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June 14th, 2009
01:34 PM ET

Living Without Health Insurance

Laura Walker, an unemployed mother, explains to CNN's Fredricka Whitfield what it's like trying to navigate the hazards of daily life without health insurance.

Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. SpringWolf

    After being laid off in 2007 from Circuit City, I found for the first time in my life I couldn't afford health insurance. Everyone talks about going from employer insurance to Cobra as if that's something better. When you have no paycheck, even Cobra is exceptionally expensive. And struggling to make ends meet means you have to focus on the things you need right now, not something you might need in a few months. The health insurance was the first thing to go.

    It probably wouldn't be so bad, except my health insurance was the only insurance my family had. I covered my husband and my 5 year old. My husband's business and my 401k kept us afloat. But the 401k is gone now.

    I have a college degree, 25 years experience in IT; and in my area I'm competing with college kids who don't cost a company as much to employee. I'm either over qualified for a position and thanked, but dismissed. Or my previous salary is too high for companies who have cut back. Even if you tell them, I'll take less; they still turn to the college grad.

    And all the while, I'm just hoping and praying nothing serious happens to any of us that requires a hospital visit.

    Ruther Glen, Va.

    June 14, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  2. RJ

    Well where I live in Michigan I dont know one low income or no income people who dont have better health insurance than my wife and I and we both work and pay for our insurance except for the small business owner who finds a way to buy all the toys but tells govt they cant afford insurance so they too are getting free health care while some of us pay for everyones health care and get inferior coverage to boot!

    June 14, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  3. G DeWolf Shaw

    The die is cast. If the Soviet Union and Berlin Wall can fall in 1990 with no internet, satellite TV, twitter or email, this Green Tehran Srpring by one of the best educated and youthful population on the Earth will be over before Mid Summer's day ie- June 21.

    G DeWolf Shaw CFA
    Moontreal, Canada

    June 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  4. Catherine Murray

    How about talking about people who HAVE insurance.The co pays,out of pocket expenses.Formulary drugs,some which do not work.Getting a physican referrals.Waiting for appointments.Overloaded Emergency rooms.
    What do you think its going to be like with National Health Insurance.
    As a Registered Nurse,working with Medicaid for the past three years.
    Mr Obama is going to cut the fat from medicaid.To qualify for medicaid, The rules are so stringent,you have to be almost on the Street.The process takes months.
    The reimbursemnet is so low to begin with.An acute in hospital day in ICU including all tests and medication.and staffing $1150 dollars.non acute days $250 dollars.
    We had clients come in and DIE,yes die.and were told sorry could have been at a lower level of hospice.Try finding a bed at an hours notice or 3 am.The County hospital had to close its cancer unit.
    The Denials were horriffic for the people that did not meet Interqual criteria.even with Critical blood levels.Cancer,Unable to walk.or talk
    Tthe reimbursement is so minimal to physicans and clinications.
    Curious to see where you will be cutting the Fat Mr Obama,and who will be left working it..

    June 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  5. Leo, TX

    The healthcare industry, especially the insurance companies are disgraceful. On December 20, 2007, Nataline Sarkasyan died in California because her health insurance company would not authorize a badly needed liver operation because her "policy which did cover services considered experimental, investigational and/or unproven to be safe and/or effective" even when her doctors urged them to authorize the procedure so they could save her life. It took the intervention of California's nurses and the media to get CIGNA to change their minds by which time it was too late. This is happening everyday in America.

    Something is very wrong when you have a high-school graduate making life or death medical decisions at health insurance companies simply because the get a bonus for every claim denied.

    The best solution is a single-payer system the will immediately eliminate all insurance companies and the inefficiencies that "profits" and "administrative costs" add to the the health bill.

    Aetna alone made $31billion dollars in revenue last year so you can imaging if we have over a thousand health insurance companies, how much in profits they would all make collectively. This is why American is #44 in adult mortality and #31 in life expentancy according to WHO reports even when $2.4 trillion was spent by government ($686 billion) and private citizens ($1.7 trillion) in health premiums and other health related expenses.

    Medicare and Medicaid need urgent reform and health insurance companies should be given a period of time to wind down with a completely non-profit public or private (it doesn't matter) entity running healthcare reimbursements. The arguement that only private companies can run organizations effectively is a lie. The U.S. army can protect America better than any private security company (like Blackwater Inc) at a lower cost and the same thing can be said about education. Public universities are just as good if not better than private universities so if the right administrative structures are in place, government can deliver healthcare better and cheaper any business organization out there.

    June 26, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  6. SteveG.

    For the first time in my adult working life, I cannot affor the premium for my PPO family health insurance plan. My wife and I are firmly middle-class and don't have it in the budget to afford a $900-$1000 dollar a month plan. My employer offers only $100.00 towards my coverage per month. For any coverage at all, we will have to buy into a 'catastrophic plan' at around $300-$400 per month. And we'll STILL have about a 5k-10k deductible with about a 30 to 50% copay after that! Truly ridiculous. The system is in deep need of radical reform. A single-payer, universal heatlh care system is probably the only real answer. Sadly, our congressmen and women are deep in the pockets of the health insurance industry, so it'll be an uphill battle. Just look at the pathetic 'reform' ideas bouncing around the House and Senate right now.

    September 24, 2009 at 11:46 am |