I am a former resident of Pittsburgh and am writing to respond to a statistic frequently quoted in the media during our ongoing health-care reform debates. A 2006 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that most Americans were satisfied with their own personal medical care.
My teenage son was diagnosed at the age of 13 with a serious, chronic and incurable disease that will require extensive medical and pharmaceutical treatment for the rest of his life. The cause of his illness is unknown; preventive measures are unknown. This disease is not rare. Over 1 million Americans live with it, 10 percent of them under the age of 18. In fact, 10 percent to 20 percent of people with chronic illnesses in the United States are under 18.
I am very happy with my current health care and with my insurance coverage. My main worry is the future health care, and the future insurance coverage, available to my son and all the children like him when they reach adulthood -- diagnosed with incurable and unpreventable pre-existing conditions in a country that inexplicably ties health insurance coverage to employment status -- before they were old enough to work.
CATHERINE A. SMITH