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Eastern Connecticut State University students brought 40 stories and over 400 Christmas cards to the state Capitol Thursday to show legislators how much they care about access to affordable health care. Kevin Douglas, 23, said health care is something most people don’t think his generation cares about, but the 40 stories he collected along with his classmates in the social work program prove that’s just not true. Douglas said he made the trip to the state Capitol Thursday to show legislators how much young people do care about this issue. Another student, Alyssa Goodin, echoed Douglas’ passion about the issue by telling legislative leaders Thursday that, “We shouldn’t have to wish for health care this holiday.”
Goodin said her sister suffers from bipolar disorder. She said at the moment she’s covered under her parents health insurance, but once she graduates she gets kicked-off. Goodin said she doesn’t know how her family is going to be able to afford the $1,000 per month it costs to keep her sister on medication. She said “there’s no way my family can afford this,” but there’s also no way they can afford not to. Douglas had a similar personal story to share. He said his sister suffers from a painful skin condition for which there is a cure, but there are no dermatologists who will accept her substandard state insurance. “She has a medical problem, and there is a known solution, but because of an inefficient health care system, she must suffer,” Douglas said. Douglas himself said once he graduates he will be sans insurance and doesn’t know what is going to happen. He said most employers require at least six-weeks of employment before they offer you insurance. Douglas pointed out that Connecticut has one of the highest rates of uninsurance and one of the highest incomes per capita. But bankruptcy is skyrocketing because people can’t pay their medical bills, he said. Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said in 2004 half of all bankruptcies was related to health care expenses. And the vast majority of the estimated 400,000 uninsured residents in the state are working men and women, who are one sickness away from personal bankruptcy, Williams added. The cost of uninsurance is estimated at about $525 million a year, he said. He said it’s both a human rights issue and an economic development issue. Williams said he’s going to fight for health coverage for everyone in Connecticut. Democratic Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford, has said at the very least the state will make sure all children up to age 25 years old are covered. Gov. M. Jodi Rell seems to believe the state has done enough by redirecting $1 million in HUSKY funds to increase enrollment in the low-income insurance program for children and by allocating $25.8 million in bonding for community health centers in the state this past October. Maybe reading a sampling of the stories collected by the ECSU students will help change their minds. Francesca, ManchesterSince I have been born, I have had medical issues and it has always been a fight to get healthcare. Due to this I have not received many of the services I have needed. I am now an adult and do not have sufficient health care still. I have applied for state aid but somehow being a college student and minimally working entails to me nothing. I can not afford individual health care and am independent from my mom, therefore I have no access to help my medical needs.Luis, CoventryMy brother works long hours at a job without benefits. Due to a neck injury he has chronic pain that is manageable (sadly) by drugs. Any more effective treatment is way beyond his means. If anything else goes wrong for him, he will be badly off. Like many Americans, he avoids doctors because he simply can’t afford one.Erika, WillimanticI am scared of losing healthcare after graduation. I have really bad asthma and need inhalers to keep me breathing well. I am worried about having to spend thousands each year alone to buy medicine.Brittany, SouthingtonMy dad receives healthcare for me through his work. From now until the end of 2006, I do not have adequate healthcare. It worries me to know that if anything was to happen to me, my parents would suffer the burden of all the costs. I feel that quality healthcare should be offered to everyone, regardless of age, gender, financial status, ethnicity, or racial background. What would you do if you were denied healthcare? Put yourself in other people’s shoes- think about it!Susan, ManchesterMy husband is co-owner of a small business, about ten employees. Comprehensive health insurance is provided at an ever increasing cost to the business. At the same time consumer demand for the services they offer are falling as are profits. Changing to a catastrophic plan with health savings accounts may be in the works. As a beneficiary of a comprehensive policy, I have no clue how much services cost. Prices should be put in form and patients should sign when services are provided.To read more real stories click here.