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Open Letter to Senator Bennet regarding healthcare

August 11, 2009

Dear Senator Bennett,

I am writing to ask you to please support health care reform in the United States.

I recently visited the emergency room at my local hospital with a possible case of appendicitis that turned out to be diverticulitus, an infection in the lower intestine. Fortunately, I did not need surgery AND I have health insurance. However, I have not seen my final bills from visiting the emergency room, so it will be interesting to see what my insurance covers or not.

I’d like to tell you my personal story about health insurance, because it surely demonstrates that the current system of health care in the US is not working to the benefit of the people of this nation.

I have been a professional musician and teacher all of my adult life. As a member of various orchestras and the musicians union, I have had health insurance up until the spring of 2003, when the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra went into bankruptcy, and all the musicians of the orchestra (75 people) including myself lost our health insurance.

At the time, I was not making enough money to buy health insurance, so I went on what I call the “Denver General” plan. As a resident of the city and county of Denver, I can go to the Denver General Hospital Emergency room and they will treat me and charge me on a sliding scale (my mother also used this “plan” until she was eligible for Medicare).

In 2007 I got married. My wife then tried to add me to her health insurance plan that she has for herself and her children. Her company is Humana, and the following events seem like they an episode from Michael Moore’s film “Sicko”.

A nurse from Humana came to our house and took blood and urine samples, weighed and measured me. Several weeks later I received a letter from Humana. Two doctors in Minnesota who I never saw or met with looked at the test and measurement results from the nurse. These doctors determined that I am obese (I am 20-25 pounds overweight). With this information, Humana determined that while they could insure me (for a hefty price), they would try to tie anything that was wrong with me to my weight and therefore avoid letting me use my insurance benefits because of this “pre-existing condition”. There was also no possibility of having a new assessment after losing weight. I am permanently blacklisted with a “pre-existing condition”.

There was one piece of seeming good news: I could get some sort of affordable insurance through the state of Colorado called Cover Colorado, which is administered by PacificCare. This insurance is relatively affordable ($160.00 a month) and they could not turn me down for a “pre-existing condition”.

It is also a program that is subsidized by Colorado tax-payers. Can you say “socialized medicine”?

On the surface, Cover Colorado looks like a good thing for me. But actually using it has shown a number of absurdities. For starters, I can’t make an appointment with my doctor until I get permission from the Cover Colorado nurse who rarely calls back on the same day, and in one case didn’t call back at all. This is another person who I have never seen or met!

This spring I got permission to see my doctor for a persistent cold and/or flu. My doctor ran a test to see if I had a bacterial or viral infection, since he did not want to prescribe anti-biotics if they weren’t needed. Cover Colorado refused to pay for this $35 test! So the next time I saw my doctor later in the spring, he went ahead and prescribed anti-biotics without the test, and Cover Colorado was happy to pay for the drugs, even though there was some question as to whether I needed them.

The Cover Colorado plan is heavy on administration, and it’s approach to good health is random at best, and financially wasteful as well.

I am 49 years old, and I teach part-time at Red Rocks Community College and am Vice-President of the Denver Musicians Association. Sir, we badly need health insurance and health care reform. The United States is the only developed nation that does not have some sort of universal, public health care.

Please vote for a health care plan that will give me and millions of Americans who have either no insurance or inadequate insurance the right to good and safe healthcare. It is morally and ethically correct, it is the humane and fiscally responsible thing to do.

Supporting health care reform is a clear indicator of whether you as our elected representative stand for us, the people of this nation, or if you are a lackey of the insurance and medical industry, and only interested in your own re-election with funds from these industries. And if you don’t vote for and support universal health care, please put your money where your mouth is, and refuse to use the health insurance plan that you receive from the government as a government employee, funded by the taxpayers that you represent. And plan on not being re-elected if you don’t do the right thing.

Do the right thing, stand by the working people of the United States.

Hopefully,

Thomas A. Blomster

1820 Race Street

Denver, CO 80206-1116

303-322-1764

Blomster@ecentral.com

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  1. October 20th, 2009 at 16:25 | #1

    Hey Thomas! A very well written letter, and I feel your pain! I’m with you on being hopeful regarding Health Care Reform. Strong Public Option; Employer Mandates; and NO taxation on Health Care Benefits are all important facets of needed reform. Here’s hoping!

  2. August 11th, 2009 at 22:15 | #2

    Note: I have sent the same letter to Senator Udall.

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