SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Healthcare Reform
By Chris Elliott


November 21, 2009
Saturday PM

Last December I woke up after surgery in a room at Virginia Mason with a homeless female heroin addict in the other bed. I know this because a nurse patiently gathered the woman's medical history and current circumstances before the poor woman slumped across her food tray fast sleep. I'm pretty sure she didn't have health insurance. I'm pretty sure those of us with insurance are covering her in our premiums. (The Uninsured)

Every morning before I go to work, I watch a little news. There is always at least one advertisement from attorneys soliciting clients who have suffered (fill in the blank). The purpose is to sue a big drug company or corporation or hospital for personal injury. The payoff is a big settlement for pain and suffering and lost wages and, the BIG ONE, punitive damages. The attorneys get at least a third, so it is in their interest to take it to the limit. When a jury awards a gazillion in punitive damages, malpractice insurance is going up, up, up. (Tort Reform)

There are about 8 companies authorized by the State of Alaska to sell insurance here. Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska has about a 75% share. Some states authorize many more and some authorize fewer. Why the difference? Why can't all the insurance companies sell insurance in all the states? And why don't insurance companies offer a la carte benefits? I don't need pre-natal insurance. I don't want marriage counseling insurance. Why can't I have it my way?

These are the things I ponder when I get my co-pay statement from Blue Cross.

Chris Elliott
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Healthcare consumer"

Received November 17, 2009 - Published November 21, 2009


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