Meeting With The First Lady About Health Reform

November 12, 2009 at 10:04 pm 1 comment

Like many of you, I am a mother, a wife, a daughter – and now, amazingly, a grandmother.  I am also a lawyer and I run this small business, the Center for Medicare Advocacy. The Center is a non-profit organization founded in 1986.  We represent older and disabled people with the focused mission to ensure fair access to Medicare and quality health care.  So I know something about advocating for health coverage.

Michelle Obama is hosting a meeting about health care reform and women on November 13th.  Wonderfully, the Center has been invited to participate.  So tomorrow I’m going to Washington to tell my story to the First Lady. 

I’m healthy. I tend not to catch the various viruses that run through my office and community.  I exercise, eat a largely vegetarian diet, live an engaged life, and get the recommended medical and dental check ups.

So I was taken by surprise when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer four years ago.  I had a mammogram just a few months earlier.  But the bottom line is, stuff happens. We’re all human, and human beings get sick, even if they do “all the right things,” and take care of themselves.  From a person who rarely saw doctors, I became a full-time patient. Even now, four years later, I am involved with treatments and tests far more than I like. 

It is silly to suggest that people over-utilize health care because they have health insurance. Yes, my insurance covered most of my care. But many of these tests and “procedures” are painful and many of the medications have dreadful side-effects.  No one would choose this.

On the other hand, a lack of insurance authorization almost led me to skip important care.  However, because I knew how to pursue an appeal, I obtained authorization and proceeded with the treatment – a good decision since I almost needed a transfusion even with them.

I continue to be faced with decisions about follow up treatment and insurance coverage obstacles.  I have had to urge my doctors to make their best medical decisions and to leave the insurance battles to me. But if I were not a lawyer who has been fighting for proper health insurance for other people for 30 years, I might not be getting the treatments I need. 

My story is only different from everyone else’s because I do have insurance and because I am a professional advocate. We all get sick, we all get injured.  But we don’t all have insurance, and we aren’t all health care lawyers. 

All women, all people, need health care and we all need help paying for it.  This is particularly a woman’s issue because we live longer with more chronic conditions than men and because we are often primary caregivers – for our kids, our spouses, and our parents, all of whom get sick. 

I’m telling my story because I’m told it may help.  Tell yours too.   We need quality health coverage – including a public option – for everyone.  I know this as a woman, a patient, and an advocate.  As the First Lady suggests, we need to make our voices heard now. 

Urge Congress  to seize this opportunity to provide health care security for everyone.  Pass health care reform this year!

Entry filed under: Health Care Reform, Public Option. Tags: , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Betsy medinger  |  November 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Have a great day on the 13th; how exciting to be part of the process!


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Health Policy Expertise

We provide effective, innovative opportunities to impact federal Medicare and health care policies and legislation in order to advance fair access to Medicare and quality health care.

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November 2009


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