American capitalism fails to satisfy basic human rights
By Natasha Reeves
Individuals are easily forgotten by the multi-million dollar health insurance industries. Leslie Elder died at age 63 from Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer which attacks the immune system, because she had no health care coverage. The disease has a high survival rate. If she’d had access to proper care, Elder would have had a 92.8 percent chance of survival.
According to a recent CNN story, Elder had a pre-existing condition with no health care. She and her family felt they did not have options until The Affordable Health Care Act will take effect in 2014. The sad truth is there were alternatives: Elder could have applied for Florida’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), provided for high-risk individuals. Elder and her family fought for Medicaid during her final months without knowing she could have applied to PCIP. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, of the estimated 200,000-375,000 people who were expected to enroll in PCIP during the surveyed fiscal year, less than one third have done so.
In an interview with CNN, Elder’s husband, Jim Elder, said, “I was under the impression that [PCIP] didn’t start until 2014.”
Elder went on to explain the family’s confusion. “I’m puzzled . . . We were hoping and searching for some sort of way to get health care. The way it has divided the country, with some states suing to try and stop it, it’s just confused everybody. It certainly confused us.”
Elder’s story shows how people still slip through the system and don’t get the coverage they need due to a lack of publicity. There are many sources encouraging persons to try to get Medicaid, but few places to find solid information about the different programs. It should not be hard to find information about alternative insurance options like the PCIP. Besides common advertising and exposure, doctor offices, hospitals and other care centers should have information available about the different options of health care.
A lack of information isn’t the only fault of these low-key medical options. The long process and unclear policies set in a lot of these programs also cause many other problems. Even when people do have some sort of insurance, they won’t always be “covered.” Some companies even seemingly backstab their clients who are in time of dire need, such as when Elder’s previous insurance, Aetna, raised her rates.
Nearly every developed country has some sort of universal health care. The only first world countries without universal health care are Balkan states, Soviet-style autocracy of Belarus and the United States. There should be no reason for anyone to fight for medical care, let alone their right to be treated and to live. Health care should not be a privilege, but as a basic necessity for the people.