Monday, July 28, 2008

Day Two: Part One -- Health Care

I met a man from Australia, "Pete," in the observation car. We both had our cameras aimed at the dry, lifeless hills outside. We got to talking about the Australian health care system versus the American system, and the Australian electoral system versus the American system. Though he spent about $400 annually on private health insurance, he had recently gone to a public hospital for heart surgery. He was very pleased with his treatment, but said he maintained the private insurance plan for eye glasses and dental treatment. He said that for Australians with pre-existing conditions, they were required to wait a year before the could enroll in a private plan. Unlike the American system. After getting two months worth of Kaiser covered through my job this past year, Kaiser would not let me re-enroll through an individual plan because I have a mild pre-existing condition: TMJ disorder. I am now uninsured and am likely to remain so until I start work again, as I cannot afford COBRA. Think that's right? I sure don't, but our laws permit our health care providers to get away with decisions such as this. I have written to Kaiser and told them I think their decision is unconstitutional.

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