Sunday, August 23, 2009

Today I begin the fight for my Mom's life

I wrote a letter to the President today to support health care reform.  Below is the letter I sent him and will send to Congress and the media.  I will add their respones as I get them.  I welcome all comments and serious debate on this issue.  For now I will let the letter speak for itself.

August 23rd, 2009

RE: Healthcare Reform and my Mom

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to you today on behalf of my 60 year old mother. She has had chronic health problems since I can remember. When I was seven she had a big part of her intestines removed and replaced with plastic. She was in the hospital for months, my brother and I thought she would never come back home. They let us see her for Christmas, because as we found out later the doctors did not think she would live. The doctors did not give her a good prognosis for the future but she has continued to defy the odds. She currently has kidney disease in both kidneys, heart disease, degenerative rheumatoid arthritis, bouts of gout, and problems controlling her potassium levels.

After working in the healthcare and food service industry for 40 years her body gave out on her and she had to file for disability. She was awarded SSDI just a few months ago. She didn't want to quit work, but she had no choice, she can't stand or sit for very long with out pain and discomfort. During the last few years my mother tried to get insurance but was always denied because of her preexisting conditions, or they would offer a package she could not afford and would only cover new problems. As she spent more and more money with test, and medication she eventually had to stop working and rely on sliding scale clinics. She still does not qualify for Medicare due to time restrictions.

Recently her potassium levels reached near lethal levels, she needed to get many test, but because she has no insurance and is on a limited income she could not get the test. One of the doctors suggested a colonoscopy but looked in her chart and said, “I see you have no insurance the test is very expensive, I sure hope the President can get this healthcare reform passed soon.” My mother agreed with him, but told him that she can only do things as needed and then only if she can get the money.

I guess this is what I am getting to, when I hear people talk about how great our current private system is, then talk about healthcare reform with death panels, people dying because they are waiting, no choices, I just get confused. Are they talking about our current system that is allowing people to languish and die because they can't get coverage and just changed the word private to reform. I know I am rambling but I am very upset with the mean spirited people who want to kill reform with such ignorance. I want to ask them why they are killing my Mom now. Because that is what will happen with out reform, she will continue to get sicker and sicker and die before her time.

I plan to copy this letter to the Congress as well as the media. I can longer sit back and listen to such ignorance and not tell my Mother's story if only briefly and please ask your opponents how many more people have to suffer in the name of politics? We need to bring compassion back to America and stop the hate.


Corey L. Rogers


  1. Hi Corey! I feel really sorry for your mother. It is dissapointing that those who need the healthcare the most are the ones who are not getting it.

    I am fortunate enough to have a job and health insurance, but I had to wait for 12 months with my new insurance before they would cover any treatment for my pre-existing condition. I have acid reflux and I was either born with it or developed it as a child. But, I was not diagnozed with it until the age of 20. I'm now 24.

    The medication is not really helping, so I am getting tested, one test at a time to see why I am having reflux. I am hoping that I can keep my insurance long enough to find the best treatment for me. But who knows, I have been uninsured before and health insurance companies really don't like people with pre-existing conditions.

    I know I am not suffering as much as your mother. I only have acid reflux and allergies. But, I understand the frustration with the healthcare system and the fear of what's going to happen to you when you are ininsured. I will share your message with others.

  2. It's not that so many Americans opposed to universal health care are ignorant, cruel or insensitive - they're not. It's just that the federal government has not earned their trust in taking on such enormous and expensive projects with favorable results.

    If the federal government would simply learn to walk before they try to run on projects of this enormity, complexity and expense, then maybe they would learn from their mistakes as they go, achieving some success along the way, and then gradually earn the American public's trust to spend more and more taxpayer money to improve the program as it matures.

    It took our federal government ten years to gradually develop the program for successfully, safely and affordably putting a man on the moon. Reforming our healthcare system is no less difficult, risky or complex. President Kennedy in his selfless wisdom didn't insist that it all happen in his first term in order to solidify his re-election. He approached it in gradual, methodical steps over an entire decade in order to protect the taxpayers' investment and to maximize chances for safety and success.

