Our Health Insurance System isn’t working–We MUST do something!!

This from today’s Seattle Times:

“In what is becoming an annual ordeal for policyholders, Regence BlueShield is raising premiums for 135,000 individual health-plan members in Washington by an average 17 percent on Aug. 1.”

“And it comes after two other insurers, Group Health Cooperative and LifeWise Health Plan of Washington, recently imposed similarly steep premium increases.”

In yet another strong argument for health reform it was noted:

“Hensley said,Regence is losing money on its individual plans and subsidizes them with earnings from its group plans.”

One patient noted that her premium is now $1400/month and is going to rise to $1700.

In a letter to the editor of the same Seattle Times, a patient made these comparisons between what goes on here and in the health care system of Canada. Yes, I know it’s just an anecdote, but what do think the other side cites when damning health care reform.

“Canadian health care would be a welcome change”

“Opponents of a public-health-insurance option caution that such a plan would result in “Canadian-style” health care. In support of this, here is a true story.”

“A cautious, self-employed Seattleite, I pay for the best private health insurance available. Good thing, because at 43 years old, after being diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer, I received treatment at two top regional facilities: surgery at University of Washington Medical Center and chemotherapy at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.”

“Weeks after my diagnosis, a lifelong friend in Vancouver, B.C., was diagnosed with a virtually identical cancer — same tumor size and characteristics, same lymph node status, etc.”

“After tumor discovery, I received diagnostic tests after more than 30 days.

Her tests took three. I waited five weeks for surgery; she was scheduled in two. Post-surgery, I waited five weeks to begin chemotherapy. Her chemo started in three.”

“In the end, my out-of-pocket expenses exceeded $30,000. Her bills were in the hundreds of dollars.”

“The UW just hired my reconstructive surgeon from the University of Toronto for his education in pioneering techniques. My friend’s surgeon was Canadian, too.”

“So will a public plan result in Canadian-style health care? I truly hope so.”

Medicynical note: What we have costs more and does no better, maybe worse in some areas. We’re bankrupting individuals and the “system” (I use the term system very loosely here).

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