A longtime reader writes TPM with their personal sob story:
My story: My father is dying of Huntington’s disease. Before he dies in 8 to 10 years, he will need anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and drugs that fight dementia and his tremors and convulsions. He’ll need multiple brain scans and physical therapy sessions.
Current medical treatments can’t save him, but they will give him a few more years before the slow death strips him of his memories, personality and control of his body.
There’s a 50 percent chance the same slow motion death awaits me and each of my three siblings. If I ever lose my job I’ll become uninsurable, permanently. My sister already lost her insurance.
That means whatever treatment is developed for Huntington’s will be unavailable to us. There’s simply no way we could afford it. Not only high tech gene therapies or other interventions, but the medications and treatments that exist now that would buy us enough time to see our kids’ graduations or weddings, and would give them hope of not suffering their grandfather’s fate.
For all of its faults, the Senate version of the health care bill includes provisions that would prevent health insurance companies from denying such people coverage, or canceling their policies. The House could pass this bill as-is, and send it to the President to sign. Or, they could start the reform effort over from scratch and attempt to negotiate with the 41 Republicans in the Senate, who have already said that they would not support such provisions.
After all, most of us did not make the poor personal choice to be born to a father with a terrible hereditary disease like Huntington’s, so really, why should we or insurance company shareholders be asked to share the costs? That would be socialism, right?