Carefully Crafted on May 20

Fix Healthcare Now

During election season, there was more than enough talk about the sanctity of life, the healthcare system and the widening gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.” And, as much as I’ve tried to stay off my soapbox, a recent situation got my blood boiling because it incorporates all three of these hot-button issues.

Veronica De La Cruz — a former CNN reporter — has launched a high-profile campaign to help save her brother’s life. From a recent press release:

Her brother, Eric De La Cruz, 27, is dying in Nevada. He is suffering from severe dilated cardiomyopathy and needs a heart transplant immediately. His heart, weakened and enlarged, is now incapable of pumping blood efficiently. The decreased organ function also severely limits his kidney function and his creatinine levels are high, all which result in fluid retention. The diuretic-type medications which he is currently taking are no longer working. Making matters worse, he cannot get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

Eric’s young age, however, makes him a great candidate for a heart transplant. Unfortunately, because of where he lives, he is unable to get his name on the transplant list.

He lives in Nevada, where there are no transplant centers. And because he has Nevada Medicaid, authorities will not put him on a list to have a heart transplant in another state. To the friends and family of Eric De La Cruz, it certainly appears to be a very flawed system.

Uh, you think??? It’s inconceivable to me that this man’s life is being threatened by a broken healthcare system. If he lived in another state (one that performed these kinds of procedures), he’d have no problem getting the necessary procedure. Lucky for him, he has a smart, tech-savvy sister who understands the inner workings of the media. As a reporter, she knows how to draw attention to a situation. And, it’s working. According to her Twitter stream, Nevada state legislators are feeling the pressure and are starting to take steps to help her.

In the meantime I’m sitting in his hospital room in ICU CCU and get better reception here so I’m gonna try to get some email done. I’m also going 2 try to fill out some forms sent over by Sen. Ensigns office. The good news is after all the media attn, the offices of Ensign, Reid and Titus all called. But the sad thing is, it shouldn’t have 2 take Ch. 8 & 13 asking them why this is happening 4 Eric 2 get help.

That’s the part of all this that struck me. I hope her efforts are successful and that she can find a way to save her brother’s life. As a sister, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to face a situation like this where you are all but helpless — relying on Twitter and total strangers to help save a family member’s life. But, the sad thing is that her brother Eric isn’t the only person facing this situation. If a person living in a mobile home in the backhills of Iowa was facing a similar situation, do you think anyone would care? Would legislators even give it a second glance? Would hundreds — if not thousands — of people rally around the cause even if there wasn’t a “celebrity” involved? Probably not. And that’s sad.

Here in Florida, we have a home insurance program available for people who otherwise couldn’t get that kind of insurance (gotta love those hurricanes). Why couldn’t we have that same kind of solution for healthcare? Even if that isn’t the best answer, we need something! I want to fault the insurance companies for not providing Eric coverage. But, I’m smart enough to realize that insurance companies are for-profit organizations. While I think they should show a little humanity — lots of companies take on pro bono cases all the time just because it’s the right thing to do — I can’t totally fault them. But, if we’re not willing to force the private market to provide coverage, than we as taxpayers must be willing to pick up the slack. No one should experience what the De La Cruz family is going through. No one should ever have to consider unnecissarily bury a loved one.

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