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Can we hope health care “reform” will help the chronically ill?

Posted Mar 23 2010 9:53am

Is the  health care reform bil l a step toward ensuring that anyone living with chronic illness will  receive  “adequate” medical  treatment?

Or is it just more help for the healthy?

I don’t have the answer.  But I’m delighted that in the increased attention on the burden that chronic illness places on individuals and society when the chronically ill don’t receive the health care they need.

I’m no political sage. I  don’t understand  the  fine print in the new health care plan .  But I’ve heard  horror stories from chronically ill people –  clients and others – - who can’t  afford a specialist or pay for expensive medications.  Folks who are working and have some health insurance!

As I described in a recent post, you can be fired or lose  insurance benefits if you don’t disclose a medical condition before hire.  You can also not be hired or lose your job if you do.  Sorry if I’m stating the obvious, but we can’t expect legislation to prevent  unfair practices from happening.

The Massachusetts   health care reform program is  cited as a national model and there’s  the good, bad and ugly. Unfortunately, universal coverage does not entitle the chronically ill to  good or even adequate health care.

Back to my question.  Is this a  step toward better health care protection for those of us living with chronic illness – whether working or not?  At the least, we are justified in hoping so.

Will it prevent people from being fired when they disclose  a chronic illness – or even not getting health insurance?  I doubt it. There are only so many battles we can fight and much slips through the cracks.

Living with illness gives you the perspective that the unexpected and unpredictable happens.  That’s not necessarily a negative.  It can be a point from which to expand and keep hope alive.  I feel more hopeful today.  Do you?

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