Friday, February 24, 2012

COBRAcare

My sister-in-law has cancer and a subsequent spinal cord injury. She was recently moved from inpatient rehab at the hospital to a skilled nursing facility. She writes a scathing blog post about the transition here.

And rightfully so.

This is what having to rely on an employer-paid health insurnce system gets you. COBRA. Which runs out in 18 months. When you have cancer of the spine. And you can't walk or move anything from the waist down because of the tumors pressing on your spine.

Not that it's your former employer's fault at all. They very generously paid your health insurance premiums for ten years, but when they had to let you go when you go too sick to come to work, you have to start paying the premium yourself through COBRA. Which is better than nothing, but terribly expensive. Especially if you're too sick to work and therefore don't have an income.

If we had a non-profit health insurance system in place, something like a Medicare for All program, employers would save tons of money not having to pay their employee's health insurance premiums. And employees wouldn't have to worry about paying for them when they lose their job due to illness.

My sister-in-law's blog illustrates what a for-profit insurance industry looks like. When decisions are made that might influence a person's ability to ever walk again based on profit margins and not people's needs. This is disgusting. We need to figure out a way to make health care in this country non-profit.

This is my sister-in-law. The wife and mother of an 8 year old boy and two 4 year olds girls.

She deserves better than this. We all deserve better than this. Our for-profit health care industry has got to change.