Friday, June 26, 2009

Floridian Featured In OFA Web Video

Today, Organizing for America released “Denied,” the next in its series of “The Faces of Health Care Reform” web videos. The piece features Lisa Smith of Lake Worth, FL explaining how she lost her insurance when she lost her job and then was denied coverage by private insurers because of a preexisting condition. OFA, a project of the Democratic National Committee, has collected hundreds of thousands of personal health care stories over the last several weeks. OFA plans to release additional web videos that highlight personal health care stories as the debate over reform continues in Congress.

Lisa Smith of Fort Lake, FL has hydrocephalus – or water on the brain – and several other health ailments that require regular monitoring and care. Like millions of Americans, when Lisa lost her job, she also lost her health insurance. Lisa was unable to afford COBRA, but when she called around to inquire about coverage from private insurers she was categorically denied. “As soon as I told them about my situation,” Lisa says, they said “forget it; they absolutely wouldn’t even go any further.”

Without insurance, Lisa can’t afford her monthly prescriptions (which cost about $800) or the regular tests and doctors visits that help keep her healthy and able to function normally. Lisa has a shunt that drains the water from her brain to her abdomen. With regular checkups, it’s easier to control her condition; but without those visits, Lisa is forced to wait until her situation is dire enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. “Without regular monitoring I run a real risk of something serious happening and that scares me,” Lisa says.

“Like millions of other Americans, Lisa has a serious health condition that can be managed with regular care and medication,” said Mitch Stewart, the Director of Organizing for America. “But without insurance, Lisa can’t afford that regular care, so she’s forced to rely on emergency room visits, which is ultimately less effective and more expensive. Unfortunately, her story is indicative of what’s wrong with our broken system – we must reform our system to lower costs, increase access and protect patient choice.”

Organizing for America has collected hundreds of thousands of personal health care stories. The grassroots effort is building support in communities across the country for a plan that adheres to President Obama’s three principles for reform: lowering costs, preserving patient choice and increasing access to quality care. Tens of thousands of people in all 50 states participated in OFA’s June 6th Health Care Kickoff events, where attendees shared their stories, talked about the President’s principles for reform and started to plan activities in their own communities. This Saturday, June 27th OFA is organizing a national Health Care Day of Service. Earlier this week, OFA launched Health Care Stories for America an innovative online tool where hundreds of thousands of genuine health care stories can be shared, found and read, by city and state, from all across the country.

Watch Lisa Smith’s story:

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