A friend of mine and a dedicated netroots activist, Martin Bosworth, passed away suddenly.
Martin was the Managing Editor and a regular writer over at ConsumerAffairs.com. He wrote a personal blog over at Boztopia.com. And when I asked him to, he shared his deeply personal struggle with his health insurance company over here at The Seminal. Here’s an excerpt from that piece:
I’ve been beating the drum for public health care for a little while now–not as loudly as I should have, but definitely it’s been on my radar. After what my mom went through last year with not one, but two heart surgeries due to an “experimental” procedure-cum-clusterfuck, and all the horror stories my sister’s told me about being a freelancer while raising a son and trying to take care of one’s own health, the personal motives alone were enough for me to get involved.
But health insurance for myself isn’t easy to get. My company is profitable and pays me decently, but it’s tough to find a group insurer that will reliably cover a small business. Not enough profit in it unless you have a large number of employees. And private, self-insured plans like those offered by trade associations or professional groups are certainly worthy, but incredibly pricey and come with a list of things they don’t cover that’s as long as your arm.
Let me take a minute to explain my situation for those who don’t know me. I am what insurers and brokers would love to have as a customer–a guy who rarely sees the doctor, rarely gets sick, and is acutely interested in bettering his health. My biggest weakness is that I’m substantially overweight, but I certainly don’t need a doctor to tell me that. I’ve been working out like a demon and dieting strictly over the last six months, and though I still have a long way to go, I’ve lost 30 pounds and am healthier than I’ve been in years. Apart from that, I have low blood pressure, low cholesterol, no history of medical illness. (Hell, the last time I was in a hospital was in 2001 for an E.coli infection from drinking contaminated D.C. water.) I scrupulously consult medical information portals like WebMD for anything that might be a problem for me medically, and am generally that model of the “informed consumer” that the health insurance industry and its assorted sockpuppets like to trot out there as an alternative to real reform. But given that people can be turned down for coverage for the terrible crime of having allergies, I looked at myself as basically a recission waiting to happen.
Eventually, once I settled in to my new life here in L.A. I made a commitment to be healthier, and that included finding the right insurance plan for myself. But as luck or fate would have it, it was right in that black hole between insurance plans that I suddenly fell drastically ill.
Ensuring that health care reform isn’t just about providing coverage to the uninsured, but reforming the system to prevent excessive overbilling, medical errors, and other costly mistakes and bureaucratic snafus that only harm the patient and waste the provider’s time.
I have faith that my current issue will turn out okay. I’ve been through worse, after all. I think, in a philosophical sense, that I am going through this at this exact time in order to drive home how serious the need for better health care is. Listen to my story, share it, repeat it, and do everything you can to support real health care reform for all.
Like I said, being sick is scary enough. We don’t need to be afraid of getting well.
That positive attitude was Martin’s hallmark, and it served him well in his relentless advocacy for progressive causes.
Martin lived for a while in my apartment building in Washington, DC, and we would hang out and talk shop at a local watering hole every few months. He was a dedicated blogger and activist, and incredibly smart man, and way too young to die.
He will be missed.