Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I've been desperate for reading material lately. This is probably because I don't want to live inside my own life.

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True stories about the despicable state of US health care, starring people I know or am:

Person A is a waitress. The owner of the diner where she works pays off the health department so they won't be shut down for code violations. She is a mother of three, formerly a homeless alcoholic, but has been sober and hardworking for months. After she calls in sick two days in a row, the owner says she can't keep her job unless she provides a doctor's note. She can't get a doctor's note. She has no health insurance. Person A is fired.

Person B applies for health insurance. She is denied because she has anxiety and depression, and was prescribed Zoloft three months ago. It doesn't matter that she was diagnosed 10 years ago. Person B cannot apply for even temporary gap insurance (until she finds a job that provides it) because one of the questions on the application is, Have you ever been denied coverage? Now she is paying for four medications every month out of pocket. When she imagines all the terrible things that could happen to her, for which she would have no medical coverage, she panics and takes an Atavan.

Person C is a self-employed health professional. She goes to have gum surgery, but is unable to make the copay because Blue Cross Blue Shield made an error and shorted her $700 she was supposed to receive for her own clients. Her husband happens to work for Blue Cross Blue Shield. They are adding a massive addition to the top of his building, which overlooks Millennium Park in Chicago.

July 26, 2006 - The Chicago Tribune reports that the plan to extend this building upward will finally be executed. Blue Cross plans to add another 24 stories on to the top of the building at a cost of $270,000,000. When the expansion is complete in 2010, the building will be 57 stories and 796 feet tall.

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