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Illinois - Indiana

Illinois - Indiana

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Published by ogangurel

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Published by: ogangurel on Jan 26, 2011
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 Extensions of Remarks
 January 6, 2011
supplies he’s proudly showing me). He has in-surance but ‘it sucks, only covers so much,’he told me. ‘They don’t cover even the sup-plies I have here. And if you go to the hos-pital for low blood sugar, or see a specialist,it costs several hundred dollars.’ He was pre-viously under his parent’s coverage but nowhis own insurance, which ‘bad as it is,’ headded, has been further downgraded becauseof the economy. ‘But,’ he said, ‘I don’t havemuch choice unless I get another job, andthat’s not at all easy these days.’’’ Chris—Frederick, 7/23/2009‘‘Frank’s story centers around his fiance´e.She’s a breast cancer survivor. The chemo-therapy, according to Frank, ‘cured the can-cer but devastated her body. She continuesto have health problems,’ he told me. Theseinclude diabetes and psoriatic arthritis forwhich she is treated with methotrexate andEnbril injections. She had been getting hermedications through PAC (Physicians As-sistance Care of Maryland) but, as Frank ex-plained to me, ‘Only the diabetes medicinesqualified and those she got through this pro-gram were less effective than what she waspreviously taking.’ Now that she is working,she is no longer eligible for the program(which requires an income of less than $1,400a month). Her new job offers health insur-ance but, ‘the premiums are so high that if she gets the policy, there’d be no money foranything else.’ Getting health insurance,would ‘make it impossible for her to live,’Frank told me. ‘And, even with the policy,the medications would be too expensive. Ba-sically,’ Frank summarized for me, ‘withouthealthcare, she has pain and suffering, can’tget out of bed and so could lose the job.’That’s terrible, I said. ‘Oh, it could be worseI guess,’ he replied, shaking his head.’’Frank—Frederick, 7/23/2009‘‘I met Howard and Tauyna over breakfastat the Days Inn. Howard told me thatthey’ve generally been OK, but even with in-surance, ‘deductibles have been increasingand out-of-pocket expenses also going up.’But Howard wished to share a story fromtwenty years ago. ‘It actually relates towhat’s happening today,’ he told me. He wasbetween jobs, he explained, having left a po-sition with health insurance for a higher-paying job that did not, however, offerhealth benefits. Soon after, his wife had atubal pregnancy and with the hospital billshe ended up having to taking out a loan for$8,000 (‘a huge chunk of change in thosedays,’ he added). The doctor forgave his feeand he was able to negotiate a half-pricewith the anesthesiologist. ‘I sure don’t knowwhat would happen if it were today.’’’ How-ard—Frederick, 7/24/2009‘‘Brenda’s story is about her father whodied two months ago. She told her story witha mix of disbelief and quiet anger though shewas heartened to be able to share with otherswhat she felt was a true health insurancehorror story. Her late father had diabetessince 1995. His illness was complicated byneuropathy and multiple foot infections re-sulting in an amputation of one great toe.Earlier this year, his insurance company,Group Health, told him that they were drop-ping him for medical noncompliance al-though Brenda, who’s a nurse, said this waspatently a lie and they had medical proof, in-cluding doctor’s attestations, that he was incompliance. And then he had a stroke, whichwas compounded with multiple complica-tions. He came down with sepsis, had to haveanother amputation, this time below-the-knee. Though the MD said everything wasOK, the operation was, in fact, a ‘was a dis-aster,’ Brenda told me. It turned out he wasleft unattended in the hallway, coded in re-covery, had a head bleed, was given CPR, puton a ventilator and admitted to the ICU. Henever regained consciousness. He was takento a Palliative Care unit and though he wasput on a morphine drip, he survived for twomore tortuous months. All during this time,people from the hospital kept coming bytelling his already grieving wife that shewould be responsible for the bill. ‘The totalbill is $69,000 and still going up,’ she said.’’Brenda—Gaithersburg, 7/24/2009‘‘Shayla’s been newly enrolled in a PPO.Supposedly better than an HMO, she hadhigh expectations. ‘But,’ she told me, ‘I don’tunderstand why it’s so good. First, you paymore,’ she explained, ‘and second, you stillget a bill AFTER the co-pay.’ And then shetold me about the prescription plan, whichrequires you to mail away for the medica-tions and it often takes 4 to 6 weeks for de-livery. She shook her head. ‘That justdoesn’t make sense!’’’ Shayla—Gaithersburg,7/25/2009‘‘Keith is one of the founders of the ubiq-uitous Food Not Bombs organization. His or-ganization has protested around the worldand now he’s in front of the White House de-livering his message to all those gathered.His story is simple: he’s got fibromyalgia,which he says he acquired after being tor-tured by the CIA during one of his several in-carcerations for illegally delivering freefood. With his income and this sort of pre-ex-isting condition, he can never get health in-surance.’’ Keith—Washington, 7/26/2009‘‘Doris, from New York, is here in DC vis-iting. ‘No insurance, can’t afford it.’ Shesaid, ‘and doesn’t ever go to a doctor. I’motherwise lucky,’ she said, with a smile andwent off with her friends.’’ Doris—Wash-ington, 7/26/2009
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today torecognize Community Regional Medical Cen-ter on the occasion of the grand opening ofTerry’s House, a new, state-of-the-art facility indowntown Fresno, California, which will pro-vide much needed support and housing toallow families to stay close to sick and injuredloved ones in the hospital. Located in theheart of the Fresno medical district, this new15,874 square-foot, two-story family housewith twenty guest suites will be the first hospi-tality house in the Greater Fresno Area.This residential facility is named in honor ofTerry Richards who suffered and survived aserious trauma at the age of five when he wasinjured in a car accident. For nearly fivemonths, his mother was forced to travel nearly80 miles a day to see her son while he wasrecovering in the hospital. Currently, familymembers of patients must seek accommoda-tions miles from the hospital, and many whocannot afford lodging sleep in waiting rooms,in their cars or try their best to find a spot ina busy hospital. Often, patients’ loved oneshave no alternative but to leave the hospitaland make the long drive home. Now familieshave Terry’s House, their home away fromhome, while their loved ones receive care.Terry’s House was made possible by thetireless work of Terry Richards’ brother, TomRichards, a local community developer andCEO of the Penstar Group. With the dedica-tion of Tom Richards, Leta Ciavaglia, the Ter-ry’s House Development Council, the Commu-nity Regional Medical Center Foundation andmany generous members of the community, afamily dream has become a reality.Mr. Speaker, I applaud Terry’s House andits many supporters for their efforts to createa facility which keeps families together duringtimes of need. I ask my colleagues to join mein commending Tom Richards and the com-munity members of Fresno who have workedunremittingly to make the opening of Terry’sHouse possible.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, I submit thefollowing stories, collected by Dr. Ogan Gurel.
