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Health plan lets some fall through gaps

March 05, 2007

A Feb. 25 article ["For Healthcare, Put Kids and Prevention First"] mentions the Oregon Health Plan and quotes Howard Leichter of Linfield College as saying: "Nobody has ever died because they were denied a life-saving treatment."

That may be true, but people have gone severely into debt, which is very damaging to quality of life and creates undue mental trauma for those who are cut off.

I am a native Oregonian and so is my 7-year-old daughter, who also happens to be a Type 1 diabetic. She was diagnosed at age 3 and I, being a small-business owner, did not have insurance.

Fortunately -- I say that without pride -- we fell underneath the minimum earnings amount to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan, so we got state coverage. This helped us buy test strips and insulin to keep my daughter alive.

Six months later, at our next application review, we received terrible news: We made $35 more than the limit, so we lost all services. This meant that no longer did my daughter receive her life-saving insulin and test strips to check her blood.

The Oregon Health Plan is a good example of a start at healthcare coverage for the people.

However, it still leaves many people who fall in the gap between making too much to qualify and not enough to afford appropriate private insurance.

Not to mention: Since we had a "preexisting condition," we were denied many private policies.

A better story would be about the countless number of Oregonians like myself who have been traumatized by the OHP.

Most of us believe that coverage should be need-based and not financially based, thus avoiding the mental trauma people in our position face when they are cut off from receiving life-giving treatments and medications.

BRANDON MATZ

Veneta, Ore.

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