    Had Bill and Hillary Clinton not insisted on swallowing the entire universal healthcare elephant in a single bite back in 1993, maybe by now we would have had 16 years of experience in how to create, refine and perfect a universal healthcare system that works for America, as opposed to looking toward Europe or Canada for solutions that won't work here.

    I'm so disappointed that President Obama has not learned from those past mistakes and seems more interested in his own re-election by being in some hurry to get too much done too quickly such that we're now more likely to end up with nothing rather than some meaningful progress.

  3. Corey, your mother has fought long and hard, I can hardly imagine how she has done it. If Congress wants to, it could pass reform this year that makes it possible for your mother to get insurance even for existing conditions, and a subsidy to help pay for it. Insurers have already volunteered for this reform - this is one thing that could happen this year, even if nothing else does.

    Also, 33 states have "high-risk pool" policies for people like your mom. They are operated by the state insurance regulator/commissioner and funded by a levy on insurance companies. Check your state insurance commissioner's website to see if your state has one - the pools have different hames in different states but the idea is the same--coverage for people who cannot get it in the private market. Best wishes to you both, and here's hoping for meaningful reform.

  4. Thank you so much for your comments. I hope that they find something that works for your acid reflux. I went through that a few years ago and it is no fun.

    Part of not trusting the government is a political fiction. We trust the parts we want and don't trust the parts we don't like. That goes for both political parties to the point no one trust the govermnet whether they do a good job or not.

    As far as my mother getting any kind of insurance policy it has been cost prohibtive. Any one willing to insure her wants too much money or too much restrictions. I have suggested to her to apply for medical assistance and do what is called a spend down. Which is basically putting you into poverty. She said she would look into it while she waits to be covered by Medicare.

    I will update my blog this weekend, thanks again.

  5. Corey, best of luck to your mother. My son has Epilepsy and cannot get health care because of this. Someone mentions to check with your state insurance commissioners for coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. This is available in North Carolina, but does not cover his disease for 12 months and costs 3 times what a policy costs for someone without his disease. 12 months, what does he do in the meantime. His medicine costs about $1,000.00 per month. He is 6 feet tall, 180 lbs and in perfect condition. His dream is to be a professional golfer. He is incredibly talented but has no future without health care. He was born with this, and is being punished. Why. If he was overweight, out of shape and smoked he could get insurance. It is so wrong, health care in this country. Yet those on the right want to continue status qua. They want to stop those, who for nor fault of their own from gaining health care. He does not want free health care, he wants to pay for it. But no, he is denied coverage.

  6. Corey, I am sorry to hear about your moms condition and hope something gets passed in time for her. Have you looked into Medicaid as opposed to Medicare?
    If you were in the UK (where I am from originally) or other european country your mother would be getting the treatment she deserves after 40 years of raising a family, earning a living and paying taxes - she has after all being paying for medicare for most of her life but won't qualify for it until shes 65 that seems very unfair!
    As for not trusting the government the US government (via state governments) has over seen MEDICARE for the last 40 years! Without it seniors (who are not millionares) would have no medical care at all as insurers cannot insure them at an affordable price. As has been seen in many of the demonstrations seniors are very happy with medicare (as there is NO ALTERNATIVE). Those who are against medical care for all should remember the christian adage "There but for the grace of God go I". I can think of nowhere in the New Testament where Jesus heals only those who can afford it. Indeed in my understanding of the Bible it is valuing of money over life that he preaches against! If life is truly sacracanct in this country and the US is as it claims a Christian one then peoples ability to have a healthy life or indeed live should not be determined by their bank balance!

  7. In a nation where socialism is a dirty word what does anyone expect? You have for profit medicine, for profit drug, for profit health insurance. Last I checked they are all very profitable. In other words what's broke?

    If you are poor and sick and cannot stand socialism, only God can help you.

