Mr. President: I’m not Joe the Plumber. I am Deborah the dog walker. And, I demand my 15 minutes. I have something very important to ask, and I want a straight answer from you and the lawmakers on Capitol Hill — no more grandstanding, posturing and political theater.
When I want to see a show, I head to Broadway (Have you seen “Hair“? Fabulous!). First, the facts:
I put myself through college while working full time. I got my BA, MBA and MS.
I bought an affordable home in 2000 and paid off my mortgage within 8 years.
I lost my job in 2006 and supported myself with money I saved in case of a recession. When I was unable to find a job, I reinvented myself.
I became an entrepreneur, buying a pet care franchise. Throughout my unemployment — and right up to now — I paid 100% of my health insurance premiums — thousands and thousands of dollars worth.
Did you know that in my state, New Jersey, the only way a person can have prescription coverage is through a “group” health plan?
That’s right: One of the richest states in the union doesn’t allow “individual” policy holders to get prescription coverage.
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1993. In 2007 I started giving myself daily injections with a drug that costs roughly $1,800 a month.
You and the members of Congress have access to affordable, quality health care. Why don’t we? Are you better than us, more deserving?
I pay thousands of dollars a year for a health insurance plan that none of my doctor’s participate in. As I result I was forced to find a new eye doctor, GYN, and neurologist.
When was the last time you “decided” what doctor you were going to see? Anyone of us who thinks we make that decision alone is in denial. Insurance companies, employers and doctors are calling all the shots.
Insurance companies set premium rates and reimbursement fees. With that employers decide what insurance they will offer and doctors which plans they can afford to participate in.
My friend Susan’s company recently announced that its insurance premiums increased 39% and was no longer affordable. The plan was unilaterally cancelled and replaced the plan with a sub-par substitute. Guess how many of Susan’s doctor’s are in the plan?
That‘s right — none. So now she pays a heavy premium every month and when she gets sick, she pays 100% out of pocket.
Mr. President, I am not looking for a hand out. I don’t mind paying for my own insurance.
But I do want access to affordable, reasonable, quality health care.
What does it say that I live in fear of getting sick in the “richest,” most advanced country in the world?
Today’s summit was your chance to do the right thing. I can’t wait to hear what Diane Sawyer has to say about your day.
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