As the House of Representatives clears the way in the historic debate on health insurance in this country, I would like to clear up for Rush Limbaugh and all his friends that we are not the great uninsured for no reason. As coverage currently exists it is expensive. It is doubly expensive for the self insurance, and without a large coverage group the kind of insurance you can purchase is limited. There are caps on medical coverage the decide who lives and who dies. There are many people who after years of faithfully paying find they are denied coverage because they did not read the fine print on their policy. Heck, most people don't even read the large print. They purchase "insurance" hoping there will never be an accident.

No coverage: for one in five of the people who live in my area, the cost of purchasing insurance is beyond their means. When I was a health 40 year old my electrician husband was paying $400 a month for my insurance. During the period I had coverage because he could afford it I never needed services even once. My husband, however, was unable to get coverage for himself because of a pre-existing condition. He was unable to purchase it at any price.

False coverage: one of our friends encouraged us to buy insurance through a multi level marketing organization she had signed up for. The coverage seemed reasonably priced and was available to anyone without a doctor's visit, even smokers. We bought the coverage but when the "policy" arrived, it said in very large letters: THIS IS NOT INSURANCE. I called our friend, as with many people who sell through multi level marketing, she didn't know much about her actual product. The big money is not in selling it, she spent more of her time trying to get other people to sign on as reps. The "product" she was selling, we learned, was more like a club. Doctors joined the club. If you were lucky enough to find a doctor who had joined the club you paid for, then he would keep his billing in line to match what the brochure advertised. It truly was NOT insurance. And, the doctor my husband regularly saw already had a sliding scale for uninsured patients. He didn't have ANY incentive to join this club, and lower his price unnaturally. The club wasn't paying HIM anything, because it was NOT insurance.

Limited coverage: my pastor's wife had breast cancer. As the disease progressed the insurance company found new and improved ways to slash her benefits with each renewal. Finally they announced her cancer must have been a pre existing condition and decided to revoke her coverage three years into treatment. I have a sinking feeling the suits in administration were hoping the poor lady would die before the issue got resolved, because my my it does keep the stock holders happy when costs are cut.

Denied coverage: lie on your original insurance application to your peril. If you fail to disclose something that is later ascertained as pre existing, not only will your coverage get revoked when you need it most, but you won't get your money back with interest. You'll be dead.

I know two women with Kaiser coverage who while they did receive treatment, were denied transplants. One lady advocated so strongly for her self she finally did save her own life. The other can't even get on a transplant list, which is no guarantee of receiving one, because Kaiser refuses to recommend her. They say she is "too old."

Coverage and no treatment: My friend died recently although she had full coverage and went to the emergency room at the onset of her symptoms. Was never diagnosed until she died. She had lung cancer which had spread to her liver. The original emergency room doctor told her she had a cracked rib. Her primary care physician could not find a crack and told her it must be a bruised rib. She was unable to convince him to recommend her to a specialist and had to travel herself two hours to the next closest large city to get admitted to a cancer institute. But it was too late, precious weeks were lost by the misdiagnosis and the insurance bureaucracy.

My fear, once it becomes mandatory for Americans to buy coverage, having no coverage will become a criminal act. But what about us who don't have a spare twenty dollars a month to pay for it? One in five in my social circle don't have it. We've already turned off the cable tv, the high speed internet, taken in room mates or rented our houses. We make do with our old cars and give up our land line phones. We eat in, or grow our own food. Where is the extra money going to come from?