    I don't mean to be insensitive to your Mom. I'm simply pointing out the facts people do not want to face.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

  8. You're not wrong.
    Our system is broken for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one is that we have a for-profit system in which a few companies are making millions of dollars. When the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield in my state is making millions of dollars each year for himself, and yet my premiums rise 50% in three years and others are dropped altogether, it's not too hard to see where we got off track. When our insurance companies have to air TV commercials trying to convince us that our health plans are in fact great as they are (despite all evidence to the contrary), we can see how ridiculous the current system is.

    My wife is a health care provider who serves in dramatically underserved areas. What she sees on a DAILY basis in terms of the ways the uninsured are left behind and left out of the system is chilling. Mitch McConnell may think that only a few million Americans are left out of the current system, but he is sorely mistaken. I can only assume no one in his family is left out of the system, so he turns a blind eye.

    Far too many of our politicians have been bought. Plain and simple.

    We will be judged for our behavior as a nation on this.

  9. Best of luck to you and your mom, Corey. I support healthcare reform, and have been writing my senators and congresspeople, attending rallies and writing checks when I can. I hope it's enough.

  10. I hope ur Mom gets the care she needs,what happened to the Doc's oath to serve and heal?how did the isurance comp. get to powerful in our gov.?what party does the most for the pharmasuticals/insurance companies,in other words follow the bigger money trail,those rethugs at town halls would be screaming at ur mom while she tries to state her case,shouted down paid for by the insurance comp. and the Repub party,its so funny how they care what the country is doing now that Bush/cheny R gone,Bush/Cheny could do No wrong,till election time came and the repub party's selective memory helped them forget who's RUN this country to the ground with so many unregulated Big business/companies side of this .amuck..amuck..they blindly let Bush do whatever he wanted,break the laws of our land and be shielded by senate.and base of RED party...But they dont trust the gov. to fix whats obviously wrong with health care,Capitalism isnt gonna work with healthcare unless only healhty people have it. GET POLITICS OUT OF HEATLH CARE,it should be common sense right and wrong are simple concepts.Your mother should not have had to suffer the stress of worrying about her healthcare she has enuff strss trying to get stronger,God Bless You and Your Family

  11. Have you noticed that Republicans talk a lot about "big government" and how it doesn't work ? Interesting that coming from people who ARE big government. It seems to be working great for them since they are determined not to lose their jobs.

    Medicare, Medicaid, the VA health care systems worked great until Republicans decided they didn't. Of course if you ask the majority of people who rely on those systems most of them will tell you that they are happy with them. Other government run programs like the military, seems to be operating just fine. While the school system has problems it works in most cases educating our children. It would probably work better without a lot of interference and more cooperation from all.

    It will be helpful for those that want health care reform to contact their representatives and the white house and let their voices be heard. So far all we have heard is from people who only want to make sure our President fails. I mean I can't believe people are that selfish that they don't want people to have access to affordable health care. Those people who are against have been indoctrinated by the right to protest against their own best interest. Now it is time for our voices to be heard and hopefully in a respectful way.

  12. Hello COrey and God speed. I recently buried my father who had prostate cancer. He was diagnosed in the US, however could not afford the care that he needed here, even with me paying thousands of dollars out of my pocket each month for medicine.
    We were lucky in that my father was an Irish citizen so I moved him back to his home town. He received exceptional care, no wait times and had many home nursing care. In the end he also had hospice care, something that many American plans do not cover.

    In response to the US crisis, I actually took to photocopying each medical bill I received (and even after his death, and two years after we left the US, I am still receiving medical bills from doctors and clinics I don't even remember treating him.. I send copies of those statements to my congressmen, and anyone else who will listen. I know they are just throwing them away, but I like to think that if enough of us send them these outrageous statements showing huge outstanding balances, someone just might look and listen to us.

    I doubt it, but I believe we must hope. And I know this country must change.

  13. Hi Corey,
    I was pleased to read your letter, telling your mothers story. Its brave and courageous to open up about it. God bless you and yours. My heart really goes out to you and your mom. I know that so many Americans are suffering as well. This is why it is so important we come together and show how much we need this change. Today so many Americans are worried about there tax dollars, but they could have mine if it meant that we could get a functioning Universal Healthcare Plan up. For so many years our money has gone into the war in Iraq and into the pockets of congress. I am glad that Obama is hitting the ground running, because it should be done as soon as possible.

