Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dangerous Lives

Amanda Parsons, one of more than 400,000 Connecticut residents without health insurance, has a hole in her tooth but won't see a dentist. She also is delaying gallbladder surgery as she still owes nearly $7,000 for earlier gallstone surgery.

The pain gets intense at times, so the 26-year-old college student from Bridgeport takes Tylenol at night and borrows her father's old prescriptions.

"I don't go out," Parsons said. "I can't afford for anything to happen to me."

Parsons is among a growing number of Americans living precariously without health insurance.

The hole in her tooth can easily lead to other, more expensive problems. In addition to her tooth, mouth & gum problems can lead to more serious infections in other parts of the body.

Parsons said she lost her health insurance when she quit working full-time to attend college and do a required internship. She briefly obtained health insurance through the state, but was disqualified when state officials discovered she owned a 2001 Acura.

"It's the only thing I own besides my bed," she said.

A quick check of an online resource reveals basic coverage is available for $46 per month for a 26 year old female. This plan would cover most inpatient charges. A better plan that would cover doctor visits & Rx is only $64 monthly.

Paying for health insurance is also a struggle for small business owners such as Claire Criscuolo, who owns a popular vegetarian restaurant in New Haven.

Criscuolo offers to pay half the typical cost of $300 per month for health insurance for her 26 employees. But most of her young workers opt not to get insurance.

"I take a lot of vitamins," said Erin Guild, a 22-year-old cook at the restaurant. "I try really hard to not get sick."

Guild was recently hit by a car while riding her bike, but didn't go to the hospital. Criscuolo is also a nurse and determined she did not have a concussion, she said.

Apparently taking lots of vitamins do not protect you from Buick’s.

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, said it's time for Connecticut to take a bold step toward universal health care coverage.

"It's one of the greatest inhibitors against job growth in the state," DeStefano said.

So universal health care, funded by high taxes, is apparently the answer to job growth.

Interesting philosophy.
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