One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

aliens, rusty social graces, universal health insurance, and a "no stalking" promise!

Just a bit ago I wrote that I laughed at the idea of contacting Michael Moore with our story of insurance woes. What I meant was that I had a moment of dark humor when I realized that, in comparison with the type of stories Mr. Moore was likely uncovering, our story was likely relatively tame. When I read that comment, I remembered Badger's own recounting of her attempts to fill a prescription and find help to pay for medical care for her husband's liver cancer. I also remembered my long-time friend, Karen, telling me with a sort of comic bemusement born of shock about the sense of freedom that came with lack of insurance coverage as her husband battled cancer. "A private room? Sure! Why not? We can't afford any of it anyway, so we might as well not afford the best, right?" Karen was a public-school teacher and her husband, who died several years ago, was a cop: the type of people whose public service careers might have been supposed to carry a health-care safety net supplied by that same public. Not so. So here I am, some two weeks later, and I'm not laughing any more. The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that stories like ours should scare the hell out of people. It's scary because it seems so unlikely. Jörg and I were so sure that we were among the lucky few with top-notch insurance coverage. And you know what? We really are. I've often discussed our insurance coverage with others at the hospital, and the reaction is almost always, "Wow! That's great insurance." So if something like this can happen to us, you'd better believe it could happen to pretty much anyone. Here's what I mean (and if you will be bored by my droning on about our financial doings, please feel free to skip down to the next section, marked of by the squiggly lines): Each person covered by our insurance has a 5-million-dollar lifetime maximum. This, in itself, makes our insurance better than most out there, especially when it comes to caring for a child, like Annika, requiring a lifetime of expensive medical treatment. When Annika was listed for transplant the first and second times, our insurance company passed the management of the medical bills over to a company devoted to managing transplant expenses, and nearly everything was covered at 100%. When some bill was denied, such as the time that the insurance balked at covering the rental of a blood pressure machine for checking Annika's BP when she was started on a new med, Jörg was able to call and work it out. Not without much effort and wrangling, and likely at the expense of his own blood pressure, but still he was able to do it. That company managed Annika's bills until she was one year post-transplant, when we reverted back to our original insurance company's coverage. We had to adjust to life with far more co-pays, but still we felt lucky. Jörg used his flex account at work to set aside a portion of his income pre-tax for medical expenses. We had no idea how much we would be using, so he started at something like $1,000, and started keeping our receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, not including our insurance premiums. To our shock, we ran through that amount in just a few months (I think it was 3). Jörg has increased the amount he sets aside each year since then, and I don't think we've ever made it past 6 months before we've run through all that money. None of this should have been a big surprise to us. I mean, we had a little girl born with liver disease which requires a liver transplant 75-80% of the time, which means a lifetime of expensive drugs and an increased likelihood of frequent hospital stays. This all adds up to a good portion of income going to medical expenses, despite excellent insurance coverage. But Jörg and I both took a rather stoic view of the situation. We had given birth to a baby with major health problems as a result of some cosmic lottery that we lost (biliary atresia, Annika's disease, is completely unpreventable, in that doctors still don't know the cause of it). We loved her; we adored her; we would change our lifestyle expectations however we needed to in order to care for her. My plans to return to work, searching out a rewarding career once our children reached the age of 2, the boundary we set pre-pregnancy, became more unlikely, as we figured that one of us would need to be able to stay with her in the hospital for possibly long periods of time at pretty much any time, at a moment's notice. Not exactly the kind of lifestyle that meshes with most career choices. And, true enough, there hasn't yet been a year without considerable hospital time. But even as our medical expenses have risen, and my options for bringing in my own income have disappeared, we still felt like this was simply the life given to us to live as responsibly as we could. We had the bad luck to have a child whose health issues taxed us emotionally and financially, but we had the good fortune to have a child with an amazingly sunny disposition, as well as a relatively secure job for Jörg with a steady, respectable paycheck each month. Jörg, the very paragon of German fiscal responsibility, made sure we met our bills each month, and together we prioritized our list of purchases. We were careful to make sure that our spending did not outstrip our income, or at least not without a plan in place to pay it back as soon as possible. So, for example, I waited several years to buy a digital camera, and, when I finally did, we set a price limit that had me shopping in the "budget cameras" section of cnet, and I'm still using that camera (enthusiastically) 3 years later, despite some alluring new ones out there that have fueled some late-night computer screen shopping (is that the new tech equivalent of window shopping?). We decided against getting a minivan when Frankie was born, mainly because, even used, their prices were so much higher than sedans with the same features. We set our thermostat at 64 at night, 66 during the day, and hope for sunshine. And I don't write this to imply that we have denied ourselves in order to pay Annika's medical expenses and, Oh, Poor Us. Far from it. After all, having a digital camera and a non-minivan car and a lovely house in which to turn down the thermostat already puts us into the category of comfortably situated. I write this to make the point that we are the type of people that have followed every single bullet point written in every single article on maintaining financial health ever published in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report, combined. So we never even considered fundraising. Many, many transplant families we know do fundraise, because, even with a good salary (even with two good salaries for that matter), the costs associated with a transplant (even with insurance) can be daunting. For those families whose jobs are less certain, the financial uncertainty of raising a transplant child is enough to overcome, quickly, the reticence with which most of us view the idea of soliciting help. It takes a village, and all that...but who wants to ask the other villagers for money? And, you know, we shouldn't have to. If a family, making undeniably good financial decisions, with excellent insurance coverage, can still face financial ruin because of insurance shortfalls, then it is certainly time for a change in our insurance system in this country. The system is not working, even for those who are in the system. And, obviously, there are millions of people who are not even in the system, in worse shape than we are. (There. I said it, Andrea.