Share My Story

It's important for policy makers to hear stories from their constituents. Please share your healthcare story and we will make sure it is heard in Olympia!

    commented on Share My Story 2020-11-15 16:17:53 -0800
    My name is Maria Clemente and I am a type 1 IDDM person. I was diagnosed on my 16th birthday with Type 2, but it soon was clear that I was a Type 1 as the medications they had me on (5 different) were not working. I was still in the 700’s even after taking my meds. They quickly put me on insulin and that is when our fight really began with insurances. I was on my mother’s HMO insurance in the 1990’s and even though I was on 30 units of insulin 3 times a day I would only get enough insulin pens to last me 15 days at that dosage. I was going at least 14 to 15 days each month without my insulin which caused more problems like Diabetic Ketoacidosis…deadly to diabetics if not caught in time. It was for me because my Mom is a nurse and knew what to do. However, I was only able to stay in the hospital (the HMO contracted hospital) a total of 2 days when actually I need at least a week and sometimes 2 weeks as I was really sick. Anyhow I started rationing my insulin so it would last me 45 days which meant that I was not taking full dosage (30u) for my blood sugars. I was taking 1/3 of my dosage per day which is 10u. 10u didn’t really get my blood sugars down to where they needed to be to stop the deleterious effects of Diabetes and so over the next two year (I think) I started getting Diabetic neuropathy and Diabetic retinopathy. Finally after 14 stays in the hospital Mom decided to get off the HMO insurance and went to a PPO. Then she lost her job. COBRA would not cover me at all since I was 18 years old. I was an adult. Then I went on Medicaid and still am on DSHS 20+ years later. The first year of DSHS was hard as I had to learn on a daily basis how to ration my insulin even more as I went from 3 pens per months for 30 units dosage per day to 1 pen per month for 30u per day. Now my friend has insulin in surplus so he gives me some of his to augment what needs to cover me for the rest of the month. However, it won’t change the fact that when he is no longer here I will have to go back to extreme rationing of my insulin…sometimes that will mean I will have to go 2+ days without insulin to make sure that I have enough to last me the rest of the month unless I can “steal” insulin from other people like my Mom who uses Medicare and the VA to pay for her meds — including her insulin. I am playing Russian roulette with my life. I now have peripheral neuropathy in both hands and feet as well as I can’t feel below me knees on both extremities. I also have Diabetic Gastroparesis which now makes it almost impossible to eat regular foods — Diabetic foods. This is all because I have had to ration my insulin since the early 90’s except for years 2018, 2019, and 2020 when I had access to another person’s surplus. Why is it that manufacture’s can hold critical and valuable hostage (high prices) at the risk of poor and vulnerable people dying? Are we THAT uncaring that we would allow those who can not pay for their medicines die? Isn’t that the definition of eugenics? Glad to know that I am THAT important! (sarcastically saying).
    commented on Share My Story 2020-07-24 16:31:23 -0700
    My twin sister was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant and I was the identified donor. When the discussion coverage of my costs associated with the transplant were made, her insurance company said that they were not going to pay any of my expenses as I was not one of their beneficiaries. When I contacted my HMO their response was, “Are they crazy? You are her treatment plan and they should be covering it” and they further said, “no we will not cover your expenses” The hospital said until we got the insurance companies to resolve this that they would not schedule the procedure. Well to make a long story short – we both ended up pulling strings. My sister spoke to the president of the group through which she purchased the insurance about the situation. And luckily they were in the midst of renegotiating the contract with the insurance provider and told them that if they did not cover the donor expenses that the group would be looking elsewhere for coverage. And I continued to contact and badger my HMO as well. Ultimately the two insurance companies gave each of us a letter stating that they were not going to pay unless the other insurance company didn’t pay (ie they would only be secondary). So when I was admitted to the hospital I ended up taking both letters with me, and I proceeded to go through the financial agreement documents and cross out anything that referred to me personally being financially liable for the payment of the donor expenses and replaced it with my sister’s insurance company’s information and provided the hospital with both letters. And when the clerk objected to what I was doing I told her I was changing the contract and that I knew I could because I did it all the time whenever I as a social worker had to sign a foster child in to receive emergency medical treatment so that I was not financially responsible for medical costs that were not really my responsibility. Most people would not know how to handle such a situation and not know where to turn for assistance and in all likely hood the person needing a lifesaving procedure such as what my sister need – would most likely have died. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH SUCH STRESS AND HOOPS FOR WHAT IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT. Everyone should be covered – no matter if they are employed, unemployed, an immigrant (documented or undocumented), or based on age, sex, race, disability, gender identity or any other characteristic.
    commented on Share My Story 2018-09-17 07:12:37 -0700
    commented on Share My Story 2018-07-12 10:39:14 -0700
    I lived all over the USA and in foreign countries. My husband was military, and we had free health care. Two of the foreign countries had free heath care – Germany and Norway. What a shock when I returned to the USA as a widow and ordinary citizen, and witnessed so many people unable to function due to lack of health care. The USA is so far behind. There is no reason to continue this way. Some say that Norwegians are less inovative because of the care they receive. Wrong!!! They are freed up to be more creative . The lack of health care for US citizens bothers me every day of my life.
    commented on Share My Story 2018-01-15 15:19:00 -0800
    I am a manager in the software/tech industry, currently unemployed. Over the past 10 years, I’ve been laid off 4 times, and each time I’ve suffered from our nation’s fragmented approach to healthcare: immediate loss of coverage, pre-existing condition exclusions, and COBRA benefits either unavailable or too expensive. I have used up most of my retirement savings just to keep afloat. At least with Obamacare for the past 2 years, I have found guaranteed coverage at an affordable price for myself and for my wife. Now, the present administration and Congress have entirely abandoned their duty “to provide for the general welfare of their citizenry” (see Article 1 of the US Constitution). I, and millions of others like me, will not be able to afford medical insurance without the Obamacare healthcare marketplace and the Medicaid expansion. Does this administration really want me to lose my home and savings in order to pay for medical care? Wouldn’t they rather have me contribute as a healthy, working taxpayer instead?


