What coulda been on health care reform

McClatchy reported yesterday that Obama tried to shame health insurance execs with a sad letter he received from a woman who is being financially destroyed by her medical bills thanks to rising insurance premiums and deductibles.

Here’s part of the letter:

Last year (2009) my insurance premium was increased over 25% even though I increased my deductible and out of pocket to the highest limits available. I paid out over $6075.24 in premiums, $2415.26 for medical care, $225 in co-pays and $1500 for prescriptions. I never reached my deductible of $2500 so the insurance company only paid out a total $935.32 to my providers.

I must repeat, in 2009 my insurance company received $6075.24 in premiums and paid out only $935.32!

I have just been notified that my premium for next year 2010 has been increased over 40% to $8496.24 ($708.02 per month) !!!! This is the same insurance company I have been with for over 11 cancer free years!!!

Now, I seriously doubt this will change anything in the minds of the insurance executives Obama met with yesterday. The corporate culture in our country long ago shed any sense of shame or collective responsibility. Profit is the one and only motivation you’ll find in most board rooms.

However, this sort of story, repeated incessantly by the White House and Congressional Democrats could have ended this entire health care fight before the opposition (Republicans and their ignorant tea party minions) took control of the debate.

Instead, Democrats publicly focused on the heartless and technical aspects of reform. While the raw numbers are important to crafting good legislation, they should have never been allowed to take away time from the people that would be helped by reform. Tragic and real stories were replaced by haranguing over “bending the curve.”