Saturday, August 22, 2009

One question

Throughout the course of the health care debate, we have seen stories such as this one and this one, about the worries of parents with ill children who are, by virtue of their parents' good insurance coverage, receiving excellent medical care. These parents are understandably worried what will happen to their children should any reform measures pass. There are chronically ill people in my family, and I know how every parent worries.

But there's a problem with those so tied to the current system that they can't see where our broken health care infrastructure will land their children once they hit adulthood. At Truth v. Machine, I left the following comment:

What happens when she reaches adulthood? Employer-based coverage under a parent’s policy ends once schooling is completed. If the young adult is disabled, full employment with benefits is often not possible. The pre-existing conditions eliminate them from privately purchased coverage (and from employer coverage for many months). Medicaid and SSI doom most disabled people to poverty.

Who is going to pay for Cady’s IVIG treatment (or whatever the treatment is in 15 years) when she’s no longer on her parent’s policy? How is she ever going to be able to afford such care, especially if something tragic happens to her parents? For that matter, what would happen if her parents lost that coverage now, something thousands of people face everyday now.

I don’t mean to be mean or anything, but it’s a question parents of uninsurable kids (and I’m one of those parents) will have to face.

So far no one has answered the question.

I have a relative who has been ill since she was a teenager and has never been able to work. Coverage under her parents' plans ran out decades ago. No private insurer will go near her. She's on Medicaid, and although it has its bureaucratic snafus, she does get care, and her providers do what they can to help her along. The $967 per month new prescription will take some time to get approved, but they're feeding her samples until that takes place.

But she has care. She's limited on how much she can ever earn, but there's a doctor and a hospital and medications there for her thanks to the government plan.

Medicaid has guidelines that she's sick enough to meet. But what about the one protester's daughter, and the young Cady that Gary Miller introduces us to? They're going to grow up and they're going to get booted off of their parents' plans.

What then?

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