GM workers’ auction supports 13-year-old cancer patient

From the Toledo Free Press:

Troy Winkelman recently found himself facing months of chemotherapy without a stable family health insurance plan because his father was laid off from General Motors.

The 13-year-old was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, approximately a year ago and since then he and his family have had to travel to various places for expensive medical procedures. Tracie Chovan, a laid off toolmaker for GM, organized an auction to support him and said she hopes to help his family out with at least $8,000.

“We found that once everything started happening in the auto industry, it really came to our eyes how lay-offs affect all the people we work with and the people in the community with insurance,” Chovan said.

The Union Brothers and Sisters will host the auction on August 14 at the UAW Local 14, at 5411 Jackman Road. A silent auction accompanied with food and refreshments starts at 6 p.m., followed by a live auction at 6:30 p.m. The event lasts until 9 p.m.

Chovan said a wide variety of businesses and individuals have donated more than 400 different items ranging from furniture, to gift certificates, to musical instruments and other items.

Troy’s family will receive most of the proceeds from the auction, but one other family will also benefit from some of the profits, Chovan added.

Union members hope to sponsor the auction next year to support another family affected by GM layoffs, and intend to help families in the community that aren’t related to GM each year after GM workers start getting their jobs back, she said.

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Thank god we don't have universal medical coverage. It's great that we live a country where a family can spend more time trying to pay for their kids treatment then with him.

At least they'll be able to raise $8000 to pay for about 4 hours of treatment.

I'm certain that this family--and their friends and coworkers--would say that it was all worth it.

I know this for a fact; Someone in my immediate family has been through this--and they gave up their house and a car and THEY WOULD DO IT ALL AGAIN because it saved my sister's life. Yes, they had to start their financial lives over, but their kids have a mother...

No hospital turned them away, though they had no insurance.They used fundraiser money for transporation, housing and food for the multiple trips to the Cleveland Clinic. She got the treatment needed with no questions asked, and eventually got a bone marrow transplant. Toledo and Flower Hospitals worked with them on a payment plan, and forgave the great majority of their debt (which was obviously covered by the average American citizen). I know several people and I know of several more that lived through a similar scenario--they weren't turned away, but instead were covered by medicaid and had to give up some of their worldly possessions to afford costly treatments.

I know that the health care system needs a shot in the arm, but it does not need a Frankenstein-rebirth like that proposed by Kennedy and Dodd.

I see your point--that this is so much energy and work in the land of plenty, and it doesn't seem FAIR that people should have to struggle to raise the necessary money to keep their child alive, and to worry that they won't be able to get the treatments....but a lot of things out of our control are not fair. Honestly, do you think that this$8,000 treatment would be available under universal health care? I am not so sure it would be.

So the family spends all it’s time begging to keeps their kid alive and will most likely have to file bankruptcy and in the end you and I the tax payer still have to flip most of the bill anyway.

I’d really like to hear what conservatives think the solution is? Or do they think this is how it should work for the 45+ million Americans with out insurance?

I agree with you that this is not working well. It isn't just the taxpayer, either...the consumer foots the bill for costs passed on.

I disagree with you on the solution. You wonder what conservatives would rather have. I wonder why the liberals don't question a lot of what is in the current bill in discussion and seem to just accept it as the best solution.
I've thought about what the ideal health care reform should encompass, and it is more moderate than conservative.

Helen Wheales' Health Care Reform Bill (draft)

1) All American citizens are responsible for their own health insurance. No employer sponsored plans. The free market opens opportunities for price competition, not unlike that of the auto and life insurance industries. Those at higher risk--the obese, the smokers, those with family history of breast cancer-- pay higher premiums. (Yeah, Yeah, it's unfair. Well, I think it is more fair than letting the government determine whether my husband is worth treatment based on his age and the relative cost to the taxpayers). Health care is part of the COST OF LIVING, just like food, shelter, utilities, etc...I can go without a Big Screen TV and cell phone to make sure that my kids have prescriptions when they are ill.

2) Immigrants, illegal or otherwise, may buy their own health insurance in the free market, just as they do food, cigarettes, gasoline, etc...Again, it is a cost of living...in America,

3) Medicaid will be expanded to cover the 45 million people who cannot afford health insurance or health care. This is paid for by freeing up money in the current budget by cutting costs...such as apppropriations to save field mice, jet our elected representatives and their familes across the globe, $472 toilet seats, and a bake sale etc...

4) More neighborhood clinics that give all close access to care. These would be ideally run by social service agencies as non-profits. Doctors could volunteer their time.

5) People give up some of their material goods in order to better help out one another through charity.

6) Malpractice suits and settlements are limited. Insurance premiums are lowered as a result, dampening their effect on health care costs.

That's just off the top of my head...

First let me say thanks for the thoughtful response. I feel like we’re actually having a conversation. That said let me counter point. :)

1) All American citizens are responsible for their own health insurance.

No private insurance company would insure my family for any rate we could afford.

Immigrants, illegal or otherwise, may buy their own health insurance in the free market, just as they do food, cigarettes, gasoline, etc...Again, it is a cost of living...in America,

What? This doesn't make since. No one would insure them. What happens when an illegal without insurance gets into a car crash? Are they left to die?

Medicaid will be expanded to cover the 45 million people who cannot afford health insurance or health care.

First, if your "1" goes through there would be a lot more then 45 million needing this. But you describe here is what the bill calls “the public option”. It’s what has the insurance industry pooping where pants. Apparently they don’t believe they can compete again the government. I thought private industry could always been something government run, but they don’t seem to think so. That speaks volumes.

