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August 19, 2009


a corporate American heart?

by Andrea O'Connell

american heartTomorrow I will be wired with a heart monitor and will have an echocardiogram, too.  Then, on Friday, a stress test.  The problem is I am so stressed about this whole thing – surely it’ll say BINGO: Stressed you are!

Seriously, I am not too worried, though it is nerve wracking nonetheless.  Millions of people lucky enough to have health insurance will have their hearts monitored and poked and prodded and peeked at on any given day of the week in this country.  So, it’s nothing to worry about, right?  Yeah. Right.  

My friend’s 17 year old son, who is a big strapping football player, 6’5” (perhaps taller), is coincidentally having the same testing on the same day (he in Ohio; I in Florida).   His testing is a result of a pulled muscle near his dear young heart; my testing is a result of my old heart that I have carried too long on my sleeve.   

He and I have insurance.  How lucky we are.

My heart is grateful for the insurance that I carry, but hurts to think that not all Americans have the same good fortune as I and could die sooner than I from heart disease that goes undetected. 

I remain hopeful that soon our country will wake up and know an equitable answer to this insurance crisis.  We are Americans; that means we have a responsibility to care for each other and remember that we are all equal – truly we are. 

Americans can solve the health care crisis, corporations cannot.  Corporations are bound by law to ensure their shareholders benefit monetarily – every breath they take, every move a corporation makes is to ensure profit for its shareholders, and therefore corporations are not bound to serve the good health or the goodwill of those living in America.

As wonderful as many corporations are, they are in business only to serve their bottom line.  I am not trying to be critical – I am stating a fact. Insurance companies, drug companies, or any other ancillary corporate entity will not solve this for us.  We must let our government try.  Unlike big corporate business, the government has the American people to please, not shareholders whose pockets need to be lined by law.  Shareholder profits will be made before care is given to our poor hearts.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 19 2009

    Oh, honey, you have NO IDEA how lucky you are to have health insurance to cover your cardiac tests – and likely any resulting procedures that might be necessary. I’m a heart attack survivor and a member of the WomenHeart online support community (you might want to check into this great forum – all women heart disease survivors). The stories I have learned from dozens of women on this site would curl your hair: bankruptcies, loss of homes, loss of businesses, collection agencies at the door demanding payment of overdue medical bills from the last heart attack and (especially frightening) denial of claims from what they believed was excellent health care insurance. One woman said she can no longer go to her local hospital Emergency Room anymore because she still owes them money – in spite of severe cardiac symptoms that she recognizes from her last heart attack.

    As a Canadian, I’ll never have to worry about what these women worry about. I didn’t pay one penny for my care in the ER, cardiac tests, cardiac procedures, stay in Intensive Care, my hospital bed, nursing and medical care, all drugs in hospital or follow-up appointments with my cardiologist. And I will never get a bill for any of it. It doesn’t matter if I’m homeless or if I’m wealthy, care is offered to all here without asking to see our bank balance first. Our system is certainly not perfect, but it’s so far ahead of whatever’s in second place.

    This is the “horror of socialized medicine” as I’ve heard some of your fellow Americans describe our health care system. Doesn’t seem quite as horrible to us here.

    Carolyn Thomas

    • Andrea
      Aug 20 2009

      Oh Carolyn,
      I cannot thank you enough for your response here and for posting the URL to your site. I will add it to my blog roll and I will visit it often, too.

      I completely agree with you that Canada – maybe, as you say, it’s not perfect, but it takes care of its citizens far better than we do.

      The sad truths that you point out are enough to make me scream…. And what is making it so much worse here in the US is the horrible economic climate – so many folks, indeed whole families have lost both thier jobs, and their healthcare in one fell-swoop. Oh sure, we have the COBRA coverage, but that is very expensive, and when you have to feed your family, pay your rent, it’s enough to drown anyone.

      I only hope that cool hearts prevail here; hearts that care about equality and mercy for all Americans.

      I thank you again and hope that you continue in good health.

      Best regards,

  2. Aug 23 2009

    My biggest gripe with health insurance is the pre-existing condition part of it. An insurance company is able to drop you if you are a risk to their monetary gain, which bothers me, then, one can’t get other insurance because of the condition being pre-existing.
    My solution may be a bit naive because I don’t really know how these things work but, I think one should get every penny they have paid an insurance company that hasn’t been spent in coverage of bills when they drop you as a client. The insurance companies invest the money we pay so let them keep the interest. That is fair enough. Just let us have our unspent money back when we are dropped! :mrgreen:

    Hey, I’m dreamin’,too!

  3. Aug 23 2009

    Carolyn, I’ve bookmarked you! 😀

    • Andrea
      Aug 24 2009

      I’m so glad you’ve found Carolyn’s site, too, Coreysmom. It’s an excellent resource – excellent site… There’s a great deal of helpful information. And, I love that she presents real-life stories – very educational.

      Here’s the URL again for anyone who needs a great resource:

      The site is called: My Heart Sisters.

      Thank you Coreysmom…


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