Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Christa: thoughtful protest vs. willful ignorance

Hi all,

Cal, thanks so much for sharing your report.  It's heartening to read, as I just saw some video footage from the event that really concerned me:

I wholeheartedly support the sort of thoughtful protest and free speech you've described. What disturbs me is that many others seem to have jumped into the fray with little to no understanding of the issues they're protesting for or against, forming opinions based on fear, panic, and willful ignorance rather than on taking time to look up or reflect on basic information. It makes me feel a great deal of concern for our country, as a sort of fast-food alternative to productive dialogue and informed decision-making.

Hopefully these folks were in the minority at the protest. However, from what I've seen posted in online forums, YouTube responses and other un-edited public forums in print and on the web over the past several months, there seem to be no shortage of people willing to base their opinions and votes on wild rumors rather than history, discussion, or basic facts. It's a trend that should worry all of us, no matter what side of the issue we're on. It makes me truly appreciate the level of dialogue we're able to share in this group, and the articulate viewpoints each of you has to offer.

I just got off the phone an hour ago with my good friend James, who has worked as a freelance computer consultant and a part time college administrator for many years, and have a somewhat upsetting story to share. His rates and deductible for private health insurance had nearly tripled over the past two years, and he'd called his insurance company (Allied) to see if he could get a more affordable plan. The insurance agent assured him he could transfer to a new plan with the same company, but just as he was about to switch over mentioned that it would not cover any pre-existing conditions. James happens to have had some major health problems, which is in part why he needs health coverage in the first place. Needless to say, James decided to stick with his original plan despite the cost... only to find the plan canceled due to complications with the proposed plan change.

As a result, he now has no health coverage at all.  Because of his preexisting conditions, his application has been rejected by every insurance policy he's applied for since this happened. Currently, private insurance companies have no obligation to offer their services to anyone who already has a serious medical condition. It's all the more clear to me how and why so many people go bankrupt or suffer and sometimes die without the care they need. Does anyone know what a person can do in this situation under the current plan? Any experience or resources I could pass along would be wonderful and much appreciated. In the meantime, we'll hope for the option of "required health insurance" once both parties can work out the details.

with love and respect,

with love and respect,

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