Friday, September 25, 2009

We Need a Public Option. PERIOD.

photo: Kimberly Young

As reported in today's Dayton Daily News, 22-yr old December 2008 Miami University (Ohio) graduate Kimerly Young died of viral pneumonia on Wednesday.

The Wayne, Ohio, native was still living off campus in Oxford (OH) after graduating in 2008 because she wasn’t able to find the right job. Dr. Jeanne Hey, director of international studies at Miami and mentor to Kimberly, said this past summer, Kimberly was debating pursuing a graduate degree or working for a nonprofit organization.

“She had an incredible commitment to social justice,” Hey said. “She was a person with a huge heart and a very free spirit as well. She really cared about people here and around the world.”

Kimberly traveled twice to Latin America to explore human rights issues, and helped organize the spring break trips as part of the Students for Peace and Justice, said Walt Vanderbush, club adviser and professor of political science and Latin American studies.


Her friends say that she suffered symptoms for several days but since she was working two jobs (4 years at Kofenya coffee shop, and nearly 3 years at Bagel & Deli near campus) but did not have health insurance, she took nothing more than fever reducers to combat her illness.

Brent Mowery, her friend and former roommate, said Kimberly eventually went to an urgent care facility in Hamilton where she was given pain medication and then sent home.

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, her condition suddenly worsened and her roommate drove her to McCullough Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford, where she was flown in critical condition to University Hospital in Cincinnati.

“That’s the most tragic part about it. If she had insurance, she would have gone to the doctor,” Mowery said.


Steve Cupp, the owner of Vertigo tattoo parlor that's located next door to the bagel shop where Kimberly worked, echoed what others have said, that Kimberly was reluctant to get care because she didn’t have insurance. He said her death has raised the alert level among students who come into his shop.

“I tell them, if you start feeling like you have (flu-like) symptoms, go get help. Call mom,” Cupp said.

Or ... we could have a public insurance option ...

ThinkProgress published a follow-up piece on this today, with this bit of info:

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 30 percent of 19-24 year olds are uninsured, more than any other group. Despite the conservative argument that young people are voluntarily refusing health coverage in favor of extra spending money, the reality is that high costs on the individual market put coverage out of reach. As Suzy Khimm notes at Campus Progress, young people “are far more likely to be working part-time or lower-paying jobs for employers who don’t offer coverage.”

In its 2008 study, the Commonwealth Fund found that 66 percent of young adults aged 19 to 29 who experienced a time without coverage in the past year said they had gone without it because of the cost.

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