omeone else dies from lack of insurance

RedGlitter
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by RedGlitter »

Imagine getting chemo only on days you can afford it!

November 3, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist

Worsening the Odds

By BOB HERBERT

Lonnie Lynam, a self-employed carpenter in Pipe Creek, Tex., specialized in spiral staircases. Friends thought of him as a maestro in a toolbelt, a whiz with a hammer and nails.

“His customers were always so pleased,” his mother told me. “There was this one family, kind of higher class, and he built them one of those glass holders that you would see in a bar or a lounge, with the glasses hanging upside down in different sizes. It was awesome.”

Lonnie had a following, a reputation. He was said to have a magic touch.

What he didn’t have was health insurance.

So when the headaches came, he tried to ignore them. “We’ve had migraines in our family,” said his mother, Betty Lynam, who is 67 and lives in Creston, Iowa. “So he thought that was what it was.”

Lonnie’s brother, Kelly, said: “He wasn’t the type to complain. And since he didn’t have insurance ...”

Kelly, 45, worked on different jobs with his brother. He was the one who rushed Lonnie to an emergency room one day last fall when the headaches became so severe that Lonnie couldn’t stand up.

It would be great if there were something unusual about this story: A person without health insurance gets sick. The person holds off on going to the doctor because there’s no way to pay the bill. The person is denied the full range of treatment because of the absence of insurance. The person dies.

Lonnie Lynam’s headaches had been caused by cancerous tumors in his brain. During surgery, doctors discovered that the cancer had spread from other parts of his body.

Cancer is no longer the all-but-automatic death sentence that it once was. Extraordinary progress has been made in fighting the myriad forms of the disease.

But, as the American Cancer Society has recently been stressing, the health coverage crisis in the U.S. is a major drag on this fight.

“A woman without health insurance who gets a breast cancer diagnosis is at least 40 percent more likely to die,” said John Seffrin, the cancer society’s chief executive.

According to the cancer society: “Uninsured patients and those on Medicaid are much more likely than those with private health insurance to be diagnosed with cancer in its later stages, when it is more often fatal.”

The uninsured (and underinsured) are also much less likely to get the most effective treatment after the diagnosis is made.

There are 47 million Americans without health insurance and another 17 million with coverage that will not pay for the treatments necessary to fight cancer and other very serious diseases.

The bottom line, said Mr. Seffrin, is that “the number of people who are suffering needlessly from cancer because they don’t have access to quality health care is very large and increasing as I speak.”

Part two of the Lynam family’s nightmare began when Lonnie returned home from the hospital. Lonnie had very little money, so Kelly stepped in and began paying most of his brother’s nonmedical bills.

Betty Lynam flew to Texas as often as she could to be with her son. She said he needed chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but since he couldn’t afford it, he couldn’t always get it.

“He was trying to pay a little bit at a time for the doctors and for the different treatments,” she said. “But he didn’t have a savings account or any collateral, except for his tools.

“I’d ask how he was feeling, and he’d tell me, ‘Well, I didn’t get the treatment today.’ And I’d say, ‘Why?’ And he’d say, ‘Well, I got in there and they found out I didn’t have any insurance and the woman told me I’d have to come back another time because she’d have to check with the doctor or somebody.’

“He suffered a great deal. Yes, he did.”

After awhile, as his condition deteriorated, Lonnie Lynam, carpenter extraordinaire, became all but consumed by the fear of death. Toward the end, he would sleep with a light and the television on, his mother said, “because he wanted to see something or hear something as soon as he woke up to know that he was still alive.”

She said: “Some nights he’d be so frightened he’d come crawl into bed with me and just say, ‘Hold me, mom.’ I just slept right with him in the hospital and just held him, you know?’”

Lonnie died on March 26 at age 45. The cause of death was cancer, aided and abetted by an absurd, unnecessary and utterly unconscionable absence of health insurance.




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CARLA
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by CARLA »

This countries dirty little secret and a terrible shame. Way to many of our citizens without health insurance and in poverty.

