Why Health Insurance Reform Matters to Women

First Lady:
Hello. In my role as First
Lady, I want to focus my attention on where
policy and people intersect, and the need for health
insurance reform is a critically important issue for families
all across the country. Healthcare is something I
thought a great deal about myself as the mother
of two young daughters. I’ll never forget the night
eight years ago when our baby daughter Sasha just
wouldn’t stop crying, and we knew something was
wrong but we didn’t know what. So we called our pediatrician,
and we met him early the next morning. He examined her and he told us
that she might have meningitis, and then he sent us straight
to the emergency room. And see, that moment in our
lives flashes through my mind when we talk about
healthcare reform, how if we hadn’t had insurance,
if we couldn’t afford a doctor, we might have waited
until it was too late. Our daughter could have lost her
hearing or possibly even her life. And if we hadn’t
had good insurance, insurance that gave us the
coverage that we needed, we could have been saddled with
medical bills that we night not have been able to afford. Roxi Griffin:
I was very fortunate
in their insurance after co-pays, they paid
100% of my medical bills, but my co-pay still came
to $27,000 that year, which I took what I had left in
savings and tried to pay it, and I wasn’t going
to see daylight. So I filed bankruptcy. I am currently a four year lung
cancer survivor and a two year breast cancer survivor. At the end of the year the
company that I worked for changed our insurance policy. It went from $27,000,
which was bad enough; to my co-pays would
have been $101,000. I’m uninsurable to go anywhere
else — I’ve tried that — because of my
preexisting condition. So I’m at a point in my life
that I have to choose between whether I’m going to have
screening done to see if my cancer has returned or if I’m
going to keep a roof over my head, I opt to keep the roof
over my head right now. That’s not a good solution, but
that way I can at least pay my bills. People need to realize this
is not a political issue. To me, it’s a morale issue, and
people need to stop and think about the ramifications it has
on families when they are not able to take care
of one another. First Lady:
We’ve all heard stories
about how tough it can be when dealing with insurance
companies gets in the way of caring for those we love. When a tragic illness strikes or
when a simple checkup turns into something not so simple. Insurance headaches are
something that all of us have had to deal with at
some point in our lives. Barack’s plan will make sure
that every family gets to have the same peace of
mind that we’ve had. Secretary Sebelius:
Insurance companies
are allowed by law to charge women more than men,
sometimes significantly more. And too often, insurance
benefits don’t cover the services women need. So at every point along the
way, insured or uninsured, women are paying higher costs
often with less coverage and being discriminated against
by insurance companies. Well, right now a lot of women
in America have health insurance coverage that is pretty good
for them and their families, until they get sick, and then
too often they figure out how limited those policies are,
and often the individual market is pretty erratic. If you’re very
young and healthy, you may be able to get a
great policy for a time, but if you have any kind of
condition that you’ve had treatment for in the past or
even surgery in the past, you are often regarded as
having a preexisting condition. So at that point the individual
insurance market can be really punishing. You don’t have
affordable coverage; you don’t have any
employee assistance. A new health insurance in
exchange would have affordable cover, available coverage
without a preexisting condition barrier. So at every step along the
way, insured or uninsured, women would be a lot better off
with health insurance reform. First Lady:
One of the good things
about the plan is if you already have insurance that
you like, then you’re all set. You keep that insurance
and you keep your doctors. This plan just puts in place
some basic rules of the road to protect you from abuses
and unfair practices. Barack’s plan is about insuring
that everyone in this country can care for their families and
follow their dreams and have the chance to make of their
lives what they wish. And it’s hard to achieve those
dreams if you can’t rely on quality affordable
health insurance. That’s what’s at stake and
that’s what we’re fighting for. That’s what this healthcare
debate is all about, particularly for women
who are raising kids, taking care of families. Talk to your friends. Talk to your neighbors. And let’s get the word
out about what’s at stake. We all need to work together
to make this a reality. Thank you.

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