‘‘Martha finds it shameful that Americacan’t provide basic health care for its citi-zens, like any other developed country does.‘Civilized nations care for those in need,’ shesaid. She especially noted that the connec-tion of health care insurance to employmentstatus was a big problem. ‘It doesn’t makesense. If you get sick, you have a greaterchance of being unemployed.’’’ Martha—Chi-cago, 6/27/2009‘‘Addison, on the right, is Martha’s olderson. He’s a student in college who, with evi-dent pride, told me that in the past electionhe had just voted for the first time. As heembarks on study abroad in Italy this com-ing fall, he is, despite his glowing patriotism,embarrassed that health care for all, as hehas learned is the case in Italy, doesn’t existhere in America.’’ Addison—Chicago, 6/27/2009‘‘I met Ron along Martin Luther KingDrive. He was working at painting a fence.He waved his hand towards the south sidestreets beyond and said, ‘Yes, there’s manypeople here without health insurance.’ Witha serious look, he turned back towards me.‘Yes, without health care.’ He shared a storyof an old lady from the neighborhood. Shehad a change in coverage that now made ittoo expensive to get her insulin for her dia-betes. ‘It was all very fishy business,’ Rontold me. This lady, on Medicare, was in thehospital for some time. An insurance sales-man came to her hospital bed and convincedher to change her coverage (Ron couldn’t re-call the exact name but he told me it sound-ed, ‘Something like Well Care’). What hap-pened was that this ‘new’ plan didn’t coverthe old lady’s particular type of insulin so,with her ‘brand-new’ private supplementalinsurance plan in place, she ended up nowspending $129 a month, out-of-pocket, for hermedication. The insurance salesman is goneand now she’s struggling, Ron tells me, ontop of her fight to stay well, to piece to-gether her wrecked insurance and financialsituation.’’ Ron—Chicago, 6/27/2009‘‘Stopping by the Chicago Baptist Insti-tute, I met Rev. Joseph Felker, the Chair-man of that organization. A crowd was gath-ered and they were hosting an outdoorevent—a ‘Healthy Walk’ event actually. Hetold me, ‘We should have had health care forthe uninsured years ago. It is a travesty, atrue travesty, but hopefully the change weare seeing is a start.’’’ Joseph—Chicago, 6/27/2009‘‘Sitting next to Rev. Felker was Rev. Dr.Tyler. He concurred, saying that, ‘Healthcare reform is long overdue. With the wealth
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 Extensions of Remarks
 January 6, 2011
of this country, it’s a shame that peopledon’t have health care.’ They, and the oth-ers, were all very nice. They passed me acouple bottles of water and many best wishes(and prayers) for the journey onward toWashington, DC.’’ Clifford—Chicago, 6/27/2009‘‘Roderick from the hotel told me, ‘Every-one should have health care and it should beprovided by the government, not by for-prof-it companies.’ I asked him if he thinks thecurrent reform proposals are enough. Heshook his head, ‘No.’’’ Roderick—Hammond,6/28/2009‘‘As I walked along 25th Avenue (on theway to Gary), I heard a honk from the road.They stopped, I looked over. ‘Hey, Doc—weren’t you on TV last night?’ And so I head-ed over to say hello and get the next story of the day. With traffic zooming on by, wedidn’t have much time for chitchat. But he,Chris was his name, told me, ‘We need help,it’s rough out here for everybody—not justthe elderly. There’s drugs and alcohol prob-lems, no treatment and the price of medica-tions is too much.’ I asked if he could sharea specific example. ‘Sure,’ he replied, whilethe older gentleman in the passenger seatwith him nodded in acknowledgement. ‘Mymother’s got Alzheimer’s and her medica-tions are $500 to $600 dollars a month. It’simpossible ...’’’ Chris—Hammond, 6/28/2009‘‘Eric shared his brother’s story. He hadhad an eye accident, lost his job on accountof that and being without health insurancehad to file for bankruptcy. ‘That about tellsit all,’ he said.’’ Eric—Wheeler, 6/28/2009‘‘With parched throat, I stopped into theIndiana University police station hoping tofind a water fountain. John, the officer-on-duty at the front desk, greeted me. ‘It’s acritical situation,’ he told me. ‘Especiallynow that people are losing jobs. But keepingprices down is important. Even with the in-sured, prices are inflated, they’re sky-high.’I nodded in reply. ‘So, it’s hard to stayhealthy if you can’t afford health care.’’’John—Gary, 6/28/2009‘‘Six miles later, now in Hobart, I stoppedinto United States Security (a private secu-rity service) for some water. I talked withEd, the Director. ‘Definitely things need tochange,’ he said. ‘But it’s more like tweak-ing. I’m 100% against something like the Ca-nadian system.’ I asked what he thought of the health care reform debate in Wash-ington. ‘Well, I don’t like the idea of theupper brass fat-cats reaping rewards. Theyneed to be dissolved or at least held account-able ... and take another bottle for theroad,’ he added.’’ Ed—Hobart, 6/28/2009‘‘Kyle’s story is a bit complicated. He’s asenior in college (at Purdue in Hammond)but he started college a couple years aftergraduating from high school. Because of thisunusual transition, it ended up that he hadmissed the deadline for getting insurancethrough his mother’s policy. ‘I was workingto put myself through college with a bunchof part-time jobs. None of them, though, pro-vided insurance ... then I got sick—verysick.’ He was bedridden for several days withfatigue and fever. He finally went to his fam-ily doctor who took a blood test. Two dayslater, his mother received an urgent callfrom the doctor saying, demanding almost,that Kyle go to the emergency room imme-diately. Kyle told me, ‘it was the highestwhite blood count he had ever seen,’ and hewas concerned Kyle had leukemia. So, at thebehest of the doctor, and actually feelingbetter by this time, they went the emer-gency room. It turned out, thankfully, not tobe leukemia, but Kyle ended up with a $9,000emergency room bill (he was never even ad-mitted to the hospital). ‘My mother and Ispent months fighting and negotiating,’ hetold me. ‘Luckily the Church organizationaffiliated with St. Mary’s finally—yes, fi-nally—helped take care of the bill.’ Shakinghis head in disbelief at the Kafkaesque or-deal, Kyle concluded, ‘It was something—andI’m not talking about the illness—I never,ever want to go through again.’’’ Kyle—Valparaiso, 6/28/2009‘‘John actually had two stories. First, hiswife has diabetes, lupus, and fibromyalgiaand he feels that the drug companies are justpushing drugs ... through the doctors. ‘Thedrugs don’t work,’ he told me. ‘She doesn’tseem to get better and all that seems to hap-pen is that she gains weight.’ He then sharedhis second health care story which happenedafter his first son was born. The $11,000 dollarbill forced his family into bankruptcy, again,soon after his wife gave birth. ‘It was likethe bill was padded but there was nothing Icould do about it.’’’ John—Wheeler, 6/28/2009‘‘Erin’s mother (Dianne) has multiple scle-rosis but doesn’t qualify for SSI (Social Se-curity disability) or Medicare. Her medica-tion costs are so high that there’s no moneyleft for anything else. Her symptoms involvesignificant diplopia (double vision) and shecan’t work. Erin shook her head, ‘It’s a dif-ficult situation and I don’t really know whatto do.’’’ Erin—Valparaiso, 6/29/2009‘‘Jack has good insurance. But his storystarts with unexplained pain in both of hisfeet. He went to dozens of doctors, podia-trists, and other specialists but nothingseemed to help except painkillers and thesewere prescribed only sparingly. It was a ter-rible problem and he could barely walk andwas at risk of losing his job. ‘Then there wasthis neurologist who gave me two injectionsin the back—L4, L5, I think it was—and thatworked!’ I nodded, realizing that his footpain was clearly related to the back (perhapsspinal stenosis or a herniated disc) ratherthan the feet. ‘But, guess what, the insur-ance company wouldn’t pay for the one thingthat worked and now I owe $6,000!’ Igrimaced at the story. ‘Oh yes,’ he added,‘before, several years ago, I didn’t have in-surance and I had to declare bankruptcy.’’’Jack—Wheeler, 6/28/2009‘‘Michael told me he had no insurance. ‘Doyou get sick?’ I asked. ‘Well, I try not to,’ heanswered. ‘If I must, I go to these clinics, butthe appointments are way off, there are longwaits, and sometimes it’s impossible. I meanI can’t miss much work, either ... And den-tal is really expensive. I could have gotten ajob that provided insurance but I’d actuallyend up making much less.’’’ Michael—Wanatah, 6/29/2009‘‘A few years back Keith had lost his job atthe yogurt factory in town. This providedhealth insurance but now as an owner of athree taxi cab small business, he doesn’thave health insurance. He has significantheart disease and has had six heart attacks,the first one at age 32. For this he’s gottenseven stents (a device placed in the coronaryarteries that keeps them open). The first twowere covered by insurance but since thenhe’s racked up $56,000 in bills which he haspaid down to $12,000. [Interpretative note: Iknow a bit about stents and I was surprisedto hear he had so many. But he did tell methat they continually get blocked up and hetakes Plavix—a form of ‘blood thinner’—toprevent further blockage. I didn’t ask himbut perhaps he has the less-expensive, bare-metal stents as compared to the much moreexpensive drug-eluting stents which are de-signed to reduce the possibility of blockage,or restenosis. While only speculative, I wouldnot be surprised if bare metal stents were tobe preferentially used for patients withoutinsurance. Unfortunately that might meanless cost per operation but it typically re-sults in more operations, ending up in evengreater cost.] Keith—Hanna, 6/29/2009‘‘Ginny lost work and took early retire-ment at 62 but, she told me, ‘The bad thingabout that is that there’s no health insur-ance.’ I nodded. ‘I make too much for the In-diana health care program, but not enoughto pay for medical insurance. It costs atleast $300 a month. I’ve got diabetes and highblood pressure and five grandchildren thatlive with me. My daughter is legally blind soif something happens to me, I don’t knowwhat will happen, who will care for, the chil-dren.’ Perhaps that explains why I look pret-ty grim in the picture. I’m inspired, andhumbled, by the bravery of regular, hard-working Americans.’’ Ginny—Plymouth, 6/30/2009‘‘Jay is the manager of the Days Inn inPlymouth. He told me the story of his uncle(a U.S. citizen by the way) who had a heartattack and required a triple bypass oper-ation. ‘He didn’t have insurance, though andthe operation would cost about $118,000.’There was no way that he could pay thatmoney—the money that would save (or atleast extend) his life. And so he ended uphaving the operation in India which, withairfare, cost about $35,000. Jay shook hishead. ‘It doesn’t make sense how Americacan’t take care of Americans.’’’ Jay—Plym-outh, 6/30/2009‘‘Mike’s the fiance´e of the front desk at-tendant. He doesn’t have insurance havingrecently lost his job. ‘I still owe a bunch of doctor’s bills,’ he told me. ‘I broke my handand right now it’s better but I owe $12,000.’’’Mike—Plymouth, 6/30/2009‘‘Val is 58. She told me, ‘My husband and Ihave worked all our lives, had insurance allour lives and we were both laid off in Novem-ber. We’re looking for jobs and this is thefirst time we’ve had no health insurance.’She looked at me with unbelieving eyes.‘We’re hard-working people, too young forMedicare. We just don’t know what we’lldo.’’’ Val—Plymouth, 6/30/2009‘‘‘I believe government should not be inhealth care,’ Brian told me, though he addedthat he’d like to see some regulatorychanges to actually increase competition,ensure personal responsibility and decreaseprices. ‘The system is sure not working,’ hetold me.’’ Brian—Etna Green, 7/1/2009‘‘Gruff but friendly, and with a face thatoozed sincerity, Harold answered, ‘the insur-ance—80/20, but my wife is totally disabled soshe’s on the Medicaid ... and I got a $5,000deductible! Every year, it just tears me up.We get good care over there at Lutheran inFt. Wayne but it’s outrageous. When the doc-tor gives a regular prescription—not the ge-neric stuff, and the pharmacist automati-cally gives you the generic, makes you sickand then you have to go back to the doctorto get the right stuff to send to the phar-macist, that don’t make no sense.’ I askedHarold if he had any choice of coverage or if this was the only insurance offered. ‘There’sno choice,’ he told me. Indeed ...’’ Harold—Warsaw, 7/1/2009‘‘Scott told me that, ‘There should be lessgovernment involvement. I really think itshould be left in the hands of the people.’ Headded that he used to work in the orthopedicdevice industry (there are many in Warsaw).‘What I feel that would do, if health care wasnationalized, is that it would undervalue theproducts they are making. In the end, Ithink it would work out as what they wouldlose in sales, they would get in volume, butI really feel that the health care scenarioneeds to be left to people, not the govern-ment.’’’ Scott—Warsaw, 7/1/2009‘‘Meeting Krystal in front of the Court-house on Center Street, I explained my walk,its purpose. Krystal asked how many pairs of shoes I have and so I showed her the extrapair strapped in a bag to my backpack andtold her of the several more in the luggage atthe hotel. And with that, we began talkingabout health care. ‘Insurance rates are sky
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