Wednesday, July 2, 2008

In the News: MS Patient Falls Into American Insurance Gap

Jeffrey Rubin, a 41-year-old living in northeast Philadelphia, was diagnosed with MS in 2006.
Two years later, he spends most of his days in a rented house, taking care of his 4-year-old daughter, Taryn...

He takes about nine medications for his disease. Every day he injects Copaxone, which slows down the course of the disease. It costs about $2,000 a month. He takes a twice-a-day pill for his back. That prescription costs more than $200 a month. A drug for migraines costs $400 a month. A lot of the medicines make him feel even more tired, so he takes one to help keep him awake — that costs $1,000 for a month's supply...

Rubin did get Medicaid, state medical assistance, but none of his doctors belonged to the program. When he went to fill his prescriptions, the pharmacies said he wasn't covered. He stopped paying his mortgage so he could pay some of his medical bills. Then the mortgage company claimed his house. Finally, he declared bankruptcy.

After a fight with the Social Security Administration and a letter from one of his senators, Rubin finally qualified for government disability payments from Social Security. But he still isn't eligible for government health insurance through Medicare. Rubin is one of a quarter of a million people with disabling conditions such as MS, cancer or schizophrenia who are stuck in this waiting period without insurance, according to an estimate from the Commonwealth Fund.


This is an excerpt from an NPR story by Joanne Silberner that aired today. Read the complete story here.

3 comments:

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks. This is exactly why we need MS activists. I posted a letter on my blog about this that I hope folks will use as a template for writing our legislators.

Anonymous said...

this is certainly a tough story for those of us with MS to hear. however, advocating socialized medicine on the basis of an isolated comparison such as that in the article is not wise. for every great story like the lady with MS in GB there are dozens of stories of people in GB and Canada who "fall through the cracks" with other conditions because if the inherent problems with socialized healthcare. no doubt we need to fix the healthcare system in the US, but socializing it isn't the answer. I can't advocate it for my own benefit knowing it will be to the detriment of so many others.

eleanor odonnell said...

I agree that we need to be active on our needs within our health care system. But it shouldn't exclude others,and there is no need for it to. NPR is doing a month long series looking at health care in our country and how they are handling healthcarein 5 European Countries. It looks like it's going to be very thorough. I feel we need to ask ourselves honestly some questions. Why are these other countries able to have universal healthcare spending less money and they live longer than we do?