My first piece of mail from Aetna was the first round of denials of the medication my doctor ordered to help reduce my gut pain as diagnostic effort and other care continues. That instantly made me upset which also makes me feel worse.

If only we had Medicare for all for life…

But it was second piece of mail from Aetna that gnaws at me more. The letter informed me that my employer would be getting a rebate check since Aetna failed to meet the amounts they needed to in approved/paid claims. The letter was a bit celebratory in that it told me that my employer could choose to use the funds for other employee health costs, but I wasn’t celebrating. It would have made me happy and healthier to have my medication. While I am sure many employers were pleased to get their insurance rebate checks, I also suspect few will actually use those funds to better the health of their employees in any significant way.

If only we had Medicare for all for life…

My gut doesn’t feel good. So I appealed, in writing, the decision on my meds. I sent mine on the website on a form and then followed up with a call to make sure they saw it. First they said they didn’t and then another person said they did. That brings me to the third piece of mail from Aetna – the acknowledgement that they have received my appeal. Now they have 30 days to work up the next denial for me or to decide to cover the medication. I’m not holding my breath.

To make matters worse, I then get emails from several political campaigns asking me how happy I am about the changes to the system that forced Aetna to send rebates to my employer. Talk about salt in an already painful wound.

If only we had Medicare for all for life…

Also, just yesterday, I read this in an e-alert from the New Your Times:

"Hospital Chain Internal Reports Found Dubious Cardiac Work"

“HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country, is confronting evidence of unnecessary cardiac treatments at some of its medical centers in Florida after a nurse’s complaint prompted an internal investigation.

“The inquiry found that the complaint was far from the only evidence that unnecessary — even dangerous — procedures were taking place at some HCA hospitals, driving up costs and increasing profits.”

Get it? “Unnecessary cardiac work.” What a nice way of putting it when the patients had invasive, painful procedures, or had their chests cracked open for profit. Ugly business, and anything for a buck.

So, what’s up with all this fellow patients? It’s a pretty screwed up system, eh? The for-profit providers want to test and treat, and the for-profit insurance companies want to deny those tests and that treatment. Who’s lying? The answer is not clear as not every decision is without medical merit or even some coincidental evidence that it might have been done in our best interests. But who’s to know?

And across the table from me sits my husband who has had many heart and artery issues and procedures over time. Can we ever know for certain all of that was appropriate and necessary? No. What we can know for certain is that big profits were made and that unless a significant number of Americans get sick enough of this system to demand an improved and expanded Medicare for all for life system, the mail and the news will continue to bring messages that simply reinforce the sickness that is entrenched and strengthening within our healthcare system in America.

Bullet Points for Legislators

  • Single Payer saves money.  For the past 20 years, states have commissioned studies on different types of health care systems.   In EVERY case, single payer was shown to be the only way to cover everyone and the only system that saved money and controlled costs.

  • Publicly financed does not mean government run health care.  YOU have publicly finance health coverage, but the government does not make decisions regarding your health care.

  • Cost conscious patients often don't get the care they need.   Most decisions are made by the doctor in concert with the patient, but the patient relies on the doctor's knowledge to make a decision.  Expensive tests and treatments cannot be ordered by the patient, only the doctor.

  • Lifestyle choices are not what is fueling high costs in health care.   The United States ranks low in general health indicators, but high in good health habits.  We smoke less, drink less and consume less animal fat that many other countries with better health indicators and much lower health care costs.

  • Businesses can accurately determine their health care costs and are not subject to unanticipated large premium increases.

  • It will reduce labor costs due to a more efficient way of financing health care, eliminating much wasteful administration.

  • Workers' Compensation costs will be reduced, likely by half, due to the fact that everyone has health coverage and there is no need for the medical portion.

  • It reduces the need for part time employees and provides easier recruiting.  There are no pre-existing conditions or Cobra issues.

  • Eliminates the oversight of health benefits and bargaining health coverage with employees.

  • It creates healthier personnel and more stable employees, reduces absenteeism and eliminates employer health coverage complaints.

  • It reduces employee health related debt and personal bankruptcies.

  • It frees up family income that can be spent on other goods and services, thus stimulating the economy.

Tips for Writing Letters to Editor

Follow guidelines for your local paper (word count, submission instructions, etc.)

Frame your letter in relation to a recent news item Use state specific data whenever possible (let us know if you need help finding some!)

Address counter arguments

Be aware of your audience and emphasize how Medicare for All is good for ALL residents of the state

Criticize other positions, not people Include your credentials (especially if you work in the healthcare field)

Avoid jargon and abbreviations

Don’t overload on statistics and minor details

Cover only one or two points in a single letter

Avoid rambling and vagueness

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Region 1 Meeting - Cleveland Mon. 29 Jan, 2018 (5:00 pm - 6:30 pm) North Shore AFL-CIO Office, 3250 Euclid Ave, 2nd floor - Note: enter parking lot from Prospect Ave. Enter building from re...
  • SPAN STATE COUNCIL MEETING Sat. 10 Feb, 2018 (10:00 am - 1:00 pm) First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus - 93 W Weisheimer Rd - Columbus OH
  • SPAN ANNUAL STATE CONFERENCE Sat. 28 Apr, 2018 (9:00 am - 3:00 pm) Quest Conference Center - 8405 Pulsar Place - Columbus OH
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