Healthcare reform...my granddaughter could have died tonight

@spalladino (17923)
United States
May 4, 2010 12:05am CST
I wasn't going to start a discussion about this because I'm too emotionally raw right now but I feel compelled to share this on behalf of my granddaughter and everyone else like her. As some of you already know my granddaughter has type 1 diabetes and dealing with her illness has been difficult ever since she was diagnosed 6 years ago. She had a birthday on April 16th. She turned 19 and is no longer covered on her mother's employer provided insurance. Because of the seriousness of her illness my granddaughter, her mother and I have searched high and low for some kind of insurance coverage for her. She is uninsurable. Denied again and again because of her preexisting condition and the fact that she has been hospitalized many times because of it. Katie works 2 part-time jobs because she has not been able to find a full time job and that is not due to a lack of trying. She's willing to do anything in exchange for employer provided health insurance because of her medical condition. She also goes to college part time. Her insulin and testing strips alone cost over $200 each month. But, that's minor compared to what happened today. Today my step daughter went home for lunch. My granddaughter was home and she was very, very sick. Her sugar was through the roof, she was barely able to talk and was having trouble breathing. She hadn't told anyone that she was having problems for two days. She tried to deal with it herself because she didn't want to incure any expenses that she couldn't afford to cover on her own and she didn't want to burden anyone in the family even though so many of us have insisted that we will help with all of her medical expenses. She was unable to walk on her own and, when my stepdaughter picked up the phone to call 911, my granddaughter managed to say "No, too expensive" but the call was made anyway because my stepdaughter was scared that Katie wouldn't make it if she drove her to the hospital. So, now my granddaughter is in ICU, in full blown DKA (Diabetic ketoacidosis), which is very serious, with a resting heart rate in the last hour of 130, which is an improvement over what it had been. Had my granddaughter been able to continue to hide the fact that she was sick...had she gone to sleep tonight without her mother knowing that there was a problem then, according to the doctor, she would not have made it through the night. This has never happened to us before. We have never almost lost this sweet, beautiful, loving young woman to this disease because she was afraid to seek help when she needed it. Many of the folks who post here are against healthcare reform. There are lies posted about people losing their medicare coverage and half truths about taxes. But, in the end, this is about people...living, breathing people who are loved by their families and who are forced all too often to choose between what they need to survive and what they can afford. So, I ask all of you...is there any humanity left in this country? If I started a discussion tomorrow about my granddaughter being found dead in her bed would you still stand by your convictions? A 19 year old girl should not die from a treatable illness because she can't affored to go to the hospital in the greatest country in the world. That shouldn't even be a consideration.
16 people like this
31 responses
@Taskr36 (13923)
• United States
5 May 10
Spall, I hope your granddaughter makes a full recovery. Honestly, I could argue the whole healthcare thing with you right now, but I don't think any good would come of it, and it certainly wouldn't make you feel any better. Just know that your goddaughter is in my prayers.
3 people like this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
5 May 10
Thank you taskr for your consideration. I needed to vent last night but I also wanted to illustrate some of the very real issues that people face when it comes to healthcare. Katie is spending another night in the hospital and, in all honesty, I believe that the financial stress she's feeling right now is hampering her recovery. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9123)
4 May 10
this sort of thing is so sad. I remember being completely and utterly dumbfounded when I first heard that America doesn't have an equivalent to the NHS. just the thought of someone undergoing medical treatment and then having to pay the bill for it just sounds like the sort of thing that would only happen in third world countries. the NHS is not perfect, but how anyone can think that free healthcare is a bad thing is just beyond me.
3 people like this
@sid556 (31000)
• United States
4 May 10
Hi Spalladino, Thank goodness for your step-daughter walking in when she did. I know how she feels about the medical bills piling up but this is her life! The hospitals do offer payment plans and also some financial aide to those that can't afford it. I also can't afford insurance and working for a small business, my employer can't afford to provide it. I do agree that something should be done in the way of health reform. Someone like your granddaughter who needs the insurance more than someone like myself who rarely goes to the doctors should not be denied it and it should be affordable. The insurance companies are ridiculous in that they take on only healthy insureds and charge a large amount in premiums. Overall, I am sure that they get far more in premiums then they have t0 pay out in medical costs which is why they have such large profits. A few years ago I did have insurance and I never used it. I paid 37.00 per week for years ....just in case. I take that back. I did use it once and the insurance company gave me such a hard time about covering.
