Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Public Option or Bust

Just this one time, I want to share my personal health insurance story below with you so you know why I'm adamant about real health reform *including* a Public Option choice as part of it. This message is entirely written by me.

I know we must have a Public Option - a CHOICE whether to buy into a government sponsored health insurance plan to keep big insurance corporations honest about competition, price, and access. Universal coverage is the most sound system, like other industrialized nations in some form, but a Public Option as the compromise is a good one.

Because I work in a small business, I am under-insured. I only have catastrophic coverage because I can only get an individual policy. My insurance doesn't even cover prescriptions, and if I wanted to switch to a different individual policy, even with the same company (Aetna), I would have to go through brand new underwriting, which would cause more pre-existing exemptions at this point for example. And while my premiums have raised several times since I've had this policy, I've had this policy since I was 27 or so, and so I can't give up this policy without a significant rise in expense that would come with brand new underwriting on a new policy.

I spend over 10% of my gross income every year on my own health insurance. That's true. When I had large corporate employers, I paid a fraction of that for gold-plated "Cadillac coverage" because large corporations can get and afford large group policies. Not so for small business, generally fewer than 50 employees.

It's not fair that I'm out providing jobs on the ground, but I can't offer health insurance with those jobs, and I also have to personally pay a "private profit tax" for the giant medical companies with my higher expenses on a lousy individual policy - just because I'm a small business owner. Why can't I join some other large insurance pool to get quality coverage? I can't. I've tried - with this much expense at stake, I've tried. It doesn't exist and anyone who tells you it does - is lying or misinformed.

Please help me help those who are holding the President's feet to the fire right now, in any way you can, even if you can just speak the truth to those who will listen.

The White House is still drafting the president's Wednesday speech, and he needs to advocate strongly for the Public Option. The public wants it, every poll shows it (once it's explained in basic terms)! The giant insurance companies -- seeing a potential windfall from mandatory coverage and only private companies offering it -- are the ones against it.

Wanted to share my personal true story with you. I contributed $20 to Act Blue's fund on this issue from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

I stlll just wanted to share my story and give a little "real world" context to what's showing on the ol' boob tube.