My name is Keith Hogan and I am 43 years old. I was born with a genetic disease known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2. Additionally, I have severe scoliosis and respiratory problems. I have lived with these conditions my entire life and I’ve never been able to walk. Over time, I have lost the ability to use my arms. I was raised in a politically and socially conservative family. My parents and grandparents raised me to believe I could do or accomplish anything. I was blessed to be born into a loving family that was financially capable of covering my medical expenses that were not covered by private insurance. I graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in December 1989. I began my career as a banker shortly thereafter which continued until February 2005 when my bank was acquired by Prosperity Bank and my position was eliminated.
I looked for gainful employment for a year, but I was unable to find suitable employment and I believe the reason for that is that my health condition made health insurance unacceptably costly for private corporations. I continued on COBRA, but that eventually ran out and I was forced to buy into the Texas High Risk Health Insurance Pool. Not being one to sit around, I began a new career investing in and developing real estate. I eventually became eligible for disability payments through the Social Security Administration and in January 2008 I was able to be put on Medicare.
On February 18, 2008 I was hospitalized due to pneumonia and chronic respiratory failure. Within a week of being admitted, I had an emergency intubation, received a tracheotomy and was put on a ventilator. I had several episodes that brought me close to death. While in the hospital, I received some excellent care from many experienced and caring medical professionals. I also received some substandard medical care administered by some incompetent medical professionals that I believe were overworked and demoralized. I was finally released from the hospital to move back home on May 27, 2008. Since that time I have continued to recuperate but the medical expenses not covered by Medicare and the extended coverage I purchased through Humana are outstripping my financial capacity to pay for the level of care I need. I find myself in a large and growing group of people who have too much money or assets to qualify for the benefits they need, but not enough personal financial resources to pay for the care they need.
I have come to understand how absolutely flawed the entire healthcare industry in the United States has become. I believe that ineptitude, greed and systemic corruption brought us to this state. America can and must do better. This is not just a healthcare issue. For people with disabilities, it is a matter of human rights.
The unarticulated public policy of impoverishing people with disabilities, who might otherwise be a productive part of society, must be abolished. Many people believe that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) levels the playing field. The ADA was flawed from the start, borne of compromise and tried to impose a one-size-fits-all solution for the tremendously diverse group of people with disabilities. To make matters worse, since the ADA was passed, judicial decisions have weakened it to the point of it becoming irrelevant.
At the present time many potentially productive members of society are being warehoused in nursing homes which are funded by Federal dollars, little of which is spent on quality patient care. This can be changed by the Community Choice Act which is based on the concept that the funding follows the patient, thereby empowering the individual. We are in an election year and have two Presidential candidates who have come down on opposite sides of this issue. Senator Barack Obama is for the Community Choice Act; Senator John McCain is against it.
If you want to know more about me, please do not hesitate to contact me.