2 people like this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
5 May 10
Hi Opal! Yes, the hospital has been very supportive and they've tried to ease Katie's mind about the bill. A lady from Patient Services talked to her today about applying for something but the problem is that she lives with her parents who earn over $100k per year and you know government assistance is based on household income. I've been spoiled...had great coverage through all of my employers and am now covered by the V.A. because of my husband's disability. If I didn't have two family members facing these issues I would have no reason to be aware of them...but they do exist.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
5 May 10
I'm sorry sid, I was reading through the responses and mixed up mine! My response was directed at you...I just got the name wrong.
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31000)
• United States
5 May 10
That's ok Spalladino. I think this is an excellent discussion. I'm sure many people don't realize the situation it puts some people in until it hits close to home. I'm glad your granddaughter is going to be alright.
1 person likes this
@laglen (19779)
• United States
4 May 10
Spalladino, I am very sorry for you and your family and I will pray for you all and your granddaughter. I hope the doctors are able to get her better and get her home. You know that I am not a big supporter of the health care reform but I just can not find it in my heart to debate you right now. So, I will respectfully bow out of the debate and let you know that your all in my thoughts and prayers.
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
5 May 10
Thanks laglen for your consideration. As I posted somewhere else in this discussion, I don't expect to change anyone's mind...I needed to vent and what better plac then mylot, right?
2 people like this
@laglen (19779)
• United States
5 May 10
Exactly and you had damn good cause! I would never kick you when your down and I figured you needed to let it out. Its better than hitting old ladies or kicking kittens!
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
7 May 10
LOL...you certainly have a way with words. I would never do that!
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164354)
• Garden Grove, California
5 May 10
now you see why I get so angry at p eople here in the us who spout all that baloney about universal health care making us socialists, right now reading about your granddaughter I just want to cry. as a diabetic of long standing I know all too well what diabetic ketoacidosis is and I feel for you really. I am going to suggest that you contact American DiabeticAssociation,com and see if you can get some real medical help for your granddaughter. I did not read your profile so do not know if you are here in the US but I think no matter where you are they can help if only in giving you phone numbers and places to go to, I know they are trying to remedy these situations like your precious granddaughter is in. I am all for healthcare reform, we need it here in the US desperately and I wish others could see why we need it so badly. I am going to do some searching of my own too. good luck hope you can get some real help.
2 people like this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
5 May 10
Thank you Hatley, I will check that out. Yes, I'm in the U.S...in Florida but my granddaughter is in Maryland.
1 person likes this
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
4 May 10
I am praying for your Granddaughter and hope she recovers soon. I still have concerns over the Health Care Bill. I would like to see real Health Care Reform and not a Government run Health Care System. It sounds like your Granddaughter is trying to be responsible and these are the people we should be looking to help rather than those who are trying to game the system. My daughter was on the Medicine Insurance (State run Health Insurance) for a short time. I was never so frustrated trying to help her and my Granddaughter get medical help. She was referred to a specialist who was 80 miles away but in a different state or she could see on in state that was 250 miles away. The state required her to go in state and would pay mileage and overnight expenses. They would not pay my mileage to drive her (she had a broken leg and could not drive) but would medical transportation service to take her. When she asked if she could go to the neighboring state she was told we prefer to keep the payments in state, even though they would pay more to transport her and pay her overnight expenses than the cost of the Dr visit.
2 people like this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
5 May 10
Isn't that so ridiculous? The system is definitely broken, and I don't pretend to know what the best solution is, but something has got to be done.
