Meet Cassidy “Cassie” Freeman, the smiling 9 year old in the picture above. She loves to sing and act and has a wonderful sense of humor. Cassie loves school and her favorite subject is math. What a nerd! She volunteers her time at the local Humane Society and her favorite animal is the turtle. She loves pigs in a blanket and fruit salad. She’s the kind of for which all parents dream.
But our healthcare system treated her like a pariah.
Cassie was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis when she was four. Ask senior citizens suffering from Arthritis how unpleasant it is; Swollen joints, stiff knees and constant low level pain. Now imagine a lifetime of it. But there are treatments, therapies, and medications which would allow Cassie to lead a relatively normal life as long as she had insurance to cover the expenses.
But no one would insure her.
Her father, Scott, was a full time minister in a small nondenominational place of worship that did not have group insurance. Cassie’s parents tried a variety of insurance companies to get coverage for their family of five. A representative from eHealthinsurance.com flat out said, “Oh forget it, no one is going to cover this child!”
Profits over people. The American way.
Any company that Blue Cross/Blue Shield was underwriting wouldn’t touch her. One company even refused to cover the entire family as if they were tainted somehow. The Freemans eventually managed to get a company to cover themselves and their other two children, but Cassie was left uninsured.
They tried repeatedly to have the decision appealed. This is the process in which a person denied insurance can plead their case to another department in the insurance company directly. The Freemans begged the companies to insure their stricken daughter. They asked for her to have a separate policy which excluded the arthritis, but would cover everything else. Cassie’s doctors wrote letters asking for the coverage but all were refused. One company even rejected an offer to insure Cassie with the most expensive plan possible. Corporations are people, my friends. Cold, callous, uncaring people.
Unsurprisingly, this was in Texas; the state with the highest rate of uninsured people in the country.
When Cassie was 5, the Freemans moved to Oklahoma and, as luck would have it, Oklahoma has a high risk pool. From the Oklahoma state government page:
The Oklahoma Health Insurance High Risk Pool (HRP) was created to serve those who are considered medically uninsurable or high risk. In layman’s terms, that means people who have been denied health insurance due to a serious health condition. In certain cases, it also applies to those who have been quoted very high premiums, again due to a serious health condition.
Great! Except that the HRP has a requirement of one year residency before a person can enroll. The insurance would have been crappy and cost $7200 a year for just Cassie. But it would have been something and that’s more than Texas was willing to provide.
Fortunately, Scott was able to get into group insurance through a similar denomination and they finally had group insurance. At last, after a year of rejections based on nothing more than corporate greed, Cassie had insurance. Just as a side note of how petty the insurance companies can be, Cassie’s sister, Chloe when she was nine months old, was given insurance but with a rider excluding coverage for her ears. Yes, her ears! Why? Because she had a history of ear infections and the insurance company didn’t want to take the risk on Chloe’s “pre-existing condition.”
After Cassie got her coverage, her mother took her giant binder filled with all of the rejection notices, dubbed “Cassie’s Insurance Nightmare” and shredded it while crying tears of joy. The four times mentioned in the image is a placeholder number because they simply do not recall exactly how many rejections and failed appeals there were. Still, Cassie got her insurance and they lived happily ever after.
So how does Obamacare come into play?
Thanks to the 100% opposed by Congressional conservatives, Obamacare, no matter where the Freemans go, Cassie will ALWAYS have insurance. They will not be trapped at a job because it offers insurance and they will be free to move back to Texas or move to Colorado or New Jersey if they feel like it. Cassie will ALWAYS have insurance. If Scott loses his job and ends up working at Burger King, Cassie will ALWAYS have insurance. The Freemans made the picture that started this article so others would know that we made the right choice as a nation.
This is what Mitt Romney has sworn to repeal. Repeal and replace with…? We don’t know, he never says. This is what the House GOP has wasted $48 million on with symbolic and childish votes to repeal. Repeal and replace with…? We don’t know that, either. They never say. The right says Obamacare is “tyranny” and “oppression” and that they might just have to resort to armed rebellion. Ideological ranting must be nice when you don’t have to face the people whose insurance you would so blithely take away. I would pay good money to have John Boehner, Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh and all the other “Christians” from the “party of God” tell Cassie Freeman, to her face, that she doesn’t deserve to live a normal life because it slightly inconveniences a small percentage of the country and cuts into corporate profits. They can make it into a photo op to show just how “severely conservative” they are.
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