This is the richest Country in the world what is wrong with this picture. Get off your asses in Washington and do something. We should get off our asses and vote for those that will truly help with these problems period (if there is such a person). :-5 Of course these are my opinions only.
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WOO HOO!!, what a ride!!!"

cinamin
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by cinamin »

:rolleyes:
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Accountable
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by Accountable »

Dunno what Cinamon means, but here's my two bits:



Insurance has destroyed our medical system. It allows people to think their care is "free" and so they value it just that much. Then when they really need it, they find out just what it costs, and they haven't prepared to take care of themselves.



But insurance is here and there's not getting rid of it, so we have to cope.



The only thing I've ever heard a politician say that resonated with me, is that when a natural disaster hits, such as a hurricane or wildfire, the fed gov't throws money by the truckload so that even the richest victims get enough to rebuild. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she is no less a victim of a natural disaster, and should get the same consideration from the gov't.



The logic is hard to deny.
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chonsigirl
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by chonsigirl »

Yes, a woman diagnosed with breast cancer should receive treatment. But some illnesses will not receive treatment, insurance or not, unless they fall within the parameters of the medical-insurance system. I know my husband receives no therapy, because he is deemed "too slow" to suit their parameters. He uses a walker now, after three years, and he did it on his own. These guidelines need to be reevaluated with each individual case, not put into the mold of their studies and whether it will be productive for the medical-insurance consortium.
koan
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by koan »

What I can't figure out is how a doctor or nurse, someone who decided to help save lives for their career, can turn someone away knowing they will die. I just couldn't do that. Is getting paid for every single visit more important than saving lives? They don't get paid enough to care?

People can protest but doctors can organise a solution.
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Peg
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by Peg »

cinamin;715524 wrote: :rolleyes:


Are you going to roll your eyes when it's you or a loved one refused medical treatment because lack of insurance?
freetobeme
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by freetobeme »

Just wondering how many people don`t have insurance by choice... Sure many can`t afford it no matter what, but how many choose to spend the money on something else.

I wonder why the case here didn`t have insurance, it didn`t say.



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CARLA
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by CARLA »

Koan your right it has caused many a doctor and nurse to find another job. They just can't swallow medicine today. No many won't turn patients away, my Brother-In-Law for one won't. Does he lose money because of his decisions you bet, does he sleep better at night you bet. Doctors are suppose to treat the sick and wounded period, not bow to the HMO's and insurance companies.

[QUOTE]What I can't figure out is how a doctor or nurse, someone who decided to help save lives for their career, can turn someone away knowing they will die. I just couldn't do that. Is getting paid for every single visit more important than saving lives? They don't get paid enough to care?

People can protest but doctors can organise a solution.[/QUOTE]
ALOHA!!

MOTTO TO LIVE BY:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming.

WOO HOO!!, what a ride!!!"

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nvalleyvee
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by nvalleyvee »

I just paid off my last bill from my cancer and chemo last month. I had no insurance when I was diagnosed and was told I would die if I could not guarantee payment. I was diagnosed 3 years and 11 months ago. I begged and pleaded for payments. What really pissed me off is that I had to make full payment when the people who had insurance - their insurance companies only paid 65 cents for every dollar charged - didn't have to make up the other 35 cents.

I felt punished for paying cash and making payments. But hey - I paid every last penny of the $47,000.00.
The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement..........Karl R. Popper
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BTS
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by BTS »

koan;715604 wrote: What I can't figure out is how a doctor or nurse, someone who decided to help save lives for their career, can turn someone away knowing they will die. I just couldn't do that. Is getting paid for every single visit more important than saving lives? They don't get paid enough to care?



People can protest but doctors can organise a solution.




Canada is a country that has had a national health care program for only a few decades. But because the demand for health care has proved insatiable, and because the Canadian government has resolutely refused to increase spending beyond a level of about 8.5 percent of the GNP, the waiting lines for surgery have been growing. In the province of Newfoundland the wait for a hip replacement is about six to ten months, the wait for cataract surgery is about two months, for pap smears up to five months, for "urgent" pap smears two months, and for CAT scans two months.

