November 2012
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Where Will the Uninsured Go?

Interesting story in The Los Angeles Times. Jode Towe and his wife, Yamira, own a small trucking business in Tennessee. Last year, he felt something in his throat:

The Towes were able to pay cash for the first round of doctor visits this spring: $80 for the first trip to the clinic, approximately $600 for two CT scans, $150 for a cardiologist visit.

The couple got a break on some bills. “The doctors were great,” Yamira Towe said.

But a biopsy and an operation to take out her husband’s tonsils probably would run $3,500 to $4,500. A round of chemotherapy, if that became necessary, could run more than $10,000.

She scrambled to find help. A benevolent fund the Towes contributed to at their former trucking company was reserved for current employees. She checked with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the American Cancer Society, but they couldn’t help.

The cancer society’s cancer action network, after being contacted for an article about uninsured people, put The Times in touch with Jode Towe.

If Towe becomes very ill, he could go to an emergency room. A hospital would be required by federal law to stabilize him. But hospitals are not required to provide ongoing treatment. Towe would also be billed for any services the ER provides.

For now, Towe doesn’t have a life-threatening emergency.

“There is really nowhere we can go,” his wife said.

Election may determine fate of sick, uninsured Americans

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