Our Stories

If we do not ensure that everyone has healthcare, who will suffer, and who will die?

We all have a health care story to tell, one of loss, needless pain and suffering, and even premature death. We need your story; please share it.

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Dominic Reasoner

 

 

As a breast cancer nurse navigator, a middle aged woman facing aggressive breast cancer without means to pay for treatment is all too familiar. In one case, although a diagnostic screening for a breast lump was covered, neither her insurance - nor the supplemental plan she pays for - covers any part of cancer treatment. She's facing $150,000 just for the chemotherapy portion of her treatment. The patient has applied for free drugs through the pharmaceutical companies, but is still waiting for a response. Meanwhile, it's been several weeks since diagnosis, and if she had real access to care and not useless insurance, she'd have started treatment weeks ago. With a delay in her treatment the cancer may advance – perhaps to even be incurable - breast cancer. This poor woman is faced not only with cancer, but also anxiety and fear of bankruptcy.

Lawrence Jacobson of Manzanita, OR. My drug costs are costs soaring. Some time ago, my long-time prostate medication was dropped by my Medicare Supplement Plan. Now, it's been dropped also from 340B rural health coverage. My out of pocket costs are now by eight times higher, and that's after meeting the pharmacy deductible!

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Bill Whitaker of La Grande, OR. In October 2017 I was diagnosed with low cholesterol level and was prescribed a topical salve to apply daily. My first 30 day supply was paid for by my prescription drug plan with a $50 deductible. When I renewed the prescription in November, I was told I was now in the "donut hole" and would have to pay 100% of the costs for all my prescriptions. The cholesterol prescription cost $800 per month for a very small amount of salve. When I contacted my doctor about possible alternatives, I was told I could get a different prescription from a local compounding pharmacy for a monthly co-pay of $50 and avoid the donut hole trap. My prescription now costs me only $600/year.

For some 20 years, Philip Ratcliff belonged to a major HMO in California. On moving to Oregon in 2013, he reapplied to the same HMO, but was rejected due to pre-existing conditions. He applied again in January 2014, after the ACA was in effect. While the HMO promptly cashed his premium check, it also claimed to have lost all record of his application. By March, he thought he'd had it all straightened out, only to discover that the HMO hadn't been sending his monthly tax credits. The HMO once again informed him that he'd never been a member, though of course they'd been happily cashing his premium checks! It wasn't until Philip reached out to the Oregon Insurance Commissioner that the HMO reinstated his insurance and he was given the tax credits he was owed.

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Sarah Brightman, Junction City, OR, a mother of 3, accumulated $70,000 in medical bills for her son over 5 years. Each year the family maxed out their deductible for him. That meant the family did not have money for other activities such as summer camps, vacation trips, household needs.

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Jennifer Bagwell. My son has Type One Diabetes and I painted this painting using an actual receipt for Insulin. I'm using the image to teach empathy for patients. Type ones must have Insulin to live. Feel free to share.

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Lisa and Chris Heydemann, Wilsonville, OR. Our daughter Mia is developmentally delayed and deaf. She's the poster child for pre-existing conditions and like many others, we were swimming in medical debt. We short-sold our home because her care - medications, specialists, hearing aids, counseling - was more important than owning our own house. As parents of an adult daughter with developmental disabilities, cuts to medical care would hurt us financially, medically and dramatically reduce her quality of life. We urge all Oregonians to think hard about the profound impact reducing the availability of medical care will have on the lives of people with disabilities.

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Kristi Reynolds, Student at Linn Benton Community College, her experience with our healthcare system. She developed tendinitis as she prepared decorations for her wedding. She could not afford the deductibles or co-pays, and so could not get the medical care she needed. Watch here store on YouTube.