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9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

9 examples of areas where American health care system can be improved.

1. Carol Ann Reyes Dumped From Hospital Into Skid Row

kaiser permanente bellflower hospital 9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

Carol Ann Reyes – a homeless woman from Los Angeles – was admitted to Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Hospital after she took a nasty fall. After three days at Kaiser the hospital called her a cab and instructed the driver to dump her in an area of the city known as Skid Row. Reyes was suffering from dementia and had only been wearing only a thin hospital gown when she was left on the street, the hospital later admitted that they had lost her clothes.

2. Hannah Devane’s Insurance Company Won’t Pay For The One Thing She Can Eat

hannah devane 9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

A horrible disease of the esophagus makes it impossible for Hannah Devane to eat normal foods. Instead she must drink a special formula called Elecare which provides her with necessary nutrients. Without Elecare, Devane would not get enough food to live.

Naturally her health insurance company refuses to cover the cost of Elecare, calling it a “nutritional supplement.” Although this statement may be true, Elecare is Devane’s only source of nutrition therefore essential for her survival. Hannah’s father, a police officer, is now working two jobs so that he can afford the formula for her.

3. 9/11 Workers Denied Health Care

9 11 workers 9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

Respiratory illnesses became common amongst the 40,000 people who worked at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attack. The dust of the aftermath was filled with asbestos and tiny fragments of glass and this affected many.Forty percent of the people who sacrificed their personal well being and responded to 9/11 are without health care, either because they never had it, or because they have lost their jobs since becoming ill.

The government pledged a mere $52 million to cover their health care costs, a figure that was deemed “inadequate” by the federal 9/11 health coordinator. Responders to the 9/11 attacks have now taken things into their own hands recently filing a law suit against the World Trade Center insurance fund so that their health care needs can be met.

4. Emanuel Wilson Denied Chemotherapy In Wake Of Hurricane Katrina

hurrican katrina 9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

Emanuel Wilson was a school bus driver in Louisiana before Hurricane Katrina struck.

In the aftermath of the storm, Wilson, like many others, lost his job. The government did meet some of his needs, supplying him with money and food stamps.

But Wilson was also in desperate need of chemotherapy. Wilson had intestinal cancer, and had been getting monthly chemo before the hurricane hit. After Katrina the government vowed to help those who were completely destitute, however people like Wilson who had a job and health care before the hurricane were out of luck, Wilson was denied chemotherapy.

5. Shirley Loewe Denied Medicaid Coverage For Breast Cancer Because Of Loophole Law

shirley loewe 9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

Shirley Loewe had been diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2003. She was uninsured at the time of her diagnosis and her $15,000 a year income was too high for her to qualify for Medicaid in Texas.

A federal law which allows women diagnosed with breast cancer to receive Medicaid treatment even if they don’t meet all of the normal criteria gave Loewe hope of receiving the treatment, but Loewe was denied again.

At the time Texas was one of 20 states that would only apply this law if the patient was diagnosed at a clinic that received federal funding. Loewe had been diagnosed half a mile away from a qualifying clinic.Loewe was forced to cut back her work hours to qualify for charity care. In June 2007, after four years of dealing with bureaucracy, Loewe passed away.

6. Tonya Gullino Has Miscarriage, Blue Cross Deems It “Elective Abortion”

blue cross 9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

Tonya Gullino was rushed to the emergency room last August after suffering a miscarriage. Three weeks later, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield denied their claim to cover costs. Tonya called to find out why and was told “We do not cover ELECTIVE abortions. If you chose to terminate your pregnancy for non-health threatening reasons, BCBS will not cover it.”

Although Tonya was admitted to the emergency room at midnight, Blue Cross still made the family send over records to prove that she did not have an elective abortion.

7. Jim Dawson Hit With $1.2 Million Hospital Bill, Despite Having Health Insurance

jim dawson 9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

Jim Dawson found himself in the hospital at the age of 61 fighting an infection. After a long battle and five months in hospital Jim was pronounced healthy and was able to go home to his wife Loretta.

Despite having health insurance Jim began receiving calls from the California Pacific Medical Center, reminding him he still owed $1.2 million in medical bills. It turned out that Jim’s medical cover was limited to $1.5 million, a figure Jim had reached in the first two months of his stay. He also had debts into the figure mark to other doctors who had been involved in the case.

Almost$ 3 million in bills over five months seems like a lot of money, insurance companies put caps on the total amount of benefits available to protect themselves from paying out extremely large sums of money like in the case of Jim Dawson.

But Jim would have never reached his benefit cap if his hospital wasn’t charging him $791 for stockings (to improve blood circulation) that can be found online for $12. Or the charging $2,225 to $6,675 a night for an oxygen mask to help him sleep.

He also wouldn’t have hit his cap if doctors had correctly diagnosed his staph infection early enough to be easily cured. Various doctors made the wrong call however, leaving Dawson with a medical bill he can’t hope to ever pay.

Finally, when a reporter from the Wall Street Journal began investigating the story, California Pacific decided to write off his entire bill.

8. Aetna Takes Eric Simpson’s Prosthetic Arm

aetna 9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

Eric Simpson lost his arm after being brutally attacked by a masked gunman was shot him seven times. Luckily he had insurance through Aetna for which he paid $560 a month. Aetna said he was fully covered for prosthetics and that they would pay for the $37,000 artificial limb.

A week after receiving the arm Eric got a call from his insurer telling him that he should of know he only had $2,000 in coverage for a prosthetics and that they were coming to collect the arm. Despite the earlier pre-approval.

Aetna followed through, and repo’d the arm, before realizing (a week later) they had made a mistake. Simpson did indeed have full coverage for prosthetics and eventually he got his arm back, but not before going through and extremely stressful experience at an already unbelievably stressful time in his life.

9. Nataline Sarkisyan Dies Because Cigna Drags Their Feet

nataline sarkisyan 9 Examples of How Health Care in America Can Be Improved

Nataline was a 17 year old girl from Glendale, California. She suffered from leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother in 2007. Unfortunately the transplant led to complications and organ failure that affected her liver and kidneys.

Nataline needed a liver transplant and was supposed to be covered through her parent’s health insurers, Cigna. The claim for the liver transplant was denied and Nataline’s Parents started a nationwide campaign. Cigna finally decided to reverse their decision but it was already too late, Nataline died just hours after Cigna approved the procedure.


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