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So my week of silence here on this page has been a week of non-stop work around our house. I put my mom on a train back home to Kansas City last Tuesday morning, after my dad called and said that he was having chest pains and skyrocketing blood pressure. While Annika was waiting in the hospital for transplant last time, my father had a heart attack, alone at home. With that memory in mind, we had my mom packed and on the train just about an hour after he called. My dad was fine, as it turned out, but it was high time for my mom to have a break at home, anyway. She's been here watching Frankie for the past 3 months, and that's a long time to be away from home. Of course, without mom watching the girls, the unpacking and cleaning of the house slowed down to mom-with-two-young-kids pace, which is very slow, indeed. Add to that the fact that Annika needed to see her pediatrician every day last week to monitor her blood pressure and heart rate, plus an exhausting trip to Chicago and back during torrential rain last Thursday, a trip to the ER to check on her suspiciously infected looking PICC line (which then fell out, yes fell out, while she was sleeping on the way back home), and the general exhausted malaise which inevitably follows a stressful period, and thus you have the lack of updates in this space. Finally, though, the house is cleared of boxes and suitcases. The pile of laundry no longer towers over my head. And I have a small suitcase repacked with clothes for Annika, Frankie, and me, all ready for emergencies. Life around here again has some semblance of order. The good news, which you may already have caught two paragraphs ago, if you were reading between the lines, is that Annika did not have to stay in Chicago last week. Hooray! We're going to take all the at-home time we can get. Her hemoglobin has been steadily declining, but not at the rapid rate of an acute bleed. So I'm guessing that we'll probably be heading back for a transfusion at some point, even if she manages to avoid another acute bleed. This is a scenario that I could live with, just going in every once in a while for a transfusion, but no more of those heart-stopping bleeds. I could live with that. Meanwhile, Frankie has been enjoying having everyone altogether again at home. I've already been back home long enough for Frankie to take the lovingkindness of a mother for granted once more. Last week we settled in for an evening snack of cheddar and apple slices. I gave myself two slices of cheese and Frankie only one, given my adult status. Frankie had a good look at both our plates, then stuffed her entire slice of cheese into her mouth at once. Cheeks bulging, she reached over and grabbed my two slices. As I gave her a look she had no trouble interpreting, she deliberately finished chewing, swallowed, and then reached down and broke off a microscopic speck of cheese and handed it back to me. I held up the tiny speck of cheese for Jörg, who was silently observing this scene. "Do you see what she gave me?" I asked him. Frankie beamed me a smile and chirped, "OK! You're welcome!" And Annika, having spent long hours with me in a tiny hospital room, has no trouble giving it to me straight. Driving to the hospital for labs last week, the girls and I were bouncing along to the mix cd I made of German music. Like any good child of the '80s, I sang along with real verve to Nena's "99 Luftballoons." After the first verse Annika informed me, in all earnestness, "Daddy's German is much better than yours." That mix cd, by the way, is a real hoot. I was looking for some German music, figuring that might be the way to get Annika and Frankie excited about learning their dad's native language. This was my high school German teacher's approach, and she frequently broke out her guitar mid-lesson. Inspired in theory, it fell a bit short in execution, given that Mrs. Daniels had us singing things like "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" auf Deutsch. Not all of the songs on the cd are actually in German, but they are all from music purchased in Germany, including a German equivalent of a Disneymania cd, Toggo 9. The Toggo collections are notably European in that most songs feature a beat suitable for dancing your ass off at 3 a.m. and includes songs like the one that samples Elvis Crespo's Suavemente and features a lusty call for "Una Cerveza!" in a most un-Disney-like fashion. I originally purchased the cd because it listed the Kim Possible theme song performed by a German group, and we do love our Kim Possible music around here. "Fun!" I thought, "I wonder what the Kim Possible theme sounds like sung in German?" Of course, it turned out that the version on the cd was just the English version, sung with a German accent. I discovered on another cd such English gems as "The Pirates of Dance" (sample lyric: "We're gonna take you to another place/Where pirates dance and come from outer space!" My unofficial survey of German music aimed at kids finds a surprisingly high number of songs involving aliens ). Still, I recommend these CDs highly if you're looking for something to complement a toddler sugar high and missing your bygone clubbing days.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So now that our house is again navigable, it's time for me to get down to my social responsibilities. Like the many, many thank you's that I owe, starting with the neglected note to Ralph for his hospital concert way back in September (for which I planned to include a cd with the little movie of Annika's reaction post-concert) and going all the way up to my friend, Jane, who painted and decorated the plain, white walls of the girls' playroom as a welcome-home surprise for Annika*. And I'm going to have to contact COTA to get a list of the on-line donors to Annika's newly-established fund. I'd really like to send a photo and note to everyone who sent Annika a card or cd or book or snuggly or craft project while in the hospital, and I did my best to hang on to return addresses in a plastic bag during our stay. But I fear that between the various moves among hospital rooms, Kohl's House, and home that I might have lost track of some of the addresses. Is it horrible to ask everyone to email me their address, so that I have an organized place to keep them? I promise not to add your address to any mailing lists or use it to track you down and stalk you, because who has time for stalking anymore?

