Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.
We keep reading and hearing about the horrendous, heartbreaking stories of people without healhcare coverage who have major medical problems. Last week my friend Lisa joined that list.
After weeks of tests and hospitalization for a sudden onset of double vision, being unable to use her arms and hands and feeling like her torso was being squeezed in a vise, Lisa was disagnosed in May with multiple sclorosis.
Even though she and her husband paid nearly $4,000 to meet deductibles and co-payments and spent weeks hassling with the insurance company -- they had coverage with through her husband's employer -- over paying for pretty expensive medications (turns out they were covered), she felt fortunate that at least they had medical coverage.
That ended last week. Lisa's husband was laid off. He would be eligible for Cobra, at $500 a month. Pretty steep for someone on unemployment and a wife unable to work.
The good news is, the medications have helped ease her symptoms to the point that she can now dress, feed and care for herself. The bad news is without them, she would have to find someone to assist her. As long as her husband isn't working, he can do that. But he needs to find a job so they can afford Cobra and remain independent (i.e. not have to move in with relatives.)
Although she's got a great attitude and positive outlook, Lisa expresses dismay at the turn their lives have taken. "Here we are both college graduates, we both had good jobs, then almost overnight through no fault of our own, we're facing the possibility of financial disaster."
Lisa is but one reason I'm hopeful healthcare and insurance reform can be achieved so people like her and my adult son who has been deemed 'uninsurable' because of a so-called pre-existing condition and so many of our neighbors can have access to affordable medical coverage and not live at risk of bankruptcy or death for lack of that access.