Two local rallies are being held today to send a clear message to Sen. Maria Cantwell that her constituents need and want substantial health care reform. For those of you up in Everett, Dying for Universal Healthcare will host a rally at 11:45 AM at Senators Cantwell and Murray’s joint offices, 2930 Wetmore Ave, while down here in Seattle MoveOn.org will be holding a rally at 12:15 PM at Cantwell’s office at 915 Second Ave.
From all accounts, Sen. Murray is a strong supporter of a public option for health insurance, but Cantwell can best be described as wavering in her opposition, instead promoting the formation “co-ops” like Group Health… which I suppose for those of us here in Group Health territory would mean no reform at all.
That’s just not good enough, not for the poor, not for the middle class, not for anybody.
I’ve been self-employed or a small business owner for most of my adult life, and at times, I’ve even made some decent money at it. But individuals like me no longer have access to full health insurance with robust preventative care at nearly any price.
For example, and to get very personal, there is a history of colon cancer in my family, but as an individual I can’t find affordable insurance that will cover a colonoscopy as part of routine preventative care before the age of 50. If I worked for the government, or big company, yes, but as an individual, that option simply isn’t available.
“So what?” you may say, “Stick with your catastrophic coverage and pay for it yourself.” And I very may well do that. But if I do, through the simple act of denying the claim, the procedure will cost me maybe a couple thousand dollars more than the pre-negotiated price between my provider and my insurer. I’m already not particularly inclined to let somebody stick something up my ass, so charging me an extra couple thousand dollars for the privilege doesn’t exactly incentivize responsible well care.
And now Regence wants to raise my premiums another 17%, the third year in a row of double-digit increases.
As an individual subscriber I’m doubly penalized for not being an employee of a large group. First I must pay a higher premium for my insurance, and then I must pay retail for the many services not covered. And for many American families, paying retail for preventative care, let alone a serious illness or injury, can result in thousands of dollars of bills they can’t afford. It’s a silly system in which Regence won’t pay for my cancer screening, but they will pay for treating my cancer. Where’s the sense in that?
The fact is, if co-ops like Group Health were such a cure-all, we wouldn’t have so many uninsured and underinsured individuals here in Washington state. But we do.
Let Sen. Cantwell know that the status quo simply isn’t good enough.