I Hope and Pray for Single-Payer Health Care
Dear Maggie,Hi! So glad to have stumbled on to your show. What a great way to offer good information. I have a friend who is a nurse and she is a member of California Nurses Association. Love the laughs! Anyway, after 60 years on either Blue Shield or Blue Cross, I’ve found myself currently uninsured for the first time in my life. My mother was so upset by this that it caused her to have a heart attack when she found out a few months ago. Since I have disabilities and am greatly underemployed, I applied for SSI and Medi-Cal; and, I’m glad to say that I just got the Medi-Cal card in the mail and news that I’ve been accepted on SSI. However, I was sad to discover that Medi-Cal no longer covers dental for people on Medi-Cal (who aren’t pregnant women whose infant is endangered by poor dental health or someone in a nursing home …)I heard your show while I was driving in my car this afternoon and just caught the last few minutes. But, I chuckled to myself when I heard you or someone else (didn’t catch which host was talking – thought it might be you) say that dental health is so important. Yeah. We know that; but, our governor doesn’t. Tell me he thinks he would be happy to have his teeth pulled instead of getting a crown or a filling? If the morons who voted Arnold in hadn’t prevailed, California would now have single payer health care AND dental for everyone. It makes me sick. The whole time I had Blue Shield (our last provider), I was unable to afford treatments for my disorders. And, that’s the truth. No matter what angle I came from, no matter what I tried to do to accommodate some sort of treatment to their plan, they found some way to deny it to me. I have Interstitial Cystitis (which is a hugely painful and disabling disease). Yet, there are some very good treatments for it – if a person can afford them. And, most of us can’t. I also have Hepatitis C that I got in 1971 from a blood transfusion. I had Blue Cross when I tried to get treatment for hep C. In order to be able to afford the treatment for that, I had to go into a study, since Blue Cross would only pay a small portion of the expensive drug costs in the treatments recommended by doctors. The study drugs were so hard on me that I ended up getting IC. So, in our current health system, in order for the health insurance companies to turn profits, they must make treatments so expensive that people are forced to go into studies OR skip treatments altogether. And, that’s my experience of health insurance. I go to a pain clinic; and, I would bet you a million dollars that half the people in there have treatable maladies; but, their insurance companies have made the treatments so unaffordable that they’ve taken the cheapest route–which is painkillers. When people spout off about how bad drugs are, just look at all the people that are sent to pain doctors and put on narcotics instead of being given physical therapy or whatever it is they need to treat their disorders. We live in a hypocritical society. On one hand, we condemn the use of hard drugs; but, on the other hand, we allow health insurance companies to deny people important treatments and let them get away with sending treatable conditions to the pain doctor who will just give them something to help numb the pain. Most of us would rather find a better way. I know I would. IC has been very responsive to certain forms of physical therapy. But, most of the pelvic pain clinics that offer these treatments charge about $500. Per visit! And, most of these clinics can’t get on with Blue Shield/Blue Cross anyway. For some reason, the insurance companies have a thing about physical therapy; and, they go way out of their way to make it difficult for people to get it – even though it works. I think this is a crime. I hope and pray that this country wises up and gets single payer health care someday. But, I’m not going to hold my breath. –Paulette K.