26-Year-old Daughter Died Because She Feared Medical Cost
"After my husband lost his job of 13 years due to outsourcing, we had to leave California," remembers Marlena Machol of Silver City, N.M.. "Our daughter Elizabeth decided to stay at her job in California. Although her employers had promised to look into employee health insurance, they had not done so yet, so we told her if she had to go to the doctor we would pay for it.
"We had been sending a payment to the doctor every month, trying to stay ahead of her health needs, while paying hundreds every month to an insurance company for a policy for us. Some months later, Elizabeth said she'd been awfully tired, but attributed it to a recent move, long hours at work, and her cat Bert waking her up. I told her she ought to go to the doctor, but she didn't want to cost us if she didn't have to. I made her promise to go if she didn't feel better soon.
"I wish I could have seen her in person; perhaps I would have known something was really wrong and I would have taken her to the doctor right away. Days later, my husband and I were ready to head back to Arizona from a convention, and we stopped to call our son. He was watching the house, and told us Elizabeth had been taken to the hospital. We called the hospital; they told us we ought to get there as quickly as we could. We knew it was serious and we diverted to California.
"Elizabeth apparently had an undiagnosed heart condition. She never regained consciousness. Surrounded by all her brothers, brothers-in-law, her sister, niece, and many, many friends, my beautiful Elizabeth died two days later - the day after her 26th birthday. Bert now lives with us."
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Sponsored by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee
Eighty-two percent of Americans think the U.S. healthcare system should be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt (Commonwealth Fund, Aug. 7, 2008). America's nurses know that only single-payer, improved and expanded Medicare for all will fix our broken system and the tragedy of our devastated families. HR 676, by U.S. Rep John Conyers, is the most comprehensive, cost effective way to achieve guaranteed healthcare for all.