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New health care proposals; a time for action.

A Time For Action

Providing adequate health care has come to receive serious attention from everyone - from individuals to families to large corporations to our legislative bodies. Even the American Medical Association, which has traditionally worried about changing methods of providing care and paying for them, has issued a report supporting better planning and a new way of doing business.

Parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs know all too well:

* the limits of the best health insurance plans;

* that the costs to meet the health care needs of their

* child may far exceed their coverage;

* how their child and family may be considered uninsurable

because of a "pre-existing condition";

* that hospital bills can bankrupt any family;

* that very few families can afford the costs of

extensive care;

* that the only way to qualify for care may be to

declare poverty, and that such care itself is often

impoverished;

* that inpatient care may be fully covered while care

by parents at home is not;

* that a parent can be trapped in a job for fear of

losing health insurance coverage by moving on;

* that important mobility or communication equipment

may not be covered because it is not medically

necessary;

* that even when a child's needs appear to be covered

by health insurance, parents are told to accept

the lowest-priced alternative regardless of whether

or not the child's actual needs will be met;

* that parents need to spend valuable time and energy

creating stories so that needed help qualifies for

reimbursement;

* that the future may be worse and needs may go

unmet.

In fact, many parents of children with disabilities have been victimized by the so-called health care system for so long and so often that many have become numbed. They feel overwhelmed and powerless in the midst of forces far beyond their personal control.

And now, providing adequate health care coverage is receiving serious attention on many fronts:

* from the government leaders asked to allocate

limited resources;

* from corporations, large and small, who can no

longer support health care plans for employees a

remain competitive;

* from well-intentioned health care providers who

cannot deliver the care they know is needed;

* from administrators adrift in a sea of paperwork;

* from major media reports and comparisons with

other countries who appear to be able to deliver so

much more for so much less;

* from individual citizens who have begun to appreciate

that every citizen is vulnerable and that

health care is not someone else's problem - as

they have struggled to pay higher and higher costs.

And for the first time, more and more people, who have had health insurance coverage, are recognizing that they and members of their families may be but one illness away from losing their coverage.

In the midst of the clamoring for change from so many, including those who have resisted change in the past, parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs have an unprecedented opportunity to educate our leaders, as well as our neighbors, about the specific, overwhelming and numbing experiences they have endured. Parents' horror stories must now be told because so many are listening. Without hearing these stories, however painful to retell, our leaders may create a "wonderful" new plan that fails once more to meet the needs of so many children and families.

We urge each and every one of our readers to write to their elected representatives in Washington, at the White House and in state capitals - even if you have never written before and do not like to write letters! Your stories must be part of this critical debate. Go public - send copies of your letter to your local newspaper's Letters to the Editor and to radio and television stations. Urge your local, state and national organizations to speak out as well.

And please send copies of your letters to Exceptional Parent because we want to share your health care experiences with all our readers with the hope that together we can help mobilize the energies of everyone concerned with the lives of children and adults with disabilities.
COPYRIGHT 1991 EP Global Communications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Schleifer, Maxwell J.; Klein, Stanley D.
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jun 1, 1991
Words:681
Previous Article:The family with a handicapped child.
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