Citizens in Glenwood Springs rally support for health care reform
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Anita Sherman Hughes of Glenwood Springs and her young family are among the two-thirds of Americans who have health insurance. But that doesn’t mean the system is working, she says.
“It wasn’t until this past year that I was made fully aware of what is an unsustainable, broken health care system,” Hughes said at a local rally Tuesday in support of national health care reform, sponsored by Organizing for America’s Change that Works campaign and the Service Employees International Union.
“Something is wrong with a system that’s not about people, and not about policy, but about who can profit most,” she said. “It has got to stop now.”
A small group of about 15 health care reform advocates showed up at the rally in Axtel Park to share their stories and send a message to Colorado’s congressional delegation to not bother coming home for their August recess until they’ve voted on a health care reform package that includes a public health insurance option.
Similar rallies were held Tuesday in Grand Junction, Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
For Hughes, the realization that change is needed in the system came when her 2-year-old daughter became ill last summer.
What they thought was a bad cold turned out to be much more serious when a recurring bout with pneumonia led to an eventual diagnosis that Hughes’ daughter had a kidney infection.
Getting to that point was an eye-opener, she said, after doctors kept insisting it was nothing more than a severe cold and refused to run tests for a possible infection until Hughes demanded it.
“We finally got her back on track, but I had to meet with the doctors and let them know how concerned I was with the level of care I felt we were getting,” she said.
Health insurance covered their expenses. However, because her daughter now has what’s considered a pre-existing condition since birth, they live with the fear the insurance carriers could reopen the case and back bill them.
“And, as she gets older and seeks to obtain her own health insurance, she would be denied under the current system as having a pre-existing condition from birth, even though she could grow out of it,” Hughes said.
Gloria Edwards, who owns High Country Forestry in Glenwood Springs with her husband, said health insurance reform is critical for small businesses like hers that are forced to deal with the high costs of insuring their employees.
“I’m here because we need to see our country make some changes,” she said. “There has to be some kind of realistic solution besides bleeding our small businesses and our families.”
Nick Isenberg of Glenwood Springs offered his story of being told twice by insurance companies over the years that a particular procedure would be covered, only to have them renege after the procedures were already done.
“And after you get turned down by one insurance company, you get turned down by all the other insurance companies because the first one turned you down,” he said. It wasn’t until he and his wife, Joan, turned 65 and became eligible for “that dreaded government health insurance” known as Medicare that they were finally able to have acceptable health care coverage, he said.
“We’ve given the health insurance companies their chance and they said loud and clear, they don’t care about us, our lives aren’t as important as their profits,” Isenberg said. “I say let them go out of business if they can’t, or don’t want to compete with a good government option.”
No one showed up at the Glenwood rally in opposition to President Obama’s health care reform proposal, now embodied in House Rule 3200. However, several protesters from the Tea Party anti-taxation organization were expected at the Grand Junction health care reform rally Tuesday evening.
Another locally organized event, the Roaring Fork Valley for Health Care Reform organizing event, will be held from 6-9 p.m. tonight at Carbondale Town Hall. As with Tuesday’s event, it is intended to urge congressional support for health care reform.
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