding" is correct. It's a huge industry in itself - which is a part of "health care costs." Those expenses for medical providers have grown exponentially throughout the years. Finally, the insurance industry was a pioneer in a 'backwards' form of premium setting, to which they still adhere: they project the profits they want to make for the year and then work backwards with increasing premiums for various plans. It's virtually NEVER done based on actual costs. Doubt me? Contact the General Accountability Office and ask them for their reports on the insurance industry. Those will also show you that virtually all the largest insurance companies in America maintain reserves of over 25% - when they could more than adequately cover all demands on them at one time with approximately 17% - an amount recommended by the GAO. The whole concept of "rising medical costs" has been cried out by the insurance industry for years - while they themselves have NEVER been required to impose strictures that would help reduce those costs. They don't want to. The only reason they lament the 'rising costs' is to justify they're eternal increases that are usually based on nothing concrete. It's time our government- either federal or state-force them to justify rate increases with substantive numbers and transparency. If that ever happened, I think we'd be likely to see a dramatic drop in the costs.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

So, theoretically, if there is a single payer (only one national insurer or national insurer set of rules) the paperwork might actually be reduced on doctors because the procedures and forms would become identical. That should--again theoretically--reduce overall costs to doctors and clients to some significant percentage.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

Instead of letting things remain theoretical. Legislation on health care should require penalties for insurance companies adding costs through unnecessary paperwork. (Enforcement will be a problem until standards are set across the country.)

10:25 PM  

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