Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Time for the Big Guns: Keith's Letter to Oprah

With Oprah's new season starting, I thought we should do our part to kick it off well. So, naturally, we thought she should hear Keith's story. Please feel free to use this letter as a basis and let her know that you think it's a great story too!

You can send your message to Oprah HERE.


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. I also have severe scoliosis and respiratory problems. I have lived with these conditions my entire life & I've never been able to walk. Over time, I have lost the ability to use my arms. You can see more about me here:

On 2/18/08 I was hospitalized due to pneumonia & chronic respiratory failure. Within a week of being admitted, I had an emergency intubation, received a tracheotomy & was put on a ventilator. I had several episodes that brought me close to death. I was finally released from the hospital to move back home on 5/27/08. I have continued to recuperate but the medical expenses not covered by Medicare & 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 & 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.

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.

I have come to understand how absolutely flawed the entire healthcare industry in the United States has become. I believe that ineptitude, greed & systemic corruption brought us to this state. America can & must do better. The unarticulated public policy of impoverishing people with disabilities, who might otherwise be a productive part of society, must be abolished. This is not just a healthcare issue. For people with disabilities, it is a matter of human rights.

1 comment:

aunt yaya said...

This is a succinct and beautifully articulated piece. Thank you both, Ruth and Keith, for speaking out and helping to expose the corruption, greed, and general lack of caring that tragically define our so called "health care" system. Grace and Peace to you both. I deep gratitude, lisa, Clementine, Banjo, Gingersnap & the Forever FORD