Insurance at what price? Death.

This front page Wall Street Journal story today beautifully illustrates the complexities, headaches and frustration with trying to get insurance when you have a serious illness.

The story explains the plight of a 31-year-old Tennessee woman, with lupus, and the lengths she and her middle class family went through to get her needed care.

….Nikki White had more advantages than many patients. She went to college, once aspired to be a doctor and worked in a hospital trauma ward. She researched her disease painstakingly. “She always went to doctors with a list of do’s and recommendations,” her mother says….

But Nikki could not get health insurance — either privately or through the public program. Her parents offered to sell their home, but she refused to allow them. She got stuck in her state’s Medicaid application morass. Nikki ultimately died.

Many Americans have health insurance, and 47 million don’t. But lots of people
are in a messy middle — sometimes insured by employers, sometimes by
government, sometimes not at all. Ms. White was left without health insurance
just as her disease took a turn for the worse. While battling to stay alive and
going from doctor to doctor, she had to navigate among government programs,
private insurance rules and hospital charity.

Her case illustrates how arduous the American health-care system can be, even for an educated person in a middle-class family. Unique among developed countries, the U.S. delivers medical care through a patchwork of public and private entities, paid for by another patchwork of public and private insurers. Coverage is tied to the workplace or to intricately crafted government programs. For some, the system can offer more flexibility and better health care than that offered by national health regimes, but others can get lost in the tangles.

Lest anyone thing that only poeple in other states have problems with Medicaid, this The Sacramento Bee story should dispel that.

The Wall Street Journal requires a subscription to read their online content. If you don’t have a subscription, email and i will be happy to email you a copy of this particular story.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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