HCFA will be posting a blog-a-day about why national health reform is good for Massachusetts.
These posts will include personal stories from people who have benefited from our state’s health reform law and how national health reform can help millions of others like them across the country.
My name is Kate and I’m a member of Health Care for All’s HelpLine. I’m also the family member of a cousin who died far too young because she couldn’t afford to pay for the health care she needed. This blog is dedicated to her.
Since I joined the HelpLine in 2005, I’ve heard thousands of stories from people across the country. More often than not, these stories are about how the health care system is not working for them and their families. These stories are horrific and will haunt me forever. And they are why I believe national health reform must pass now.
One of my first HelpLine calls was from a woman who told me her mother was uninsured and uninsurable. She said her mother had a large wound on her leg, and the only “care” she could receive was in the emergency room. I was shocked to learn that the ER only cleaned the wound, put a new bandage on it, and released her. This wasn’t sufficient. The wound didn’t heal because she could not afford follow-up treatment with a specialist. So, she returned to the emergency room each time the pain was too much to bear.
I’ve also received thousands of calls from folks in everyday situations. For example, the recently laid off worker who lost his employer sponsored health insurance and is unable to continue physical therapy; or the parent who suddenly lost their health insurance and is unable to take her asthmatic child to the doctor or pick up her inhalers.
These untreated medical conditions cause people great pain and suffering, and callers have told me they don’t know how much longer they can go on without relief. These are just a few real stories of how the health care system is failing and there are millions more.
America is crying out for relief for its chronic health care system illness.
Among the despair I hear from the HelpLine callers, there is good news.
More than 97% of Massachusetts’ residents now have health insurance and there are more affordable options available than ever before since health reform passed.
Massachusetts is proving that comprehensive health reform is possible. The best calls I receive, are from newly insured people across our state whose lives have been saved because a broad based group of stakeholders came together did the right thing. I urge Congress to finish the job it has started and pass comprehensive health care reform now. We can’t afford to wait any longer.