40 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so good to hear from you, Moreena. I worry when you don't post for so long. I'm like an annoying surrogate great aunt or something.

You are dead-on about the insurance, and Michael Moore should cover it. Or a print journalist certainly. Let's move on that.

And your cheese-crumb story made me laugh out loud. I'm glad life is still sublime and ridiculous for you all, and that Annika is doing okay.

xo Catherine

2/21/2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger Rev Dr Mom said...

Moreena, you are absolutely right about the health insurance situation in this country. We should ALL be scared, and we should all be bombarding Congress with stories like yours and your friend Karen's and Badger's. It feels to me like we as a nation have lost all sense of obligation to care for one another--an obligation that would make some sort of affordable universal health care mandatory.

I hope that y'all continue to get some downtime at home to relax and just be for a while. And Annika remains in my prayers

2/21/2006 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Hannah said...

Moreena,
is there any chance to donate without a credit card? You'll know they are fare less used in Europe, so I was wondering whether it would be possible to make a donation to your German relatives acount, and they forward it to Cota? Or to transfer directly to your acount in the USA?
I guess it would be possible to borrow someones credit card, just occured to me that other ways might be easier for some Europeans...but may be too much of a hassle for you.

If you are in any need of more German music, let me know :) - loved the story of Annika's flattering remark about you accent (equally nice is the cheese-one...)!

Best wishes from Berlin,
Hannah (godmum of Arthur, BA)

2/21/2006 1:41 PM  
Blogger ccw said...

Your insurance story is scary. We are insured and for the coverage we get, I consider us uninsured b/c we do not dare go to the doctor unless it is truly dire. Healthcare is a mess.

So glad that you are back home as a family and enjoying your time together.

Thank you for the update and the link to COTA

2/21/2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Hi. I discovered your blog last week and was so drawn into Annika's story and your insurance woes, that I spent all weekend reading the past four months archives to catch up!

My heart goes out to you and your family for the troubles you've gone through. But at the same time, in between all the medical stuff, it sounds like you have a wonderful family that brings much happiness.