    I live in Norway now, since I married a Norwegian. This is a socialist country. Many believe that socialism doesnt work. Yet it does. Here there is free college for everyone and free healthcare. I am also 8 months pregnant and if it wasnt for Norway I dont know what Id do in the US. I would be uninsured and in the social services office trying to get some kind of coverage. I have had some major complications and without a good job with decent coverage I dont know how it would even happen without becoming ridiculously in debt.

    I am here to help in this battle, just dont give up. This nation needs to hear and see and read your stories, because this is why we need Healthcare reform. Dont regard the skeptics, they know not what they do. Gaining back compassion in this country, that the better off should take care of the worse off. We should be taking care of our fellow Americans. Best of luck to you my friend.

    Dont stop writing your congressman and your president. Your story does matter.


  14. I just want to add my story, in hopes that it will be noticed along with all the others.

    I've been working since I was eight years old (in parent's sundry goods store). At some points in my life, I held two full-time jobs, even going to college full time while working a part-time and full time job for a little while, always working part-time when in college. Now, I'm 71 years old, but can't retire because of the limited funds I would have. My health insurance in retirement would cost me about $203 month, not including the Medicare option which is mandatory and costs about $100 monthly; my prescription drugs which I get cheaper through a mail order company are running about $100 monthly. While working, there is a $10 copay for my doctor and specialist visits. When retired, my Social Security check will be about $1200 monthly; my pension will be about $2600 monthly. Since I work for County government, I'll have to give up approximately half of my Social Security benefit (the Dan Rostekowski Law). I will still need to pay the mortgage, auto insurance, homeowner's insurance, electrical, gas, groceries, etc. I'm giving all this detail to say that most working people cannot afford health insurance. David Brook's recommendation of the Whyden Health Reform Plan assumes that working people can pay. Doesn't he know that the minimum wage is still not $12/hour? There are millions of people in this country who work hard every day in meaningful jobs that society finds very necessary and yet they make less than $12/hour? From my perspective, the problem is that the politicians and legislators have no idea how most Americans live and what monies they have to live on!!!

  15. Corey, this is so heartbreaking I am praying for your mother. Stories like this makes me so sad, and damn mad! Now to those of you out there beyond this blog who trust the insurance companies over the government what planet are you living on! This is a matter of life, and death for millions of people! as clearly defined here! What is it that you do not understand regarding the word profit vs non profit! I can assure you the insurance industries have profit margins they must meet, and could care less who dies as a result. It is STUPID! STUPID, STUPID! to think the insurance companies are EVER! going to do the right thing for the American people. The government like it or not is the ONLY! ONLY! ONLY! entity that can take on this pathetic death sentencing monopoly! Now for those of you who keep screaming the word Socialst! learn the definition of the word socialism, and it's idealogy! Competition is not socialism! damn it. That's the problem with Americans we depend on the media to do our thinking! We listen to trash like Rush, Beck, Dobbs, and Fox who care nothing about you nor me. But do care about profit, and ratings! This is appauling that these jerks get paid millions to spread fear, and hate! Who give the word lie a whole new meaning. Who feast off of the fear of the elderly. These unethical bastards should be thrown under the nearest bus! and shame on the people who listening to their unethical greedy bastards! Is the government the perfect entity? no! but it's the only entity we have to stop this deadly assualt upon the American people! I'll take my chances with the government! It's them or us! It's people like this poor women who are suffering becuase of hmm...profits! Christ this is inhuman! It is also written in the Preamble of the US constitution that goverment both houses were formed to protect the people not the insurance companies. It is also written in the Declaration of Independence life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What can you pursue without your health. Corey know this! I've called, I've written, my state represenatives, and the white house. I've signed every petition out there. I am committed to raising as much hell as I have too for people like your mother. We must march on Washington to say in one voice to the insurance industry! No more!