American Moment: Fixing our health care system

by Kate Albright-Hanna for the Obama Transition Team

Chicago, IL (RushPRnews)12/05/08-Since we launched our website, thousands of people have joined the discussion about health care – as well as submitted their stories directly to American Moment. We wanted to share some of those stories in this post.

S.D. from Delaware writes:

“Like [President-elect Obama’s mother], my mother died from cancer about four years ago… During her illness, the only healthcare coverage my mother had was Medicare, which offered a 5% discount on prescription drugs. I (being employed by a pharmaceutical company) was aware of the Patient Assist Programs, which provide free medication for patients demonstrating a need, and I was certain my mother would qualify… About six months into her receiving these meds, they stopped coming. On contacting the company to ask why, they stated that patients usually do not live this long, therefore, they had terminated her application. I would like you to imagine the potentially devastating effects of this decision. My mother had bone cancer, which is known to be extremely painful, and the pharmaceutical company arbitrarily decides to stop shipping her medication because they assumed she should have died.”

We’ve also heard from a lot of doctors and nurses who offer their unique perspectives. A neonatologist who treats premature infants in Pennsylvania writes, “We are getting better and better in saving very fragile infants that are increasingly being discharged home to non-existent or deficient services.”

She’s concerned about the curtailment of services for special needs children and hopes the new administration will be able to provide access to care for “ALL children regardless of the parents’ income.”

The strains on the current system are leading a lot of young people to question whether they can truly afford to pursue a career in health care. K.J. is in her second year of medical school in South Carolina.

“I’d like to go into primary care to help out with the shortage, but I’m worried about how that will affect my ability to pay back loans (already approaching $100,000) and to raise a family, considering the long number of hours spent seeing way too many patients in order to keep the practice afloat financially, as well as more hours spent on paperwork in navigating insurance and Medicare/Medicaid. I have no idea what the solutions will be, but I think heading the voices of organizations like the American Medical Association will help.”

Keep sending your stories and ideas our way. We have a lot to learn from you.

A. A. from West Virginia makes a good point when she quotes Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve the problems that we have created with the same thinking that created them.”

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