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Ohio

Ohio

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Published by: ogangurel on Jan 26, 2011
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
 Extensions of Remarks
E29
 January 6, 2011
formal presentation will take place on the Uni-versity of Michigan-Flint campus on Monday,January 10.The Carnegie Foundation for the Advance-ment of Teaching created the ‘‘Engaged Uni-versity’’ classification to acknowledge theachievements of schools throughout theUnited States that have created institutionalpractices of community involvement. Univer-sities apply for the classification and are grant-ed the classification based upon their mission,culture, leadership, resources and practices.The University of Michigan-Flint was able todemonstrate the integration of curricular en-gagement, outreach, the exchange of knowl-edge, and partnerships, with the larger com-munity to the benefit of both groups. Theschool has an established practice of honoringfaculty for their involvement, encouraging stu-dents to extend the education process outsideclassroom walls, and utilizing the school’s re-sources to enhance the community.Mr. Speaker, please join me in congratu-lating the chancellor, Dr. Ruth Person, the pro-vost, Dr. Gerard Voland, the faculty, staff, stu-dents and community for their vision, enthu-siasm and commitment to this partnership. Icommend the University of Michigan-Flint fortheir hard work and for receiving this classi-fication from the Carnegie Foundation for theAdvancement of Teaching.
f
THE WALK FOR HEALTHCARE:HEALTHCARE STORIES FROMOHIO COLLECTED BY OGANGUREL, M.D.
HON. DENNIS J. KUCINICH
OF OHIO
 
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, I submit thefollowing stories, collected by Dr. Ogan Gurel.
‘‘Jean doesn’t want socialized medicine.But she also adds that the current systemdoesn’t pay (or reward) for preventative care.But it wasn’t clear to her how either thefree-market or government could changethat. ‘People have to take responsibility fortheir health,’ she told me.’’ Jean—Van Wert,7/4/2009‘‘Todd recently lost his job as a machinist.His wife gets health coverage as a schoolteacher but ‘It’s not good insurance,’ he tellsme. ‘The out-of-pocket payments are ridicu-lous,’ he added. They have two kids—two andfour years old—and he wonders what willhappen if they get sick. ‘It’s a great thingyou’re doing,’ he said, as I shook his hand,thanking him, too, in return.’’ Todd—VanWert, 7/4/2009‘‘Mike, in the middle, shared with me hisfather’s situation. ‘He’s 52 years-old, a re-tired GM, Delphi employee, salaried, he was.’Mike looked at me to make sure I under-stood. ‘He was a salaried worker,’ he re-peated. ‘Which means they took away all hishealth benefits last April. Wage-earners gotto keep their benefits, you know.’ I noddedin acknowledgment. ‘So, he’s too young forMedicare, and now has a bad, bad situa-tion.’’’ Mike—Van Wert, 7/4/2009‘‘John, on the right, told me ‘I have goodinsurance but premiums have gone up 30% inthe last year.’ He took me in to his garage,out from drizzle, to meet his family andfriends. ‘I’m not happy with the healthcaresituation,’ he told me.’’ John—Van Wert, 7/4/2009‘‘Serving up a cup of coffee, Holly, at theRooster coffee shop, told me she doesn’t havehealth insurance. ‘I hope basically not to getsick,’ she said with a serious look beyond heryouth. ‘Pretty much that’s it.’’’ Holly—Mid-dle Point, 7/4/2009‘‘Tara, the cook at the Rooster truck stopnear Middle Point, Ohio, has no insurance.‘It’s just too much ... that’s the situa-tion.’’’ Tara—Middle Point, 7/4/2009‘‘Dee told me the story of her uncle. He hada heart attack a few years back resulting incardiac surgery and a bill for $145,000. ‘Dee,I’m dying,’ he said, not clear, as Dee told me,whether he was referring to his health trou-bles or the financial burdens. Dee told heruncle to change his diet, do yoga, lots of walking, and other things to improve hislifestyle and health. And so he heeded heradvice and actually, to do these things, wentback to India. Returning some months later,he proudly called Dee telling her that he washealthier, no longer had diabetes, and no hy-pertension. But, he lamented, ‘I still owe$145,000.’’’ Dee—Van Wert, 7/5/2009‘‘Jim drove out from Ft. Wayne (afterhearing the news) and met up with me nearMiddle Point on his bike. We walked to-gether for seven miles talking healthcareand healthcare reform along with manyother topics. He’s a Yale grad, which goes toshow that even traditional rivalries can walktogether towards a common goal. He believesin basic care for all but, as he told me, ‘thedefinition of what is basic becomes problem-atic. And those that can afford more thanthe basic,’ he added, ‘should be able to getit.’’’ Jim—Gomer, 7/5/2009‘‘Nancy is 60, without work and withouthealth insurance. She has recently moved inwith her mother. She has two prescriptionswhich cost her $140 a month and works oddjobs to pay for one of these. She lives oneday at a time and hopes that there’ll behealthcare reform, ‘So people like me canget the prescriptions we need.’ We met on aporch in Gomer (she was helping to clean upsomeone’s home) where she brought me somejuice. Here she is on the roadside near Lima,later that afternoon, bringing me a glass of water as she was driving to her mother’splace.’’ Nancy—Gomer, 7/5/2009‘‘Gloria’s husband died three years ago.She now has $1,600 a month between SocialSecurity and the Ford pension. ‘It’s a goodplan,’ with prescriptions at $2 each, she toldme. Her other story, which bothered herdeeply, was about her son. He had retiredafter 22 years of distinguished service in theNavy—the highly stressful submarine serviceonce dueling daily, in secret, with the SovietNavy. He had a quadruple bypass and also anabdominal aneurysm operation. ‘All thatwent well,’ she said, ‘but he had a very toughtime getting reimbursed, especially since hisoperations left him very sick and weak.’ Hehad to fight to reimbursed while lying in bedrecovering. ‘I’ve seen other veteran’s havethe same struggles,’ Gloria told me. ‘And it’sa real shame we treat our heroes this way.’’’Gloria—Lima, 7/5/2009‘‘Grace, the youngest, hasn’t had anyhealthcare troubles and is hoping to get in-surance as a student when she enrolls in col-lege. She does believe that some sort of healthcare reform is necessary.’’ Grace—Lima, 7/5/2009‘‘Kimberly has a brain aneurysm, which,she told me, ‘they are watching.’ She’s alsohad a falling bladder problem, which theyare not doing surgery on. In terms of insur-ance, she’s on Medicaid and Medicare buttold me, ‘I can’t afford the medicines’. Other-wise, it’s not been a problem. Everybody,’she added smiling with a serious look,‘should have insurance.’ Her effervescentdaughter, Tiffany, gave her mother a hug.’’Kimberly—Lima, 7/5/2009‘‘Steve, a financial consultant, wants thegovernment out of healthcare. He believesthat health insurance should be private (andthrough the employer). ‘Government messeseverything up,’ he tells me. ‘Actually, Imake my living fixing up government ac-counting troubles,’ he added. But he does be-lieve that the healthcare system could bemuch more efficient.’’ Steve—Lima, 7/6/2009‘‘Brad, the manager at the Lima HolidayInn, was enormously helpful and supportiveof the Walk. When I met him, he agreed thatit’s important to get the story out and toldme, ‘it is really terrible with all the unin-sured. Even if you have insurance,’ he added,‘I’ve seen how difficult it is dealing with theinsurance companies.’’’ Brad—Lima, 7/6/2009‘‘With an angry look on his face, Rogertold me very clearly that does not like theObama plan at all. But he also doesn’t likecorporate interests driving reform. ‘We doneed some change—it’s incredibly expensive,’he told me further, citing his father’s case.He had gotten a pacemaker and defibrillatorand, ‘Everything cost more than $200,000!’’’Roger—New Stark, 7/6/2009‘‘Kara’s 19 years old and had most recentlybeen just under her parent’s health coverage.‘But after nineteen, they take you off,’ shetold me, and she’s now in the process of re-enrolling in her own plan. During thisswitch, she’s actually without coverage. Shesighed, ‘My current job doesn’t pay enoughto afford insurance and then, when I’m incollege, two years from now, I’ll have to re-apply.’ She’s got asthma and fibromyalgia.It’s a real problem, she told me as she’s ‘real-ly worried’ about pre-existing conditions dis-qualifying her or making her insurance tooexpensive.’’ Kara—Lima, 7/6/2009‘‘Kate’s insurance costs her $200/month.She threw her hands up and exclaimed,‘That’s a car payment!’ She looked me in theeye and continued. ‘So, I’m 55 and no busi-ness not having insurance but I can’t affordit.’ She told me about her carpal tunnel syn-drome, that she had had a mild stroke and anagging rotator cuff injury. For the rotatorcuff, she can’t afford the MRI. ‘Actually,’ sheadded, ‘HCAP, a state program, can takecare of the actual MRI but not the reading.So,’ she said with a sigh, ‘I can’t afford it.’Her husband doesn’t have health insuranceeither. ‘He’s got two bulging discs in hisspine but can’t do anything about it. So hecan’t work and spends the day reclining onthe couch.’’’ Kate—Lima, 7/6/2009‘‘Heather (on the right) is 23 and recentlydivorced. She had good insurance throughthe marriage and actually had significantgastrointestinal problems for which she hadfour surgeries. She had a gall bladder oper-ation, colonoscopies, ‘they looked down mystomach too,’ and also sinus surgery. Shenow works two jobs (the one at Applebee’sprovides insurance but takes up the entirepaycheck). ‘It’s so strange,’ she adds, ‘I haveto get a money order to actually cover it andsend it to the health insurance companyheadquarters—$120/month. But I went to thedentist and still paid $30. But without insur-ance it cost $40, the dentist told me.’ Shelooked over at her friend, who nodded insympathy. ‘I don’t think insurance makessense at all.’’’ Heather—Lima, 7/6/2009‘‘Joe, the flagger at the construction site,believes in individual responsibility and ac-countability. ‘The government alwaysmesses things up,’ he said, but he likes theWalk—‘you’re doing a good thing,’ and con-cluded by saying, ‘some change is definitelyneeded.’’’ Joe—New Stark, 7/7/2009‘‘I met John, a traveling salesman, at din-ner. He’s got coverage, for which he is grate-ful for. He’s been pretty healthy but feelsthat ‘it is important that all people havehealth insurance.’’’ John—Lima, 7/7/2009‘‘Reuben actually stopped by the roadsideto walk with me. He told me the story of hisnephew, who’s an Ob-Gyn doctor in Mary-land. ‘His entire paycheck nearly all goes to
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
 Extensions of Remarks
E30
 January 6, 2011
malpractice insurance,’ Reuben told me. ‘In-surance companies are trying to get every-one who can pay, even by coercion.’ He toldme he thinks it’s important to keep the prof-it mongering out of the health insurancebusiness. ‘It’s devastating,’ he added. Interms of his own health insurance, as a childhe survived Hodgkin’s disease but has re-cently been diagnosed non-Hodgkin’slymphoma. ‘It’s a risk factor of childhoodHodgkin’s disease,’ I told him. ‘Yes, I know.’Though his insurance was ‘80/20,’ as he put it,he did pretty well. ‘That’s good,’ I said as wetook a rest by the roadside.’’ Reuben—UpperSandusky, 7/8/2009‘‘Donna is the director of the Lighthousehomeless shelter (where I had stayed, whilein Bucyrus). It was a nice, clean place which,as she told me, ‘helps people when their mostin need. The men here have gotta be clean of drugs, no criminal history, but they’re oth-erwise down-and-out.’ Her husband, 73 yearsold, is now on Medicare/SSI and had a com-plicated cardiac condition. He suffered aheart attack during a cath procedure andwas taken by air ambulance to Columbus. Hehad a quadruple bypass and they ended upwith $250,000 in medical bills. Medicare wentto 80%. They lost all their retirement in thestock market and now survive only on SocialSecurity. They are filing for bankruptcy.‘The angel of the poor has, apparently, be-come poor herself because of our healthcaresystem.’ In terms of herself, Donna has nohealth insurance. She’s got atrial fibrillation(a heart rhythm abnormality) as well as dia-betes and she pays for medicines out-of-pocket. But, thinking always of those lessfortunate than her, she knows of many peo-ple all around who do without their medica-tions because they can’t afford them.’’Donna—Bucyrus, 7/8/2009‘‘Gary thinks we’re way over-prescribed.As he put it, ‘Too much medicines and phar-maceutical costs are skyrocketing.’ He’sbeen a retiree for the past eleven years andinitially his health coverage was good. Butpremiums have steadily increased over theyears so that by now more than two-thirds of his retirement income goes towards healthinsurance. I asked Gary if I could take hispicture, to which he replied, ‘Sure, why not?They can’t punish me anymore.’’’ Gary—Bucyrus, 7/8/2009‘‘Todd’s a forklift operator and has gen-erally been very healthy. He once had footsurgery but had insurance. He believes thathospitals gouge people because there’s, ‘Nohealthcare system in place, no choice, and sothey can overcharge those who pay, espe-cially if out-of-pocket.’ I observed an inter-esting story with the cat, a metaphoricalcommentary on how our healthcare systemtreats people. It turns out the cat is neardeath with a urinary tract infection. Hecould not urinate for days and the vet toldthem that the pet, quiet hiding the entiretime I was there, could die any day now. AsI got ready to leave, I suddenly heard somedesperate moaning, followed by a piercingyelp. I turned around to see the cat uri-nating right on the floor in front of his food.‘Looks like he’ll live another day,’ saidTodd, standing over the now exhausted cat.Todd looked over at me and added, ‘If hewasn’t so sick, I’d slap him for peeing on thefloor.’ It’s tragically ironic that with people,so many stories play out exactly the oppo-site: people get slapped around precisely be-cause they ARE sick.’’ Todd—Bucyrus, 7/8/2009‘‘‘As a single mom, healthcare has alwaysbeen a struggle for me and my children,’ Kimtells me. ‘I have worked many jobs, as a so-cial worker, in a hospital, and now as a re-porter. These are good jobs but with the pay,healthcare premiums are just too expensive.’Her daughter has both bipolar disorder andADHD and she was on her father’s insuranceuntil January. But as Kim can’t her own cov-erage, her daughter must do with Medicaid.‘Easier said than done,’ Kim said. It tooktwo months for her to get approved and inthe meantime, Kim paid out-of-pocket over$400 for her daughter’s various medications.‘It put us in a real financial hardship withthe house payment, utilities, and all that.’’’Kim—Bucyrus, 7/9/2009‘‘According to George, ‘public delivery of health care sounds like a good but it couldgo bad.’ He added that, ‘Our system is wayover priced but if you’re on a plan, you’regolden.’’’ George—Mansfield, 7/9/2009‘‘This gentleman had Stage IV melanomawith metastases to the brain. He had exten-sive treatments and his life was saved butthe biggest problem, he told me, ‘Was theclerical and billing side. The paperwork andscheduling was horrible.’ He summarized hisvery complicated tour through thehealthcare system as follows: ‘the clinicalside was wonderful, the administrative a dis-aster.’’’ Mansfield, 7/9/2009‘‘I met Linda at the drugstore during oneof my regular visits for antibiotic ointment.People often wonder why I buy five or sixtubes at a time. She told me she’s OK nowbut previously had Aetna as her health in-surance carrier. ‘It was a real problem,’ shesaid, as no providers in her vicinity werecovered: ’There was no choice, I had to go allthe way to Columbus for my care.’’’ Mans-field, 7/10/2009‘‘I stopped at Mr. T’s coffee shop on theeastside of Mansfield. ‘I have no healthcare,’Richard told me. ‘My doctor bills are $60 andthey, Medicare, pays $15. We definitely needsome healthcare reform.’’’ Richard—Mans-field, 7/10/2009‘‘Glendale’s a World War II vet (CoastGuard). He tells me that being in the VA sys-tem, he’s had no problems with health care.He had a heart attack six years ago with aquadruple bypass but, ‘now,’ he said, ‘I’mdoing fine.’ He’s been retired for 23 years,gets his medications from the VA and alsoreceives Medicare and retirement benefits. ‘Ihope they get that healthcare in this coun-try worked out, there’s so many people with-out it,’ he said. This is a man who fought forfreedom; has his fight been in vain?’’ Glen-dale—Mansfield, 7/10/2009‘‘On a hot afternoon, Jane’s store, Mun-chies, was a godsend. After downing waterand ice cream, I asked her if she had anyhealthcare stories. She didn’t offer any, butdid say, ‘I hope something gets done for ev-eryone to have some health care insurancewithout hardship ... especially for our sen-iors.’’’ Jane—Mansfield, 7/10/2009‘‘On this hot afternoon, along the long roadeast of Mifflin, I began getting desperatelythirsty. A generous family answered myknock and I spoke with three generations of whom the oldest, Clara, told me her story.She described a situation with Aetna (Medi-care supplemental plan) where her husbandhad gotten an infection and required a ten-day course of antibiotics—ten pills. ‘ButAetna would only authorize four pills at atime,’ she told me. This meant that for eachtime, in order to fulfill the full ten-daycourse, they had to drive forty minutes.That made three round-trips in total. Such a‘ridiculous expense and hassle,’ she said.’’Clara—Ashland, 7/10/2009‘‘I had just entered Mifflin, when a womansitting on her porch waved and asked, ‘Areyou the doctor in the newspaper?’ She stoodup holding the newspaper in her hand as I an-swered, yes, and approached the steps to herhome. She offered me water. ‘That’s incred-ible, I was just reading about you—whatkarma.’ And we talked about healthcare.‘The high deductibles in health insurance areridiculous,’ she said. ‘There’s a lack of cov-erage, and you need to keep changing plansto get a decent rate.’’’ Sharon—Mifflin, 7/10/2009‘‘Dave has Type I diabetes (insulin-depend-ent) after suffering a bout of pancreatitis afew years ago. ‘Coverage keeps dropping andthe cost keeps going up,’ he said.’’ Dave—Mifflin, 7/10/2009‘‘Danelle (pictured here with her two love-ly children) described a situation with hercousin, Barbara. She had a hysterectomywhich turned out to be a very bloody oper-ation and lasted over four hours. The insur-ance only allowed a 36-hour hospital stayand the doctor said that she needed more.‘But,’ Danelle told me wistfully, ‘she waskicked out anyway.’’’ Danelle—Mansfield, 7/10/2009‘‘‘I’ve had no insurance most of the lastyear,’ said Ida. She herself has diabetes andher husband has a spinal problems. ‘Theywere very fortunate,’ she told me, becauseher husband ‘got his surgery at the Cleve-land Clinic under a special program.’ It hadbeen an extensive operation involving mul-tiple spinal levels as well as titanium rodsbeing inserted. ‘But,’ she said, ‘all medicalexpenses were covered.’ That’s great, I said.‘Well, otherwise, healthcare has been a dis-aster.’’’ Ida—Orrville, 7/11/2009‘‘I met Kenneth at McDonald’s over break-fast. A retiree, he told me he’s been gen-erally pretty healthy. Except for last yearwhen, ‘He came down with a serious case of pneumonia.’ How’d that go, I asked. ‘Notgood. I don’t feel as strong as before. And,when I returned home, there was a stack of bills waiting for me.’ Did you have insur-ance? ‘Yes. But, the insurance pays onlywhat they think is necessary. All sorts of specialists came to see me, and how would Iknow if it was necessary or not? I ended upowing $1,800.’ He hasn’t declared bankruptcyquite yet but, ‘I’m getting a lawyer,’ he toldme. ‘And I’m not fully recovered!’’’ Ken-neth—Canton, 7/12/2009‘‘I met Andrew and his family at the DairyQueen in Minerva. They have a complicatedstory. First, there are four members of thefamily. The youngest daughter who was tooshy to get her picture taken (even with herparents and older sister holding the camera)is hidden behind the three. So she’s in thepicture, but invisible (a parable for the unin-sured). Her story will come soon enough.First, Andrew. He’s a trucker, worked for CREngland for four years and during his em-ployment (when he had health insurance) hehad an operation for a total hip replacement.‘I’ve had this problem for years,’ he told me.‘Pain in the hip—both hips actually—and itbecame dangerous to use pain-killers for along time. So, I was glad to have the oper-ation.’ But the company laid him off tendays after the surgery and he lost his insur-ance. The complained for wrongful termi-nation and he was actually offered a job toreturn (Andrew knew the company was atfault) but this new job did not offer anyhealthcare insurance. So he had to quit. ‘Myrecovery is still slow,’ and with such a com-plicated surgery, follow-up is necessary. ButAndrew can’t afford the $300 fee for any of the appointments with the surgeon. Now thestory of the little girl. I didn’t get hername—let’s call her Jane Doe. Her mothertold me, ‘She’s got a terrible problem withher teeth, the dentist said bacteria is eatingat her teeth and it could go to her brain.’But because the family lost their coverage,‘We’ve had to cancel the operation.’ So, whyis Jane Doe hiding from the camera? Is it be-cause she’s a shy four year-old? Or becauseshe’s already old enough to be embarrassedabout her teeth? Or perhaps she’s trauma-tized by the whole situation, even if shedoesn’t fully understand it. Or is she simplyinvisible much like many of the other unin-sured.’’ Andrew—Minerva, 7/12/2009
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