4) More neighborhood clinics that give all close access to care. These would be ideally run by social service agencies as non-profits. Doctors could volunteer their time.
5) People give up some of their material goods in order to better help out one another through charity.
Good luck with both of these. I don’t think my doctor will be opening a clinic in my neighborhood anytime soon.
6) Malpractice suits and settlements are limited. Insurance premiums are lowered as a result, dampening their effect on health care costs.
More states do this then don’t. When Ohio instituted tort reform in 2003 do remember you rates dropping? Me either…

No hospital turned them away, though they had no insurance

One of the reasons for exploding premiums

Pink Slip

so is torte reform but oddly that's being left out of the takeover.

MikeyA

More than half the states already have tort reform and it hasn't helped with the cost of medical insurance.

Medical malpractice damage awards are less than 1% of the total cost of US healthcare.

http://insurance-reform.org/issues/MedMalSystemCostsFactSheet2009F.html

Limiting citizens' Seventh Amendment rights to file personal injury lawsuits has been a winning issue for the Republican Party since the 1980s. "Tort reform" not only protects big corporations from responsibility and screws the little guy -- a win/win right there -- but it also turns trial lawyers (who tend to vote for Democrats) into the scapegoats for many of the nation's ills.

We've had tort report in Ohio since 2005 and the cost of my insurance has way out paced the rate of inflation.

I don't need to quote cases to justify that trial lawyers ARE a large part of the problem for our nation's ills.

MikeyA

The way you never answer anything I’m begining to think you’re a lawyer. The fact is, we here in Ohio and you in California have had tort reform on the books for a few years. I haven’t seen a bunch of doctors and insurance companies opening up here driving down prices.

I haven’t gone to my yearly medical enrollement at work and been told that I’m going to be paying less for health care. It’s been just the opposite. On top of that, there are now certain drugs that my company decided that they don’t want to cover. I’m sure glade my for profit company is working with my for profit insurance company to keep there profits up.

Here is good article from the Zaneville Time Recorder –
http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/article/20090810/NEWS01/908100304...

In Ohio, for example, WellPoint and Medical Mutual control 61 percent of the market.

So much for competition.

There's no question that under the current structure, costs have soared. Premiums for family plans have increased 76 percent in Ohio since 2000.

Wow!

I don't trust the people that gave us the Hot Coffee lawsuit, the Twinkie defense, and "if the glove don't quit you must acquit."

Additionally, malpractice insurance is a large portion of a doctor's operating cost. Even in Ohio.

The other major addition to the cost is the education needed.

MikeyA

I hear you....

How would tort reform affect health insurance premiums?

Pink Slip

In order for a doctor to practice, he needs malpractice insurance.

If malpractice insurance premiums rise, the doctor in turn has to raise his rates to stay in business.  The same as GM, Ford etc.   Higher costs of steel is not absorbed by the company, the higher costs are passed on to the customer.

Now look up the awards being given to patients who sue.

http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/trial-procedure-suits-claims/7564499-1.html $25 Million

http://www.lubinandmeyer.com/cases/case_40mjuryaward.html $40 Million

Again, the insurance company is the one paying these

And, like the auto industry, if the insurance companies costs go up, the premiums go up.

Now look up how many doctors are QUITTING because malpractice insurance rates make it impossible for them to stay in business.

http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080313/OPINION/803130304

http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/10-03/10-06-03/a01lo366.htm

And, finally, the ObamaCare plan wants to add an additional 40 million or so uninsured people to the healthcare system. Have you made an appointment reciently with your doctor?  How long did you have to wait? Were you seen the same day? I doubt it.

There is already a shortage of doctors, now add 40 million more people trying to see a doctor for free and YOUR wait to see a doctor will be much longer.

 

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a
socialist.

First - over 32 states already have some sort of tort reform in place. It only accounts for around 1% of the cost of insurance.

Second - You want to keep rationing care to 45+ million Americans to keep wait times at doctor office down? That may be the single dumbest argument again health insurance reform I've every heard and that says alot since Palin has been tweeting lately.

"If malpractice insurance premiums rise, the doctor in turn has to raise his rates to stay in business."

I know a couple of docs, and it's not like they can negotiate higher payments from insurance companies. They typically get dictated to--here are the prices, take it or leave it. I don't doubt that they try and recoup the cost in other ways (cutting staff, collecting co-pays at the time of service, etc). I just don't think it's reflected in the insurance premiums we pay.

Pink Slip

http://www.protectpatientsnow.org/site/c.8oIDJLNnHlE/b.4076225/

Still, though they didn't go down at first, Jones said his malpractice premiums have started to decrease in recent years. "Our malpractice premiums probably peaked in 2004, maybe 2005," he said. "Since then, we've seen a decrease, and you have to believe it's due to tort reform." In 2007, the rates for malpractice premiums charged by Ohio's five biggest medical malpractice insurance underwriters dropped a total average of 10.9 percent, according to figures provided by Robert Denhard, Ohio Department of Insurance public information officer.

Right...according to Libs' logic--since malpractice premiums in Ohio went down, health insurance premiums would reflect this. Only....not so much.

As Allen Iverson might say, "mal-PRACTICE?? We're talking about mal-PRACTICE??"

Pink Slip

And they also have better public health by almost any measure.

Please see my posts at the thread above on this issue.

"All other industrialized nations have national health care!"

And it gives them a distinct advantage in the labor market.

Pink Slip

Again I refer to the above thread: "Health Care Reform Government Style" and my comments #13 and #14. I write about the competitive advantage companies have who operate in countries with national health care systems.

If you get a chance watch a great documentary called "Hot Coffee" . It talks about tort reform.
What is interesting is back in the 80's how Carl Rove used George w Bush to get tort reform laws passed in Texas to benefit big business. The republicans take any opportunity they can to fuck over the average man.

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