Still Think Healthcare Works? Read This

My local newspaper, the Record of Hackensack, NJ has a story in its Tuesday edition that details exactly why this country needs serious healthcare reform. That’s serious, as in single payer at best, and public option at worst.

The story cuts through all the gibberish we hear from lawmakers talking nonsense about a government takeover while they line their pockets with money from insurance companies that brook no competition.

The story is about four-year-old Emily Santana from Lodi, NJ. She’s a typical child, except for this. She’s been the victim of a brain tumor, a stroke, and recurrent epileptic seizures. These illnesses taken together threaten the child’s life. At her doctor’s advice, Emily’s father, Tito, scheduled surgery for her epilepsy. Three days prior to the scheduled date, the surgery was canceled. Can you guess why? Tito Santana’s insurance company refused to pay.

Our knucklehead lawmakers in DC, the ones who get free medical care, don’t think people like Emily Santana exist. They would have the public believe that there’s not an insurance company in America that would deny a four year old child a life saving operation. Yet somewhere, there’s a bean counter that decided to do just that. The Record didn’t print the name of Santana’s insurance “provider”. I truly wish they had. What they did, in my opinion, is little short of child abuse.

There is, thank God, a happy ending to Emily Santana’s story. Thanks to a local crisis intervention center, the Community Resource Council, Emily now has insurance to cover the surgery that could cure her epilepsy. The Council’s executive director is a woman named Diana DiGirolamo. She is worth more than every insurance company in America, and every member of Congress who’s in the bag for the insurance industry.

She called and faxed and persisted until she got results. She also helped the Santana’s buy furniture, appliances, and a used car after Tito Santana sold all the family had to cover Emily’s expenses.

Diana DiGirolamo is an angel, but, as we all know, angels are in short supply. How many other people in America are being turned down for medical procedures they desperately need as the Congress debates whether or not they deserve to live?

Tito Santana delivers bread at night so he can be with his daughter during the day. He’s a quintessential hard working American, and he deserves better than to be told no by a faceless insurance company operative intent on wringing every last bit of profit from the premiums people pay.

Still think the current healthcare system works? Still think reform can wait? You tell me.

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