Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation
Well, it took 36 days, but I can finally begin the journey to see if I will be able to afford coverage under an insurance policy offered on the Connect for Health Colorado exchange. I had to first apply and be denied Medicaid benefits, and the denial was stalled. (You can read the article on the link.) It would please me more if I were on the verge of being fully covered by an improved and expanded Medicare for all for life program, and it would have been so very much easier for everyone to understand. But until we actually have that system in place in this nation, people like me who must secure some kind of coverage in order to afford care that will keep us alive need some kind of relief.
I do not know yet if that relief will come from a plan on the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare exchange (Connect for Health Colorado). Tomorrow I will call in the Medicaid denial number required before I could even be considered for a tax credit or subsidy, and then I can check out which plans are being offered to me. I spoke out at a recent exchange board meeting about the delay in processing the dual Medicaid/subsidy application, and that seemed to move the ball forward for me. That's good, but I also worry about all the other people who are caught up in some kind of similar black hole in the application process.
Another issue I raised this week was this continued practice of calling us all consumers and customers. I hate that. It dehumanizes health care even more than our greedy, profit-first system already has over time. This is a human issue and access to health care is a human need. It isn't the same as shopping for other goods and services.
While I was away moving from Castle Rock to Denver (the eighth move in the past seven years), hundreds of people died without access to health care, and more than 11,000 went bankrupt. That's some very real human suffering that all could have been avoided through a public, universal, single-payer system. We have to get to that spot. For now, I have to do the dance of the current system if I want to be a cancer survivor for the third time -- and I do. I am tired at times but not defeated. I am ready to push on to health care justice.
November 13, 2013 -- Today's count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:
The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-
industrial -complex system dead: 39,378
The 2013, to date, U.S. health care system bankrupt: 622,138
** These figures are calculated based on the Harvard University studies on excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance coverage or the ability to pay for needed health care, and the Harvard University study that calculated the high percentage of personal bankruptcies attributable to medical crisis and debt in the U.S. 123 people die daily due to lack of coverage or cash to pay for care; 1,978 go bankrupt every day due to medical crisis and debt though the majority had insurance at the time their illness or injury occurred. This statistic is also based on the 1.2 million bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and calculating those medically-related bankruptcies from that number.http://www.healthcareforallcolorado.org/endorse_right_to_health_care
Follow Donna "SiCKO" Smith blog at: http://donnasicko.blogspot.com/
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