I hope you don't mind, but I've linked to here and put a button up for the COTA campaign on my blog.

2/21/2006 1:50 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

Michael Moore would love you. And with your inately artticulate manner of relaying your info, so would the camera. The insurance woes are terrifying. We've been going through our own bit of trouble with the whole Medicare switchover. Absolutely nothing compared to you guys, but still frightening. This country is in a huge state of crisis.

OK. Our social worker for Kajsa's Physical Therapy center just called. She thinks that the Michael Moore idea is a great one, and hopes that you do it.

I'm so glad that you are enjoying time with the kids and hope that you get a steady increase of it. Enjoy the frenetic beat of the german children's music. I'' be over here subjecting my kids to Woody Guthrie.

2/21/2006 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yippee for being home long enough to sit on your own couch!!! How great for you guys to be together under one roof for awhile! Glad things are going smoothly....

2/21/2006 1:52 PM  
Anonymous kathy a said...

it is wonderful you are all home and together! i'm glad your dad is feeling better, that your wonderful mom has a rest, that frankie is feeling her sunshine, and annika is doing so well!

you are so right about health care. the situation is scary for anyone and everyone. "hope your family doesn't get sick" is not much of a health plan.

2/21/2006 2:11 PM  
Blogger moxiemomma said...

whew! big sigh of relief to hear from you that you're all home and annika is doing well!

the insurance situation in this country *is* appalling and i don't think most people realize how at risk even the best insurances leave us. ours is currently a health savings account with decent coverage, but we have to pay more than $12,000 annually just for the privilege of having it at all. that doesn't include medical expenses. ridiculous.

2/21/2006 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Moreena,
Great to hear the "important" things are going well, like Anni's stability and Frankie's concept of sharing. My Ayden has a medical card, and that has provided what she needs to this point, but who knows...

Are you planning to join your old friends on the new liver families forum? In your spare time, of course.
http://www.liverfamilies.net/forum/

Sending you my best,
Mary, grandma to Ayden

2/21/2006 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Beanie Baby said...

Yay! You're back!

For all of Moreena's loyal fans, Annika's fundraising site has been updated and now includes links to her direct COTA page for donations, as well as many lovely raffles and other ways to contribute. I hope you stop by.

2/21/2006 4:37 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

That's great that Annika didn't have to stay Thursday! Prayers that her blood count doesn't drop any more, or rapidly. Glad to hear that your Dad was ok. And that Frankie is happy! Most of all, I am glad that Annika is feeling well.

Once my children start to feel better, I will put a button up on my blog for Annika's COTA account.

2/21/2006 5:01 PM  
Blogger mc said...

It's amazing to me how fragile even what seems like the most sane financial situation can be in this country. It's a tragedy.

On another note entirely, I'm guessing I speak for a lot of us when I say that, instead of sending us thank-you notes, go hug those girls! (Not to say that I wouldn't love a photo of Annika, but you know what I mean...)

2/21/2006 5:14 PM  
Blogger liz said...

Amen.

2/21/2006 5:20 PM  
Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

So glad you're back and your news is health wise good. The insurance thing gives me an ulcer.

2/21/2006 7:51 PM  
Blogger Mommygoth said...

Ditto - no notes, woman. Nobody expects that or wants it. What we want is regular updates ONLY whenever you are able on how things are with your girl, your family, your situation. We are all here for you.

2/21/2006 7:55 PM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Yeah, I ain't giving up my address if it means you take time away from your kids to write thank-you notes!

2/21/2006 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Jill and Marek said...

Please- no Thank You's needed here. I think most people will agree that having Annika home and happy is the best! I also know how way overwhelming life is with kids and then add to that "Health Challenged" kids and all the time you have been away from home. I can't speak for everyone but please take the time you would use for Thank You's and just enjoy the girls!!

2/21/2006 9:05 PM  
Blogger Shelli said...

I am so glad that you can be at home with your girls. I am glad that they can enjoy their mommy.

I will continue to pray for you and your family.

2/21/2006 10:56 PM  
Blogger profanglophilia said...

(de-lurking to say...)

OK, this sounds like some bad internet hoax, but if you go to Michael Moore's website (www.michaelmoore.com) he claims his next movie is about healthcare and that he's looking for families to share their stories.

