Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Insurance Stories

When I sent out a request for stories at the end of last week I had no idea the response I would get. I thought I would hear from the usual suspects for sure. Hear from a few disgruntled members because they "forgot" to do a survey, or hear from a lot of people who felt maybe I thought the sky was falling. Well, it turns out that Soilent Green is people, folks, because I had 24 emails waiting for me that first evening. I did appreciate that 4 were positive specifically about 10,000 steps, and its impact on their lives, or just neutral about it. The rest ranged from tear-jerking "Thank God I had 'Distinctions' even though it is so expensive because I never knew I would get breast cancer" to sadly pragmatic, "The money is either going to come out of my pocket through a co-pay and deductible or through Distinctions, what's the difference?" Many people spoke of taking single Distinctions and then covering their healthy children cheaper on the open market. Many told of needing Distinctions because their child/spouse was not healthy and they had no other place to turn for insurance. Some used the email as our own Taxi Cab/10,000 Steps confession for gaming the system. Some resented the narrow offering of choices that didn't cost additional money. One lactose-intolerant member wondered why the end of her annual survey included a suggestion to drink more milk.

And the stories keep on coming. Stories arrived over the weekend. Members walked up to me at the 4th Congressional district convention on Saturday to share stories. Members called with stories. My email box keeps popping up with stories.

You thanked me for taking this on. You thanked the union for taking this on. You wondered aloud why anyone with a pulse would actually question why we would act to try to reduce health care costs for our members and the greater population. Some stunning metaphors were used to bring your wonderings home most accurately, which is high praise from a licensed English teacher. Some analogies made me blush, which I suppose is high praise from an Iron Ranger.

Obviously, we are going to keep pressing on. Cost and access to quality health care is a community problem, which is going to take an entire community to solve. We are an integral part of this community. We can lead this fight and we can win it. For us, for our students, for the families we serve, and for all of Minnesota.


Karen at Community ALC said...

I am glad that you are taking this issue by the horns. As it stands, I can not have my husband insured with Saint Paul Public Schools because it is way too expensive! I am glad that this is so important to you because we need better options and I would really like to be able to afford insurance for my husband. We are lucky to have such a dedicated, tenacious, bulldoggish (that's a VERY GOOD thing!) person leading our union! Thank you for all of your hard work!

Alec said...

Would it be possible to get with other unions, and have a general statewide stike in support of health care benefits? Imagine if all labor took a day from work to support a cause?