Keep in mind as you read this news item, this takes place in a country that spends thousands of dollars more per person for healthcare than other countries, including those that have a comparable per person GDP and median income. From Diabetes Health:
For most young adults, May is a month of looking forward. The month of May heralds summer vacation, and for those graduating from high school or college, it offers a diploma with a stamp of independence.
But Nicole Daley, a 23-year-old type 1 in New York City, warily eyes this impending milestone. She’ll be graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology this month, and eight months later she will lose dependent status under her parent’s employer-sponsored plan–a deadline that has set her scrambling for health insurance. The clock is ticking: If she fails to secure coverage before her current plan expires, future carriers will view her diabetes as a pre-existing condition, and she’ll be forced to foot the bill for her diabetes care for at least a year, maybe indefinitely.
Most jobs available to recent graduates like Daley are low wage or temporary–the type that usually offer limited or no health benefits. She is working part time for a small marketing company, but the company can’t take her on full time. As a result, she is considering leaving her job to find something full time or leaving New York City altogether, where the cost of living, combined with her medical expenses–more than $1,000 a month, she estimates–is too much to bear.
Welcome to the real world, or, more precisely, the reality facing young adults with diabetes in America today.
If you read the article, it gets worse. Then there’s this little bit from Kaiser Health News about quality health care for federal workers (italics mine):
Toni knows she’s fortunate. This summer, she went to a summer camp for kids with diabetes. And she saw what kids do when they don’t have good health insurance. “At camp they provide you with supplies, but I’ve seen kids who have saved their needles and taken them with them,” she says. “Even though you weren’t like supposed to, they would kind of sneak them just to make sure they would have something when they got back home.”
Toni and Rhonda know that when people don’t have good insurance, they’re so desperate they will even reuse a needle. “It gets dull. And so it really hurts. But you have to have insulin, just like I said,” Rhonda says. “I mean, without insulin, Toni would die. So you, take the pain in order to live.”
The insurance companies’ treatment of juvenile diabetes illustrates how morally decrepit these companies are–which makes the Blue Dog Democrats’ defense of them all the more reprehensible. Why? Because juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disease–a kid basically wakes up one day and her pancreas can’t produce insulin ever again. This has nothing to do with ‘bad behavior.’ Moreover, this disease practically defines the notion of social insurance: this is the healthcare equivalent of a thunderbolt from a clear blue sky. This is why we have health insurance. It’s as ridiculous as charging people more for getting old.
But, by all means, let private insurers essentially write healthcare legislation. I’m sure it will only be a problem for juvenile diabetics, right?