Monday, July 7, 2008

It's a National Disgrace . . .

. . . the so-called health care system in the U.S. Forget about the almost 50 million Americans who don't have any health care at all. Let's talk about those who are paying for insurance and what they've got to deal with.

Stories like this one always make me shake my head and wonder how I'd handle the same situation. I'd want to kill somebody. Here's the basic outline: couple has young son with autism. To cope with medical costs, drugs, and insurance premiums--oh, yeah, they have insurance--the couple has cashed in all of their assets: 401k's, savings, car, house. They're now bankrupt; they live in a modest rental home and have no idea what they're going to do. There's a video of the mom talking about all this here. She seems so matter-of-fact despite her anger at the pharmaceutical and insurance companies. What she's talking about is a national disgrace.

This story about care of autistic children in California bears out the not-too-difficult-to-figure-out fact that insurance companies are doing everything they possibly can to avoid paying for the expensive behavioral therapy required for autism, which, by the way, is most effective if treated early. Though only one in in five autistic kids is severely disabled, in almost all cases therapies are necessary to teach the kids basic skills such as how to dress themselves. Well, guess what? The insurance companies don't want to pay for this. These therapies are "experimental" say some; it's provided by state-funded institutions say some; several carriers refuse to pay contending the treatment is "unproven." And then there's Kaiser who won't pay because the treatment is "educational," not medical. These refusals to pay are especially interesting in view of the law in California that requires them to.

And while these blood-sucking corporations continue to stall and stonewall, good tax-paying, insurance-premium paying parents are being slowly strangled and flushed down the drain.
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