I first discovered Loralee’s blog sometime last summer. She and her husband have been through some seriously bad times with health insurance over the past year. They just had a baby earlier this summer, and are currently tackling the medical bills that accompanied a very high risk pregnancy, since the pregnancy was deemed a pre-existing condition by their health insurance policy.
The health insurance plan they have for Loralee sounds a lot like Cover Colorado. It’s state risk pool health insurance for people who don’t have access to a group plan, and don’t qualify for individual health insurance – and there’s a requirement that if you have access to COBRA, you have to exhaust it first before you can enroll in the state risk pool. To make a long story short, Loralee and her husband Jon are paying for the pregnancy and birth themselves, and it’s not cheap.
What makes this story different from most of the other ones out there is that Loralee got to speak with Valerie Jarrett at BlogHer last month, and has written a very detailed post about the experience. Loralee describes herself as a moderate Republican, but is very much in support of health care reform as proposed by the current administration.
Where this gets interesting is her husband’s point of view. Jon has been through all the same stuff as Loralee over the last year (well, the insurance and financial part of it anyway), and yet when he found out that Loralee was going to have an audience with Ms. Jarrett, he said he’d like her to pass on the word that he would prefer to pay every last cent of their medical bill rather than move to a government-run health care system.
Jon agrees that our current system is tough for people with pre-existing conditions. He makes the point that for people like his wife, who are unable to qualify for medically underwritten health insurance, there are state-sponsored high risk pool policies (like Cover Colorado). But it’s important to note that not all states have high risk pools.
Jon and Loralee are by no means wealthy. Loralee makes it very clear on her blog that they struggle with money and work hard for everything they have. Paying this medical bill is going to be a major challenge, and will likely take them a long time. There are lots of people out there who share Jon’s opinion on health care reform. But often they are in a much different position financially and they also tend to have great private health insurance coverage. I doubt that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is struggling to pay off any medical bills. Had a government-run “public option” or some sort of universal health care program existed prior to Loralee’s pregnancy, their family would likely be better off financially than they are now. And yet Jon remains true to his small government values, and doesn’t want any assistance with the medical bills his family faces. For me, this makes his point of view seem particularly genuine, and I read his guest post on Loralee’s blog with great interest.
There are hundreds of comments on Loralee’s blog, with people weighing in on both sides of the issue. Everyone has kept a respectful tone, and quite a few really great points have been made. Valerie Jarrett even added a comment to Loralee’s post, so obviously the White House is paying attention to her blog. I find it fascinating that this couple has such diverse views on health care, despite having gone through – together – such a rocky health care road over the last year. The articles from both Jon and Loralee shine a light on the perspecives of both sides of the health care debate, as do many of the comments they have received.