I’m a retired plumber from Coxsackie, NY with a laundry list of health conditions, not the least of which is blindness. A few years ago after suffering a stroke, I signed up for health insurance coverage through CDPHP. Not long after enrolling, I got a call from a CDPHP nurse who said I was overdue for a colonoscopy.
Let me repeat that, my health insurer called to say I was overdue for a cancer screening, and even offered to help me schedule an appointment. I was pleasantly surprised by the gesture and took her up on the offer.
A few weeks later, I had the procedure, and sure enough, the test revealed growths called polyps that were removed before they could develop into full-blown cancer. I often think about what might have happened if I hadn’t received that call.
The experience made me realize that CDPHP is not a health insurance company; it’s a heath care company, one that goes out of its way to make me healthy. Unfortunately, health insurers, like CDPHP, sometimes get a bad rap, particularly as the cost of health care rises. Unfortunately, the debate over the rising cost of care has some – including the government – thinking they can do it better, and are suggesting New York go to a government-run, single payer health care system.
I spent a good chunk of my adult life as the primary caregiver for my brothers, John and Robert, both of whom had Huntington’s disease and both of whom were enrolled in New York’s Medicaid program. To say that I had to jump through hoops to get them the care they needed and deserved would be a vast understatement. The state denied their treatment at an out-of-state facility, which at the time was the only center that treated Huntington’s.
To the contrary, my health plan has always been there for me, and even goes above and beyond to make sure I have the care I need. The mere thought that the government can do it better is not only infuriating, but downright scary.
I feel so strongly against a government-run health care system that I recently testified at a hearing on the New York Health Act in Kingston, NY. I told my story to the Senate and Assembly Health Committees, which are made up of legislators who both support and oppose single payer.
Also at the hearing was Leslie Moran of the New York Health Plan Association who said, “The reason health insurance is expensive is because health care is expensive…and there is nothing in the New York Health Act to control the cost of care. If we would bring down the cost of health care, we would bring down the cost of health insurance.”
Despite the rising cost of care, Ms. Moran went on to say that most New Yorkers are happy with their insurance coverage, with the state’s health plans averaging a 90 percent patient satisfaction score in the areas of quality of care and access to care.
When it comes to health care, everyone seems to think they can do it better. But as someone who has seen both sides of the equation – private and public insurance – I know a government-run system is not the answer.