1 person likes this
@jb78000 (15166)
4 May 10
this is absolutely awful spall, and i am really sorry about what you all have been going through
2 people like this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
4 May 10
Thanks jb. I'm going to be dragging tomorrow. It's 3:30 in the morning here and my husband is so stressed that he can't sleep so I'm being a good wife and staying up with him...but not for much longer. This scared the he11 out of us...all of us.
2 people like this
@pumared (515)
• Bulgaria
4 May 10
diet is not good
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
4 May 10
Hi pumared. Katie's diet is fine. She's not new to this illness. Her case is difficult...it has been from the start.
2 people like this
• United States
4 May 10
You can have a perfect diet and that doesnt make the diabetes go away. Yes it is important to keep very close track of your diet when you have diabetes but there will still be complications. My brother has diabetes and no health insurance because exactly like your grand daughter no insurance company will touch him...and he takes very good care of himself diet wise but because of the fact that he is very tall (7'1) he has some very serious complications with it and we know he probably wont live much longer and it drives me nuts because he lives alone and if he passed out or something no one would even know. Can your grand daughter get medicaid? I am sorry to hear you are going through this....I know all too well just how awful it is to be very sick but still not go to the hospital because you are worried about the cost....no one should have to deal with that! Im praying for your grand daughter!!!
• United States
5 May 10
I know I sound unfeeling, but I have no doubt that there are a multitude of stories like yours, but none of these stories are enough to make Obama's health care bill a good thing. Already so many of the states as well as many companies are saying they just can't afford this bill. People and companies can be taxed just so far. If I were you, I wouldn't depend on the government to come through for your granddaughter, so maybe she should make other arrangements to be sure she has money for her medication; and since your family has already said they'd help, maybe you all could set up some sort of fund to be used in case of emergencies.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 May 10
Since the healthcare doesn't start for four years, but the taxes start now, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Obamacare to solve any problems today or four years from now.
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
7 May 10
I thought I was pretty clear in my OD, but maybe I wasn't. Katie does not lack medication or anything else she needs. The family and her parents have already told her that we'll cover all of her medical expenses. Keep in mind that it's only been a little over two weeks since she lost her insurance coverage. She made a bad decision that we're confident she won't make again. Mystic, it's my understanding that the high risk pool will be set up earlier than four years from now.
• United States
5 May 10
This is precisely why I am for (those that aren't, don't shoot me) the health care reform. I believe there is a better way to institute it though. But we should start be taking what we can get for know and reform it later until it makes sense. I have insurance, some of the best insurance available in my area through my husbands job and we don't pay for it at all (zero). I even have Medicare (which I do pay for) as my second because I'm on disability. If I lost my husbands insurance due to reform, I would be devastated because my medical bills would skyrocket (most likely). HOWEVER, I am willing to give up some coverage so that we are all covered. The problem is that those that have it good don't want to give it up, I get it, but it's selfish. We need to follow the examples of Europe and even Canada and get our stuff together. I really hope that your granddaughter makes a turnaround and that you'll be able to get coverage for her soon. Good luck to you.
@anniepa (27246)
• United States
5 May 10
Your post could have been written by me! I, too, am covered by my husband's job. We also have excellent coverage and, at least for now, don't pay any of the premium. I'm also on disability and therefore also have Medicare, which I also pay for. I'm in total agreement that if I lose a little bit or have to pay a little more it will be worth it so nobody has to go through what Spall's granddaughter is going through. As I've said before, this is a moral issue, not an economic or political one. Annie
@BCRMike (279)
• Vanderhoof, British Columbia
4 May 10
Is it any wonder that I strongly support universal health care? Prescriptions, basic health care... People denying themselves or loved ones care because of cost is obscene. And costs of for profit health care are utterly ridiculous. Imagine. Deliberately going out and contracting diabetes just so she can rip off some poor IN-surance company of billions of dollars in profits. Those poor hard done by IN-surance companies need a good old fashioned spanking. And by spanking, they need some competition from government run, universal health care. Actually, you can deny them entry into the market all. Greed killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. Greed killed IN-surance in every other country in the industrialized world. They need to be gone from there too.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
5 May 10
Obscene is right. My husband's brother is a cancer survivor and I was shocked by what I found when we were looking for private insurance for him. Deductables in the thousands before benefits kicked in...and then he was denied!
