Listen to the story of health care in the United States: Run, don’t walk, over to Twitter and check out #insurancepoll.
To get the full sense of it, you have to read it, but basically, the indy rock star Amanda Palmer asked people to tell where they live, if they have health insurance and what it costs. The stories started to roll, and now there are hundreds and hundreds:
1) USA 2) Graphic Designer 3) No 4) No plan offered at job, previously had cancer so too high-risk to insure.#InsurancePoll
1)US 2)white collar 3)yes 4)$500/mo family 3. Employed by US Govt and still pay $6,000/yr.
1)US 2) Professor 3) Yes 4) covered by job, less than 100$ a month for health, dental, visual insurancepoll
1) USA 2) bookkeeper 3) Not insured. Too expensive.
Australia,Too sick to work, no insurance. Medicare paid thru tax, so nil in my case and my cover is free, Thank God.
Married when wife was 8 months pregnant so she could be covered only to find out pregnancy was pre-existing cond. $18,000.
1) USA 2) CPA 3) No 4) wife with MS, coverage extremely limited with $3k deductible, $ 791/mo and 24% annual increases
1) USA 2) higher ed 3) yes 4) $1413 for family of 4 ($260 me, $1153 employer paid)
Here’s how it happened: Palmer writes on her blog:
“so yesterday something extraordinary happened while i was diddling around on the train from philly to boston, coming home from an overnight trip to do a kickstarter house party, saturday night.
“i was casually reading the sunday new york times (one of my very favorite combinations in life: train, coffee, ping-ponging between reading the newspaper, my twitter feed, and looking out the window at the new england coastline) and i read this article in the sunday review section: A Possibly Fatal Mistake. long story short: …
“i sent a few musing tweets about my own experiences with insurance…
“most small-to-mid-level musicians i know don’t have health insurance. some musicians find tricky ways, some pay, most take the risk & pray.
“when i was in my early twenties, buying my own insurance would have been equal half my rent. it just didn’t seem like an option. (cont…)
“my parents had just watched the death of my step-brother (uninsured when stricken with a disease) almost destroy the family bank…(cont).
“…and so they DEMANDED i get insurance. we fought. they offered to pay half. i agreed. i was lucky. many aren’t. think about it. #AndVote.
“…and then people starting musing back at me, in their own tweets, about their own experiences with insurance. i could tell i’d hit somewhat of a nerve with THEM, and then it occurred to me that’d it’d probably lead to a fascinating cross-section of information if i asked everybody on my feed what their current situation was:
quick twitter poll. 1) COUNTRY?! 2) profession? 3) insured? 4) if not, why not, if so, at what cost per month (or covered by job)?
“…and my feed EXPLODED. EXPLODED. i found out that twitter has a twitter LIMIT (you can’t tweet more than 100 tweets/RTs in an hour – which is probably to prevent actual pornbots and such) and i went to “twitter jail” twice. but the force of what people wanted to share was unstoppable. i think i probably got more than 2k responses to the question. i only wish that i could have shared every single response, because the story it’s all telling is huge. deep. painful. crazy.”
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.