Some stories hit you hard because you were in that exact situation at some point.
“In 2003, William Koehler of Pittsburgh, Pa. lost his job as an electronics technician. He lost his health insurance, too, but he’d been lucky enough to have the defibrillator battery in his heart changed just the previous year. No insurer would cover him except for one company which refused to cover anything related to his arrhythmia, says his sister.
He survived as long as his battery did, dying on March 7, 2009 at 57. His sister, Georgeanne Koehler, has become an activist, telling the story about how her brother died to anyone who will listen. On Thursday, she traveled to Washington, D.C. from Pittsburgh to join a protest outside a conference for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a lobbying group for the insurance industry.”
My ICD battery ran out after three years even though it was suppose to last five years. I found out the battery in my ICD came from a “bad batch”. I have no insurance but I have a doctor who is human and an awesome wife who pushed to get me a replacement ICD because they do not just replace the battery. The doctors donated their time, the medical device company donated the device, my wife even got the hospital to write off their costs. The whole procedure with the device costed about $40,000 and I use it as an example of how the us uninsured people cost everyone. I was lucky and this poor man was not and it just makes me feel so sorry for him and his family.
I am in pure outrage over some of the comments from so called “progressives” on HuffPo who have no sympathy because he and his family were lifelong Republic until they voted for President Obama last year. I am convinced some “progressives” are part of the problem these days and this is one example.
I can’t stop shaking thinking this could have been me.
Now all I can think about is will real healthcare reform come about before my ICD battery runs out again.
This was at Huff? I missed it. I certainly would like to flay the “progressives” who dumped on this guy for being stupid enough to be a Rethug.
Lots of people are that stupid.
KQuark, that is a shattering, truly frightening and yet reaffirming experience you’ve gone through (and are going through).
A side note first, I have a genuine and great respect for your strength and character. You have only mentioned your condition to campaign and energize people to support changing our failing healthcare system. Otherwise, by seeing how prolific you are, no one, including me would ever have assumed what you have been dealing with. You are a remarkable person, truly.
As to the experience you detail, that could be me or anyone reading your article too. To think in this 21st Century America, that our lives and financial survival could be so tenuous, at the whim of manufacturers of faulty batteries, the greedy health care industry, self-serving politicians who put reelection over the lives of their constituents…it’s frightening and infuriating.
At the same the, in the face of what Modern Capitalism has done to destroy the fabric of our society, the compassion and help offered to you by your doctor and the hospital offers a small, fragile light of compassion and empathy in a world that grows increasingly dim.
We are human beings, our existence has value far beyond such despicable priorities as quarterly profits. How has our society degenerated to the point of arguing for profits of the wealthy as equal or greater than individual human lives?
Actually being a cancer and now heart failure survivor looking back on it you go through allot. If you have the instinct in you to survive, I’m not going to say it’s easy but it does not consume your life. You just miss the things you cannot do anymore rather than think of what you’ve been through. In truth my wife has gone through more than me. She found out I had cancer about six months after her mother died from cancer in her mid forties. After I was cured from cancer 10 years later she had to watch me cling onto life while taking care of everything that had came crashing down in our lives. She has had her own share of health problems as well.
I’m probably the least ideological person on healthcare reform because it’s such a close issue to my everyday life.
That’s one thing that this debate on health care has been doing, putting real human faces on health crises.
Americans are so distracted by buying and watching things, focused so solipsistically on themselves and since the majority of us are not suffering from severe illnesses, it’s far too easy to for people to be disconnected and insulated from what life is like day to day in such circumstances.
Of course, when health issues finally hit them in the future, the debate over health care will be over and all the wishing then won’t change the decisions made today.
My best friend of 25 years died of cancer a short while back, it’s still surreal to think of this vibrant, energetic, witty man in just his 40’s being dead today. I remember the battle and struggle he went through, I remember his courage and determination, I remember his insurance refusing to cover treatments that they deemed “experimental” and I remember carrying his coffin.
It remains unbelievable to me that there is doubt about health care reform being passed that genuinely protects us, how can these right wing assholes out there play politics with the lives of real human beings and not be condemned and voted out of office?
And I say this as a witness to my friend’s experience. There is a kind of gentle humility and casual modesty that you exhibit as he did in dealing with the extraordinary challenges you have had.
IMHO, it reflects a strength of character that no amount of modesty can obscure. You and your wife are remarkable, strong and brave people and I ain’t takin’ an “Aw shucks, ma’am” on that, it’s the truth.
As always, all the best to both of you!
Jeepers Kquark, I knew you were not entirely a well man, but had no idea of the extent of your illness. This would indeed hit home for you, that’s easy to see. This is a very sad story and from my home town which makes me wonder, why didn’t he go perhaps to Mercy Hospital (run by the Sisters of Mercy) who turn away no one, and work hard to find the money to treat all. Very sad. I will keep you in my prayers that you and your family never, ever have to be in similar circumstances my friend!
Sorry guys, I step out to go the gym. Thanks for the welcome.
what a nifty website you guys have there! Can a liberalterian like me fit in?
Sure glad to see you posting on the Planet!
I haven’t been blogging that much and when I do I post an article here without all the drama. The rest of the blog world is just nuts these days with all the group think going on no matter if people call them selves conservative or progressives. When politics gets to be more about people’s various agendas and less about policies it’s so boring.
I agree with allot of libertarian principles. I just wish the organized libertarians would make it less about taxes and more about civil liberties. I just think some things like national defense, education and healthcare are entities that free markets do not address well. I would love to see an article about what you think about the banking regulations debate.
Indeed, national defense and education are not well address by the free market because of its public goods characteristic and so is healthcare. Case in point, one of my friend is going to have a surgery and he does not have health care and no money to afford this surgery. We now have to raise money for him. I find it sad that a young person cannot even afford to pay for his health!
Markets with innovative products thrive on competition. Markets that serve necessities need to be highly regulated.
That’s why I don’t begrudge drug companies, medical device and high tech equipment companies from making a profit. But insurance companies that offer no innovation are just leeches.
Amen Brotha. That is why I truly hope that Congress is serious about lifting that antitrust exemption on the insurance companies. I am in favor of a consumer-driven health care reform, where competition is key to getting reducing prices and getting great services. The market works when there are no barriers and no corporate nanny welfare
One more item I’d add to the list as not being good to be part of the (so-called) free market is journalism.
It was intended to be the Fourth Branch of government for the people, it’s no coincidence that the 1st Amendment enshrines a free press.
The sad thing now is that the free press is no longer free, it is a subsidiary of defense contractors, the GOP, etc.
If it wasn’t for the internet, the press, as a safety net for democracy, would likely have been shredded away by now.
MissFrenchyUSA!!! Welcome!!! Wonderful to see you here! You are warmly welcomed at The Planet!!!
At the risk of speaking for my fellow fellows, we are delighted to see you of all people here.