Glad to hear everyone is settled at home.

2/21/2006 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Definetely pay a visit to Michael Moore's website, Moreena!
He's looking for families who due to insurances worries cannot pay the hospital bills...! And all you need to do is write him an e-mail with some of the information from your last blog-entries.
Go for it.

2/22/2006 2:04 AM  
Blogger Scrivener said...

No thank you notes for us either. Hell, I can't even manage to send thank you notes after the kids' birthday party, so I'd be willing to forego the thank you notes just un general and certainly am not interested in pulling you away from any other task to write such a card.

Please do contact Michael Moore. You are so articulate and insightful--I would love to see you in such a documentary. Maybe you could end up at the Oscars? Think of the fundraising potential! And the possibility that you could meet Matthew Mcaccaonahahy (is that the proper spelling of his name?)

2/22/2006 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are doing what is important - do keep us updated but don't worry about not spending alot of time blogging. I am just SO happy to hear things are going well and you are settling back into a routine with the girls.

I need to check out the COTA page - I'm sorry I haven't done that yet.

I have something else to send to Anni - I'll drop you a line for an address.

TAKE CARE!!

tina

2/22/2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger moxiemomma said...

ditto from me about the notes! i forgot to say that in my first comment. instead, do some crazy art projects with the girls or hey, how about some extra sleep for you?!

i like scrivener's idea about a michael moore thing turning into some kickin' fundraising for annika.

2/22/2006 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Noreen said...

I found your blog from Miriam's knockedupvegan blog. I've read all the entries. My son had surgery on his ear last year (he needed a mastoidectomy after 18 weeks of ear infection, but what we went through is nothing compared to Annika's life so far. Your family amazes me. I'm hoping that after I pay our next round of bills, I can donate to Annika's cause. Is it best to send things to Kohl's House? I know I have a few very princessy things that we never got around to giving my daughter (still in packages), so I'd love to send them Annika and Frankie.

2/22/2006 1:17 PM  
Blogger Bettie Bookish said...

Moreena~

Sigh of relief from here in Florida that things are steadily bearable up there.

You've been added to the thoughts of every prayerful person I know.

And I absolutely agree with the healthcare issue. Get Michael Moore on the phone.

2/22/2006 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No need to send a thank you note. My student's enjoyed the chance to make cards for someone in the hospital.

As for Michael Moore-you might offend a lot of people, like myself,-who find him repulsive.

Take care.

Frank (Marisa's Dad)
http://www.caringbridge.org/mi/marisa/

2/22/2006 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Tammy & Janna said...

Right on Moreena. I'm so glad to hear from you again. I always know something is brewing if there is no post from you in a while. I hope Annika continues to do well and you are HOME and HEALTHY for a long, long time. Please don't send a thank you our way. The girls enjoyed sending some sunshine to Annika during her long hospital stay.

2/22/2006 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Stacy - Tanner's mom said...

We were like you - we had good insurance we didn't need to fundraise. We did at our team's insistence, and the money has been helpful for covering the things insurance doesn't cover as well as our travel expenses to the transplant center.

Here's a "cheat" that we used on thank you notes, because I really felt like we should send a note - even when others said we didn't need to!

I created a postcard with Tanner's picture on the front (www.winkflash.com) - and then had a pre-printed message on the back that said "Thank you for the donation to Tanner's ALF fund..." Then we had a small note to add a personal thank you. We did a separate one to send to people had sent gifts while he was inpatient. Personal & the postcards are cheaper to mail than a regular thank you. (People loved hte picture postcards, too!)

2/22/2006 6:15 PM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

So glad you're home...Hug those girls for Aunt Yankee T

2/22/2006 6:21 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I found your blog linked on another blog and I am so touched by your story and your family. Your family is truly and inspiration. You talked about the randomness of Annika's disease, and it occurs to me that you seem to have a special ability to cope with it. If a another child has to suffer through it, God forbid, I hope that they have parents like you. I wish blessings and happiness for your family. I really feel, in reading your blog, that you make sure the joy outweighs the pain and that is a rare skill. I also plan to link COTA off my own blog, although it probably won't get you much traffic! :)

2/23/2006 12:17 AM  
Blogger Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

You will see me on your list so I thought I'd better drop a note, so you don't think *you're* being stalked.