All over Canada heart patients wait for coronary bypass surgery, and the Canadian press is frequently reporting episodes of heart patients dying while on the waiting list.

I wonder why the waiting list is SO long?

Have any ideas?
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weeder
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by weeder »

I dont have any insurance. I pray to God every day that Lonnies story, will not be my story. I always hope that if something terminal hits me, and I am in horrible pain that I will be able to get my hands on enough morphine to do away with myself. I never go to doctors. Cant afford it, On the other hand, I have this mentality that I dont feel that I am entitled to something for nothing. I blame myself for not being successful enough to afford coverage.

Another big problem is this. From 2003 through 2005. I had medical insurance.

It was the first thing I did when I had my business in Georgia, and I could afford it. I was very proud of myself for having it. The premium crept up every month. It was 406.00 ( self employed single person. With a 5,000.00

deductible, and no well care benefits. August 2004.. I had melanoma. Out patient surgery. In at 11... out at 4. It ran about 15,000.00 The hospital ( bless them... wrote off the balance of the bill that wasnt paid by insurance, based on my income tax) I was left with about 6,000.00 in unpaid doctor bills. My point is that even if a person struggles to pay the premiums for insurance, the coverage is not adequate, and the premium plans are totally unaffordable for most people. They run as high as 700, 800, and 900 dollars a month. I know that many people will think that this is a crazy outlook, but I feel the United States has slowly gotten to the place where we really do not place much value on human life anymore. In all aspects of living the plan seems to be to eradicate the lower class, and simply be a nation of wealthy people. You can see this in two areas. One, the way corporations are being aided to take over the country.... and secondly, in the supermarket where you see prices that prevent many people from even buying food that is healthy for them. Now, if everyone will just cooperate... give up their small businesses and go to work for Walmart ( who is really satan disguised by those little smiley faces... They will let you work for minimum wage.... have no quality of life... but they will supply you with medical coverage. Its just a matter of time.
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Tater Tazz
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by Tater Tazz »

You know it is easy to blame the insurance companies, but what about the doctors? Are they not to blame also? If they were not greedy for money, than they would have helped that person. this is my opion.
freetobeme
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by freetobeme »

Any taxpayer supported universal plan is going to have cost overruns, people tend to use or abuse the system because they see it as being 'free'. Health care costs continually rise and cannot be supported at the same level, without substantially raising taxes. (McGuinty in Ontario allready has). Health care isn't 'free' you just don't receive a bill at the time, you pay all year round.

The biggest problem arose when the Liberals cut back billions from the transfer payments, leaving health care seriously underfunded.

However, you cannot continue to grow a budget every year without having to make cut backs or introduce some form of payment. Think of your own budget and what you would have to do if yours grew by 20% or so every year.

The answer is to allow a choice, we should be able to pay for a procedure if we choose to, and we should not have to go south to be able to do that.

Heck, I can spend what's left of my money after taxes on junk foods, booze, cigarettes, and will be provided free needles if I need to shoot up ( but not for diabetics) but golly gee, I am not allowed by law to spend my money on my personal health care choices because - heaven forbid I would be jumping the queue. Unless of course, I'm a hockey player then I can jump the queue.

go figure



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weeder
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by weeder »

Tater Tazz;715754 wrote: You know it is easy to blame the insurance companies, but what about the doctors? Are they not to blame also? If they were not greedy for money, than they would have helped that person. this is my opion.


Doctors go into debt... up to their eyeballs for schooling to become doctors. Then what are they supposed to do? Trear everyone for free? Plus their malpractice insurance alone.... puts many of them, out of business. If the government paid for their schooling... they might be able to make health care services more affordable.
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Peg
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omeone else dies from lack of insurance

Post by Peg »

My sister worked for years as a nurse on the pediatrics floor. I cannot tell you how frustrated she was that a.) Parents would have their children hospitalized while they went on vacation and b.) the doctors would do it! It was extremely common. This is just so wrong on so many levels. :-5

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