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31653)
• United States
4 May 10
Like you, I don't agree with forcing people to have insurance and using the IRS to enforce it. I do think we need something for people like your granddaughter, though. It's ridiculous that she should have had to go through that and nearly lose her life because it's too expensive to get taken care of. There are many other things that Congress could have done to improve costs and this thing will bankrupt us as a nation. I'm very worried about all we are spending. However, as you said, a person's life can't be valued in terms of money. I'm so glad that your granddaughter got to the hospital and is being taken care of! However, the stress of all that expense will most likely wear on her horribly as she tries to recover and that's a crime in itself. I don't think anything should be free but there's no reason she should not be able to negotiate a price that is reasonable to pay back. There are a lot of problems with medical costs and it's not right that they should be unaffordable to a normal person who works hard and is responsible. I hope she continues to improve!
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
5 May 10
Thanks dragon, and you're right, the stress she's feeling right now is not helping her to improve at all. My husband and I talked to her today and she's not only worried about the cost of this hospitalization but she's also feeling very guilty about upsetting her parents and us because she felt that she couldn't be open about what was going on with her body. Ever since she was first diagnosed she knew the importance of letting her family know if she was high or low...if she wasn't feeling right. We all became experts in managing her disease so she feels like she let everyone down. It's sad...she's a good girl, graduated high school with honors, and I hate that she's beating herself up right now and worrying like she is.
@Wizzywig (7858)
4 May 10
I think its appalling that a persons medical care should boil down to a question of money & I am so grateful that we have our NHS. It is not perfect and many people complain about it but, your granddaughter would have been able to ask for help as soon as she began to feel unwell, all her medication & treatment would be free. I feel so sorry for this brave, selfless young lady and wish her a speedy recovery. I know that DKA is serious and requires fast action. I dont know exactly how your proposed healthcare reforms would run but, surely any system that saves the lives of ordinary people has to be good doesn't it? My very best wishes to all of you
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
7 May 10
Thanks wizzywig. There are far too many people like my granddaughter in this country. Reform is long overdue.
@k15682 (301)
• United States
4 May 10
Spall, So sorry to hear about your granddaughter. I agree with everything you said, hopefully this HC reform will at least be an answer for so many people with no coverage until something better is done. It's not a perfect bill but it's better than what we had. Good luck you you and yours.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
4 May 10
Thank you k. I don't think this bill is perfect but it's better than what we currently have. The thought that we could have lost Katie at 19 years old over money upsets me so much. The hospital bills are going to be outrageous and I still worry about the next time because of them. My husband has already said that he'll cash in a CD if necessary and pay all of it off so she doesn't feel the need to hesitate the next time.
2 people like this
• Philippines
4 May 10
I am so sorry to hear about your situation and that your grandaughter. I am so touched by your discussion. I am just new here in the USA, and I have heard about the new health care reform. Honestly, I still do not understand it that much, and because of your topic, am interested to understanding it more. I am sad that your grandaughter could not get any insurance because of the existing diabetic condition she has. Although I am knowledgeable about this, but am pretty sure there are other programs/insurance-like policies that will cover your grandaughter. You are all in my prayers.
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
4 May 10
Thank you chrissa. All prayers are definitely appreciated. Unfortunately, there are no programs available for my granddaughter as long as she's living with her parents. Household income disqualifies her for government assistance. This is why we need reform in this country.
1 person likes this
@cyrus123 (6364)
• United States
4 May 10
I am so sorry that your granddaughter is so sick! Please know I will be praying for her, you, and your family. I just wish there were some kind of healthcare coverage she could get. So many people are against what Barack Obama is doing about healthcare. If he had a family member suffering like this, I bet he would think twice about what he's doing. I just hope and pray your granddaughter will get better.
