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Cover America Tour passes half way point

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Consumer Reports Health’s “Cover America Tour”
Chronicles Americans’ Anxiety Over Healthcare

Summer Tour Reaches Half Way Point of Coast-To-Coast Journey
Highlighting Challenges Americans Face With Health Coverage

YONKERS, NY — The Cover America Tour has reached the half-way point of its summer-long road trip across the country to chronicle the stories of Americans who are having a tough time getting affordable, high quality healthcare. The coast-to-coast tour sponsored by Consumer Reports Health aims to put a face on the challenges Americans are experiencing as momentum builds for healthcare reform.
As the tour crew travels by RV across the country, they’re posting videos of people talking about their experiences and blogging about what they’re hearing at www.CoverAmericaTour.org. So far, the tour has traveled over 9,000 miles through 30 states and produced 46 different short videos highlighting the stories of Americans who have struggled to get the healthcare they need.
“In big cities and small towns across the country, Americans are anxious about the cost of healthcare and worry about whether they’ll be able to afford the care they need to stay healthy,” said Meg Bohne, Campaign Organizer for Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports Health. “Every story is different but all Americans want access to affordable, high quality care they can depend on when they need it most.”
The stories chronicled by the Cover America Tour include Americans who cannot afford insurance, have coverage that is costly or doesn’t meet their needs, and those who have received poor quality care. Some of the videotaped stories featured on the Cover America Tour web site include:
Dave – Ashboro, North Carolina. Dave lost his health coverage when he was laid off from his job at the age of 62. He tried to purchase health insurance for himself and his wife but every insurer he contacted excluded their pre-existing conditions. He finally found a job that offered health benefits, but he’ll have to work until he is 69 in order to provide health coverage for his wife until she qualifies for Medicare “Health insurance is controlling our lives,” Dave said.
See Dave’s video: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1460683554/bctid1646070816
Peter – Carbondale, Pennsylvania. Peter injured his hand while chopping wood and had to choose between getting the care he needed or going deep into debt. When he got to the hospital he found out that he would need to be airlifted to another facility in order to save his thumb. Because he was uninsured, he couldn’t afford the expense and had his thumb amputated instead. “The sacrifice of my thumb was far less than the risk of losing my house,” said Peter.
See Peter’s video: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1460683554/bctid1608823283
Charles – Alma, Georgia. When Charles found out he had prostate cancer, he was told by his insurance company that it wouldn’t cover the services provided by the doctor who diagnosed him. While the doctor’s office on the first floor is part of his insurance company’s network, the second floor where biopsies are done is not. It was only after his state legislator intervened on his behalf that Charles was able to get his insurer to cover his needed surgery at a local hospital. “It’s not the cancer that is going to kill me, it’s the insurance company,” said Charles.
See Charles’ video: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1460683554/bctid1674044182
Sister Mary Ellen – Detroit, Michigan. Sister Mary Ellen runs the Cabrini Clinic in Detroit, one of the oldest such clinics serving the uninsured, working poor in the U.S. The demand for the clinics’ services is great. “Free clinics are supposed to be the safety net below the safety net for the few who fall through,” said Sister Mary Ellen. “The problem is too many are falling through right now.”
See Mary Ellen’s video: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1460683554/bctid1619484075
Bea – Charlotte, North Carolina. Bea has had a tough time affording an individual health insurance plan that covers the care she needs. After she was laid off from her county social worker job, Bea opened her own practice but she can only afford catastrophic coverage. Her policy does not cover pre-existing conditions, including her painful arthritis. “I quickly realized that the American dream of owning your business is only for the young and healthy,” said Bea.
See Bea’s video: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1460683554/bctid1648122600
Helen – Columbia, South Carolina. Helen lost her son due to medical errors in the hospital. Helen’s 15-year old son Lewis underwent surgery to correct a bone defect. His surgery went smoothly, but he was given improper pain medication and developed a perforated ulcer, a hospital acquired infection and began to bleed internally. He soon died. ‘This was an accident waiting to happen,” said Helen, who has gone on to found Mothers Against Medical Errors.
See Helen’s video: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1460683554/bctid1667900245
The Cover America Tour crew will be on the road until mid-September and will complete its cross-country journey in Washington, D.C. Please Note: The Cover America Tour can connect reporters with Americans willing to be interviewed by the media about their healthcare experiences. To find out more, contact Michael McCauley at mccami@consumer.org
Michael McCauley – 415-902-9537 (cell)
Meg Bohne – 516-528-9293 (cell)