One voter’s big issue

Published 1:33 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mark Kitchens, senior vice president of AARP, stated in a television interview recently that the cost, quality and coverage of healthcare have a lot to do with one’s economic outlook. His words surely rang true for me, as my main focus when I voted was affordable health care insurance and no insurance, since these issues have affected my life for the past four years.

Sen. John McCain opposes a universal health-care system and he proposes to tax health care benefits, but his plan provides $2,500 tax credits for individuals and $5,000 for families.

Sen. Barack Obama proposes a universal healthcare plan based on private insurance, and he would mandate coverage for all children. He would also require large employers to provide insurance or contribute to costs and provide subsidies for low-income people.

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Here is my healthcare situation.

I retired on June 27, 2004. On July 1 of 2007, I was no longer covered by the company’s policy and had to purchase a Cobra policy with that same company. It offered a monthly premium for a little over $330 for 18 months.

When that period ended in December 2005, I applied for private insurance with the same company but had to do it within 30 days after my Cobra policy ended. They couldn’t turn me down but I had to accept the monthly premium they offered which was a little over $1,000 with a lower deductible rate or $700 at a higher deductible rate.

I applied to other companies before the 30 days ran out and settled for a company in January 2006 with limited benefits for a monthly premium a little over $440 and $10,000 deductible because I wanted to keep my doctors. The deductible was $5,000 with doctors in their network. My three medications totaled $185 a month with their discount card.

In January 2007 the monthly premium went up to $553, and only six months later in June the monthly premium jumped to $625. I decided to drop that policy, because I couldn’t afford it with other monthly obligations. Shortly after, God sent me a miracle.

Margaret Jones, a retired nurse, heard about my situation through two friends.

Jones led me to the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, and they have been giving me top-quality healthcare since the summer of 2007. If I live to see Jan. 1, I will be insured by Medicare and the Medicare supplement program with AARP.

I only pray that the change that my candidate spoke of includes making a way for a person to obtain affordable health insurance so that he won’t have to choose whether he should feed himself or treat his illness.