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Six Questions That Should Be Asked (Healthcare House Party Corrente style)

Questions to get us started. Revise, replace, add your own as necessary. We'll compile and you can choose the ones you want to use at house parties or online as you go.

Edited based on comments. Sorry if I missed tipping a hat to anyone.

The list is getting long. Damn, good questions though.

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1. Have you or anyone in your family ever failed to seek medical attention because you couldn’t afford it? (h/t a little night…)

2. Have you or anyone in your family ever failed to seek medical attention because you couldn’t afford treatment though you had health insurance? (h/t a little night…)

3. Have you ever lost your health insurance? If so, why?

4. Have you ever been refused health insurance? If so, why?

5. Have you ever had to change doctors, delay treatment, or pay higher deductibles because of a pre-existing condition or long-term illness? Are you delaying treatment now? (h/t a little night…)

6. Do you have health insurance now? If not, why not? If so, how do you pay for it?

7. Have you ever asked your parents or children to help you financially because of overwhelming medical bills?

8. Have you ever given up a job or assets to qualify for health insurance programs designed to help people living in poverty?

9. Have you ever lost your job because of a medical condition you put off seeking treatment for until it became so serious, you had to miss work a lot?

10. Have you ever foregone treatment because of the paperwork required by insurance companies?

11. Does what you've heard about or your experience of insurance companies stop or delay you from seeking medical help when you need it?

12. Have you ever gone without necessary medication because you can't afford it or it is not covered by your health insurance? (h/t Iphie)

13. Has your insurance company ever refused to pay for your prescriptions, and instead substituted their option over the judgment of your doctor? (h/t Iphie)

14. Have you ever avoided getting a diagnosis because you lacked health insurance, or didn't want to risk going on record with a pre-existing condition? (h/t

15. Has anyone you know ever contemplated either suicide or refusing to get treatment for a life threatening and/or chronic condition because he or she didn't want to bankrupt his or her loved ones? Have you known anyone that died because of such a choice? (h/t tnjen)

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Comments

Submitted by lambert on

Very hard to improve on.

To #5, I might add: Are you delaying treatment now?

On general principles, I'd cut one so there are 10.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

I'm not so great at phrasing as questions, but I wonder if the questions should include something as to the bureaucratic nightmare involved in getting even basic health care. The inefficiency and waste of multiple corporate entities managing care mentioned in the other post have a specific and extremely relatable real-world effect on people; dealing with health care is a freakin' nightmare, even if you have it and can afford it. It's more than just an abstract system inefficiency, it's a make your life miserable when you least need it factor.

Does anyone in the U.S. not have a horror story involving dealing with the corporate-insurance-hmo bureaucracies? Has anyone delayed or forgone care because of the corporate gatekeeper effect? There's a cumulative hassle effect that serves as a barrier (or at least a serious drag) on getting care, as well as a ramped up stress factor interacting with the various health entities.

Submitted by ohio on

My feeling is that the questions will elicit exactly the kinds of stories you mention, but perhaps something like

11. Have you ever foregone treatment because of the paperwork and bureaucracy involved with getting healthcare?

That's an interesting point you raise---that the fear of the nightmare of being sick is beyond just how you feel: There's the disease. There's the treatment. And then there's the bureaucracy. Any one of 'em can kill you.

12. Does what you've heard about or your experience of healthcare bureacracy stop you from seeking medical help when you need it?

Submitted by lambert on

... which, thanks to Reagan [genuflects], people associate with government, I'd target the insurance companies.

11. Have you ever foregone treatment because of the paperwork required by insurance companies?

12. Does what you've heard about or your experience of insurance companies stop you from seeking medical help when you need it?

Submitted by hipparchia on

the insurance companies have created waaaaaay more bureaucracy than the govt ever has, but this little fact has completely disappeared from the national conversation.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

Although I'd throw a 'delay' into #12:

Does what you've heard about or your experience of insurance companies stop or delay you from seeking medical help when you need it?

I remember back in the 80s(?) when the HMO thing was really getting going, the big selling point was that their emphasis on preventative care was going to save billions in care costs by catching problems early, etc. And yet it's turned out that with the various insurance cos and for-profit entities installing gatekeepers whose primary role is making money or at least reducing costs by diverting people from care rather than facilitating care, it's really only preventing care, not disease or affliction.

There's also a huge stress factor involved with dealing with the current system that I can't quite get into a question. Imagine the aggregate relief across of the whole country of never having to worry about losing insurance, hassling with insurance companies, whether what you need is covered, etc. I have been lucky (knock on wood) that I have had relatively few medical needs outside an annual physical and an occasional prescription, but even I could fill a book with stories of screwing around with my insurance company.

Iphie's picture
Submitted by Iphie on

because you cannot afford it or it is not covered by your health insurance formulary?"

"Has your insurance company ever refused to pay for your prescribed medication, choosing instead to substitute their preferred option over the judgment of your doctor?"

I know prescriptions are broadly covered by the questions about treatment in general, but pharmacy coverage (or lack thereof) resides in a nightmarish realm all of its own.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

I've known this to happen.

Has anyone you know ever contemplated either suicide or refusing to get treatment for a life threatening and/or chronic condition because he or she didn't want to bankrupt his or her loved ones?

Have you known anyone that died because of such a choice?

Submitted by ohio on

Russ and I just talked about this on Wednesday. He's having some health issues and said if he should get a diagnosis of something serious (specifically, cancer), he'd just die rather than seek treatment specifically because of the money and bureaucractic nightmare involved.

I believe him. I don't think he's afraid of pain or even the treatment regimen, but the long, drawn-out nightmare of trying to pay bills when he has no money.

Submitted by lambert on

Why live with the knowledge if nothing can be done? "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." I'd be very surprised if a lot of the more permanent underclass (the "discouraged" job seekers) don't feel exactly this way.

And why ruin the time you have left dealing with assholes? (Goes for pretty much everything, now that I think about it.)