The governor told me about this story a few weeks ago. I’m glad to see that it’s finally getting some coverage…
As a press aide to the governor, Annie Thompson helped promote a plan to improve health care access, but didn’t think much about the realities of facing serious illness without insurance.
Now she can think of little else.
In early May, Thompson’s uninsured mother finally agreed to see a doctor for her abdominal pain. The doctors found a softball-sized mass.
Her mother, Pat, underwent surgery for colon cancer and spent about two weeks in the hospital, piling up nearly $100,000 in debt. After a delay over money, she’s starting chemotherapy, with most of the cost covered by a state program she can join only because one of her daughters hasn’t yet turned 19.
“I realized what a struggle it is when you don’t have health insurance. When she was in the hospital, she was turning down pain medications because she knew that every little pill, every little IV bag was going to up the tab,” said Annie Thompson, 25. “It just hit me all of a sudden: It’s a real issue. It’s not just political games.”
There is a valuable lesson in this story, however. It’s very dangerous to drop your health insurance, even if your premiums skyrocket…
Pat Thompson, a self-employed daycare provider in Springfield, said she dropped her health insurance three or four years ago when her premiums tripled to about $300 a month.
“I took the chance and lost,” said Pat, who is in her 50s but wouldn’t give an exact age.
We’ve had innumerable debates about the pros and cons of the governor’s health insurance plan, and over whether or not the state actually should intervene. It’s gotten repetitive and we’ve all gotten the gist by now.
Instead, today let’s discuss your own personal health insurance situations, and any horror stories you might have about yourselves or your families and friends.