One of my neices (age 14) had a battle with bone cancer which has made me sensitive to situations like yours. I wish you and your family so, so, so much luck!

2/23/2006 1:52 AM  
Anonymous Dagmar said...

Mark loves music, and as we live in Germany he hears and sings a lot of German music.

He is 3 years old and his most favourite cds of music especially for children are:

“Kindergarten-Hits” (http://www.ravensburger.de/portal/index,1451245-1451247-1453055-1453084-1455360-2288228.html)

“Riesengrosse Zwerge” from Wolfgang Hering and Bernd Meyerholz

“Si-Sa-Singemaus” from Detlev Jöcker www.menschenkinder.de.

We have all of Marks songs on computer as MP4. If you want I can email you some. It will need some time online, because every song is 5 MB.

Alles Liebe von Dagmar

2/23/2006 3:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to this link, Michael Moore is still looking (as of feb 6/06) for families with insurance problems and concerns, and promises to read every letter.

http://michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?id=193

Good Luck.

2/23/2006 10:44 AM  
Blogger academic coach said...

NO THANK YOU NOTES, PLEASE

(COTA does a good job of it as is...)

2/24/2006 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God, that sucks. Someone said we should all be bombarding Congress with stories like yours and your friend Karen's and Badger's. It feels to me like we as a nation have lost all sense of obligation to care for one another--an obligation that would make some sort of affordable universal health care mandatory.

In many respects this would be a good thing. But be warned: you can't both provide the best care on the planet, and also provide it to everyone. Countries that have universal health care also have standards of medical treatment which are below what U.S. citizens have come to expect. From transplants, to access to chemo and radiation therapy, to surgeries, the list goes on. In many countries with single payer it's even more difficult to get an appointment at all...

So yes, it would be more equitable in a single payer system; there would be fewer people who would get simply atrocious care. But I'm not sure your experience would be any better: that type of super personalized extremely expensive care is also more difficult to acheive in a single payer system. The money's got to come from somewhere. For some people, the experience would clearly be worse.

3/01/2006 11:56 AM  
Blogger Moreena said...

Catherine - Great Aunt! How funny. Can I send you a little triangular head scarf to complete the look?

Hannah - I finally called COTA. They said that the easiest thing to do would be to download the printable form and then mail in a money order (in dollars), which you can get at your bank. Many thanks for even thinking of it. I know very well that transatlantic transactions can be a bit of a pain.

Rowan - You need an award for consistently funniest commenter

CCW/moxiemomma - yes, scary stories abound

Eileen/Sarah/sarah - thanks!

noreen - We may be back in Chicago soon, which would be the Kohl's House address. Or you could email me. Princess things are always, always a hit.

Stacy - thank you for the great suggestion. You are one together woman.

Dagmar - lovely to hear from you again. Music suggestions are always welcome around here!

academic coach - I'm glad to hear that COTA is good at acknowledging donations. I called and we get a list once a month.

anonymous - I've heard this argument before, and I think it's a bit specious. I can't argue against you with any authority, since I'd need to go and look up studies/statistics and lots of stuff that I simply don't have the time for right now. But I can make a general remark, that I admit doesn't carry any great weight (but as you're not citing any studies/statistics yourself, I guess I can get away with this). As you may know, my husband is from Germany, which provides a sort of universal healthcare. At least, it's certainly unheard of for someone to run out of coverage. We even considered moving to Germany when Annika was first diagnosed, just to have the peace of mind of better healthcare coverage. *And* the standard of medical care in Germany is excellent. First-rate. It's a matter of priorities. I don't doubt that arguments can be made that universal healthcare coverage might hurt our economy in some way (although certainly I imagine that it would also *help* in many other ways - I know, I know, I'm being all vague), but I certainly doubt the argument that it would lower the standard of healthcare in general. (By the way, please feel free to post with identity. I am the most anti-flame woman on the planet. They spray me on children's sleepwear.)

3/01/2006 5:48 PM  
Blogger Moreena said...

But I should add that I agree that you can't have it all. Something will have to give if we decide to provide universal healthcare. I just don't think it's inevitable that it has to be quality of care. Oh, and my husband points out that Germany, of course, does not have a single-payer system. They just have a much broader safety net for those who fall out of the system.

3/02/2006 4:56 AM  
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