Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The War for Quality Health Care

There is a war raging on our home-front, from the tip of Alaska to the Southernmost aspect of Hawaii. It is a conflict that is affecting all Americans, whether we have chosen to join, chosen to ignore, or been thrown in by unfortunate circumstance.  It is the fight over the state of our Nation's current healthcare system, the most expensive in the world, costing 2 trillion yearly (Catlin, A, C. Cowan, S. Heffler, et al, “National Health Spending in 2005.” Health Affairs 26:1 (2006)),  and among the least qualified in the Industrialized world, producing a life expectancy ranking 42nd, behind both Chile and Cuba (Wikipedia). The battle in the war for quality health care has come to the my home-front and is being waged in NH today. 

HB 440 would Repeal health care for high-risk pool patients and the ability for young adults up to 26 yrs old to remain on their parent's insurance.  It would also require NH to join a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.

 This is similar to HB 89, which will be heard next week, which seeks revoke NH's insurance commissioner's temporary authority to implement and enforce the health insurance reforms and protections contained in the ACA. This authority has  allowed NH to create a new, federally qualified and fully federally-funded high-risk pool for adults with pre-existing conditions, whom insurance companies refuse to cover. NH's high-risk pool was the first-in-the-nation to be established.

To summarize, the bill is trying to repeal a FREE to NH's resident's high risk pool and asks us to join in an expensive federal lawsuit. 

NH's Attorney General testified at a previous hearing on HB 89, which sought to have the Attorney General join other states in a lawsuit against The ACA, that HB 89 itself was unconstitutional because it infringed on the principle of "Separation of Powers."

The Following is my testimony on HB 440:

House State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee
February 3, 2011

Hi, my name is Hillary St.Pierre. I’m writing to testify against the passage of HB 440. The new health law, especially the High risk pool which protects patients with life-threatening diseases who would not be able to secure insurance, needs to remain in place in NH.

I am a lifelong NH resident and registered nurse. I am also Hodgkin's lymphoma patient, diagnosed four years ago, at the age of twenty-three, while working full-time as a critical care/emergency department nurse, and parenting my three year old son.

In the past four years, I have had to wage a battle for my life, undergoing multiple chemotherapy rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and two bone marrow transplants.

I have fought my cancer alongside another strenuous, uphill battle: a battle to sustain my livelihood due to astronomical healthcare costs.

I thought upon diagnosis that I would never have to battle for health insurance coverage since I was an RN and my husband is an aerospace engineer with an established career and what we still consider good coverage.

However, if it were not for the new health law and the protection of a high-risk pool, I may not be able to continue my current chemotherapy.  I will be forced to decide between my current, effective treatment and a treatment of lesser quality, a choice no American free American with the constitutional “Right to life” should ever have to make.

My insurance company currently reimburses, on average $600,000 yearly, for my health care. At this rate, I will hit the previous $2 million insurance maximum within the year.

Fortunately, due to the new health law,  my insurance company has removed the $2 million limit, which was put in place years ago when medical costs were substantially lower. I no longer have to live in fear my fight will be ended by an insurance company’s desire for higher profits.

During my battle, I have lost the ability to feel my hands and feet. I have lost 2/3 of my lung capacity. I’ve lost the ability to practice a career I love. I’ve lost the possibility of ever owning a home, but I have survived.

Without the new health law and the safety net of the high-risk pool, trying to pay out of pocket for my healthcare expenses would not solely bankrupt me and ruin my credit, it would kill me by forcing me to choose between medications and food and shelter.

I will be forced to change my treatment plan and possibly cost shifting to Medicaid or Medicare, and I will be forced to choose between prescriptions, just one of which costs over $700 monthly. 
Repealing the new health law is not a cost effective option for NH or its citizens.

My options will be limited by monetary constraints forcing me to choose between a quality life and possible death.  I will  not have the option for “the pursuit of happiness.”

The Statue of Liberty, the former entrance to our country and welcome to the world, has inscribed, “Give me your tired, your poor, yearning to breathe free.” The new health care law has allowed NH patients to again breath free without fear of their health care decisions being constrained by cost. The passage of 440 would force NH to enter an expensive battle when our resources could be spent remedying factors that contribute to rising health care costs and freeing NH’s tired and poor.

Please think about what you would do if you were in my situation. What would you do if it was your life and livelihood on the line? Think about the constitutionality of forcing a NH citizen to choose between effective and subpar care or their home and medications. Please,  think about how you would like to be treated and vote against HB 440. 

Thank  you.

Livestrong has declared February 4 "World Cancer Day."

I hope, tomorrow, we can all put aside our differences of opinion and reflect on this equal opportunity killer.
Cancer has no regard for status, race, or gender.  It will attack 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women.
Please, protect yourselves and your loved ones and let's work together to end this horrible disease. 

1 comment:

Eye Creams said...

As every one wants a quality health care. That can be on any cost. We should all also fight for the quality health care. Then we will surely get that.