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
4 May 10
Thanks cyrus. This legislation will soon make it possible for my granddaughter to be covered in the high risk pool. While I don't like the mandate that requires everyone to participate, I do believe that something needs to be done. I appreciate your prayers and your kind thoughts.
1 person likes this
@hmkoct5 (2066)
• United States
5 May 10
I am so sorry this happened to her. I'm sure it is very scary. I am not against healthcare reform. I am against a complete overhaul of the system. I am worried about the costs of the reform that passed. I also feel they went too fast. I didn't understand the big rush. It should be done right, not fast. But, I am definitely for healthcare reform. It is not right that people should die or get sick because they can't afford care. I wholeheartedly agree with that. I truly hope she will be okay and recover quickly and that now that healthcare has passed, that this won't happen to her again.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84142)
• Shingle Springs, California
5 May 10
And this is exactly the reason that we need some kind of health coverage for every citizen. There is no reason somebody should have to beggar themselves just to get their medical needs taken care of. I hope your granddaughter is better very, very soon. PS Is there any chance if she were to become a full time student, that her parent's insurance would cover her? Many of them do...
1 person likes this
@bunnybon7 (39366)
• Holiday, Florida
5 May 10
How is that possible? a little over 2 yrs ago, i had no insurance, hadnt gotten my disability yet, had my house on the market trying to sell before forclosure, lived with my daughter, had no money. woke up at 5 am and couldnt hardly breathe. i had pneumonia on top of my emphezema. daughter rushed me to the hospital. yes, we had to sign papers to pay a little at a time, but they treated me in ICU. 12 hrs of touch and go. tubes all in me,an IV, oxygen, shots even in my stomache, etc. that was in florida though. is there really a state where they are allowed to refuse treatment? wouldnt they be afraid of law suits? where do you live?
@andy77e (5163)
• United States
5 May 10
It's a lie. This is a made up story. I have a minimal coverage insurance policy because I'm poor. Yet the hospital treated me like a king, and gave me first class service. Of course I had to pay for it, and rightfully so. This is just more socialist garbage to support Obama's garbage plan that is going to triple the cost to everyone, including the poor.
@jb78000 (15166)
5 May 10
andy - what an appalling thing to say simply because it does not fit your world view. this is a respected user who is going through a lot and certainly not telling lies to try and make a point. i understand in the states only emergency treatment is provided but i'll let americans come in and explain it to you.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
5 May 10
Where are you two (not jb obviously) getting the idea that my granddaughter has received less than the best care the hospital can provide? bunnybon, Katie is still in the hospital...they didn't refuse to treat her nor did they hesitate to admit her...she was seriously ill. The main point of my discussion was that, for the first time ever, Katie did not let her mother know that her blood sugar was unstable and that she had ketones. She tried to avoid going to the hospital, which was something she needed to do, for one reason and one reason only...she lost her insurance coverage and was too concerned about the costs involved. This could have cost her her life. Andy, I do not lie nor do I make up stories. Your accusations are based on nothing more than gross ignorance of real life.
2 people like this
@urbandekay (18311)
4 May 10
This is insane in a supposed civilised country; first class medical care free at the point of contact is the mark of a civilised country. I do not understand why Americans are not up in arms demanding the same standard as we enjoy in Europe. We watch aghast in horror, American television shows where people are asked for insurance details before being treated in casualty departments of hospitals. Best wishes for your granddaughter urban
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
4 May 10
Thanks urban. I think part of the problem is that so many Americans benefit from group health insurance plans through their employers which cost them very little and offer great benefits so they don't really understand what those without this benefit go through. Hospital emergency rooms will give you minimal treatment and kick you loose if you don't have insurance. Because Katie's condition was life threatening they had to admit her but what if she hadn't been so sick? Would they have sent her home before it was safe to do so? I wouldn't have questioned this six months ago when she was still insured.
1 person likes this
@urbandekay (18311)
4 May 10
I see, that is very short sighted of them, they are really paying for it through less wages. Our National Health Service provides like for like treatment at a much lower cost than yours all the best urban
1 person likes this