    This is why I urge the Washington State Senate & House to pass SB5701 and establish a statewide single-payer healthcare system. Because it’s not going to happen at the federal level. We need to keep our Washingtonians from falling through those many cracks in the healthcare payments industry. Insurance is not the solution, it’s part of the problem. Universal healthcare is the real solution to our current healthcare coverage crisis.


    It continually amazes me that people prefer our current insurance-based system which covers only part of their healthcare expenses, even though they could have a single-payer system which covers all of their healthcare expenses at a lower cost overall! I can see why so many other nations care enough about their citizens to have implemented single-payer systems. Again, if the US won’t do it, then I urge Washington State to take the lead with its own single-payer system, which will:

    1) cut out the expensive health-insurance middleman,

    2) reduce pharmaceutical charges,

    3) increase our choice of affordable doctors and care providers,

    4) lower our state’s healthcare expenses, and

    5) make healthcare available to all Washingtonians.

    Isn’t it about time we did the right – and smart thing? Let’s do this one.
    commented on Share My Story 2018-01-06 16:36:30 -0800
    posted about Share My Story on Facebook 2018-01-06 16:35:55 -0800
    Share My Story
    commented on Share My Story 2018-01-06 16:34:54 -0800
    My mom died because of breast cancer in 2002, because she did not have the money to get help. Sure she was on Medicare but it doesn’t pay all and with the small amount of money my mother got from Social Security. She died with open breast sores when we found out about it. My husband died in 2005 after having two back surgeries and getting an infection in his spine after the last Surgery. When he could no longer work, we went on Cobra, and spent the next two years fighting to get Social Security Disability. They turned him down and we ended up having to get a lawyer and fight to get it. He had Social Security Disability for 3 months and then ended up dying. Same thing just happened to my brother-in-law in Oregon. He is type 1 diabetic, he is so bad that he could no longer work as a linemen. Of course he was turned down the first time he applied for Social Security disability and they have spent the last year fighting and getting a lawyer to get finally Social Security Disability. Even with Medicare, it is costing them a thousands every month for the pump he has to have and medicine. My neighbor behind me has cancer and has been on chemo for the past two years. They thought they had it but now its come back and now she is having to take a chemo pill that cost her over $18,000.00 a month. Even with Medicare and supplement it still does not cover the expense of this monthly pill. It is costing them over $13,000.00 a month and now they are trying to figure out how to get help!!! My neighbor 57 years old down the street from me has a heart condition that he needs a new heart. But because of the expense he will not be able to get one even if there was one available!!


    I worked for one of the best Nursing Homes in Washington State and it cost a patient over $15,000.00 a month. It get into a Nursing home you have to have the money then when you run out of money then you can apply for Medicaid. What is going to happen to all these people that will need Nursing homes help in the future!!


    Please take the Bill SB5701 up in the State House, the rules committee and help everyone in Washington get Medicare (Health Care for ) for all!!