HB A Model For America

My name is Kate Loving Shenk of Nursing Career Transformation and a Staff Registered Nurse in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As a Health Care Professional, I see people who are between jobs, who are in retirement, or starting a new business, or who want to go back to school, or move from one job to another; and they lose health coverage in the process, sometimes with catastrophic results when accidents or acute health conditions occur during these times. When people fall in these categories of the uninsured, health care workers, patients and tax payers all have to pay. From my perspective, when a patient arrives at the hospital with a large brain stem bleed because of a major stroke after he stopped taking his blood pressure medicines when his retirement plan unexpectedly dropped his health insurance, and we resuscitate him just long enough for his family to arrive and say their goodbyes; And this and similar situations occur where patients between jobs and in retirement are forced to cut back and consequently die as the economy worsens, suffice to say, Nurses and Doctors see these sorts of examples all the time. Burnout in my profession results because of a profit driven health care system that isn't taking care of anyone, and Nurses and Doctors are left to pick up the pieces.

Or take the example of a man between jobs without health insurance, with a job interview the day after his car slipped on black ice, was flown by helicopter to an area trauma unit, and spent 2 ½ days in Intensive Care before he was moved to a regular hospital room. He sustained major injuries to his spine, including fractured and compressed vertebrae, and shattered discs. This man was incapable of attending the job interview, of a job he was favored to get, and now has a huge hospital bill after major surgery to his spine, transport by helicopter, and an extended hospital stay. Or the example of an 89 year old woman, Merle Kuznik, who broke her right hip after suffering a major stroke on her left side. The nursing home she was in insisted that Merle Kuznik apply for Medicaid to pay for expenses not paid by Medicare.

When the paperwork was not completed in a timely fashion, local Constables showed up to her nursing home room, with guns visible but in their holsters, and told her she would have to go to jail for 3 days, if she did not pay. Merle's daughter Mary Beth went to KDKA TV and told the story which the station covered, but Merle was emotionally challenged by the duel threat of incarceration and economic collapse. Our bill, HB 1660 pays for long term care and does not involve the bureaucratic paper work that was created ultimately by health insurance companies to deny payment to consumers. If HB 1660 was in place, Marybeth and Merle wouldn't be going through this degrading experience. The question is, how many other of our elderly as well as most people between employment, are having similar experiences that are the worst kind of humiliations in what is NOT a civil society until we get a single payer system instituted in our country? Meanwhile, the health insurance industry continues to lobby to protect their position and profits, while the system they've created continues to disenfranchise more and more people in this country every year.

I would be remiss if I did not talk about single mothers in this scenario. I spoke to such a woman whose yearly income is $18,000/yearly, but because her ex-husband had insurance that covered little if anything, her 2 children did not qualify for schip. She went to her state representative who gave her poor advice: To ask her ex-husband to drop his insurance, wait 90 days, and reapply to schip, not taking into account that her ex-husband was court mandated to have such insurance.

Consequently, her out-of-pocket medical expenses continue to mount because of a system that allows too many single mothers to fall through the cracks. In sharp contrast, a health care system which includes full and unlimited medical, dental, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, home nursing, mental health, optical, substance abuse, hospice, long-term care, emergency transport, physical and occupational therapy, will free all of us to make full contributions to our families and to society. Malpractice, another overwhelming stress contributed to a health care system in crisis, will fade. America will be able to compete in the Global Economy. The stressors I have described will vanish. HB 1660 has the singular capacity to bring the haves and have nots together for a common cause that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and America desperately need.

By having a Civilized Medical System in place, as Chuck Pennacchio calls it, we can serve our population of patients with a clear conscience. These are the greatest gifts of all.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator of the e-book called "Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover Your Calling and Destiny." Click here to find out how to order the e-book: http://www.nursingcareertransformation.com Check Out Kate's Blog: http://www.nursehealers.typepad.com -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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