One of the worst abuses of the private insurance industry is its practice of excluding people with certain pre-existing conditions from coverage, effectively denying them the right to get adequate health care coverage because covering them is not profitable enough.
45-year-old mother and divorcee Terri Carlson knows what life is like with a pre-existing condition. She has a rare genetic disease called C4 Complement Deficiency, that involves the immune system having “inadequate levels of complement proteins,” which leaves the body more prone to infections. “[It] makes me unable to process bacteria and viruses efficiently and my body attacks itself. It’s very similar to lupus,” Carlson explained to the press.
Because she recently divorced, she has “one year left under COBRA health coverage, but after that she will have nothing to pay for numerous doctors appointments and dozens of medications.” Due to the fact that Complement Deficiency is considered a pre-existing condition by many health insurance companies, Carlson has been unable to find anyone willing to cover her following the expiration of her COBRA coverage. “I’ve looked, I’ve searched, there is absolutely no stone that I’ve left unturned. And there are no other options for me,” she told a reporter.
After fruitlessly searching for months for a way to get health coverage, Carlson decided that she had only one way to get affordable coverage: She would get married. She has set up a website called WillMarryForHealthInsurance.com and is offering to marry someone whose health insurance will cover her as well. “You know, I am not happy I was delt this deck of cards in my life. However, if I don’t fight for myself nobody will. While the goverment fights over healthcare reform people like me suffer … as drastic as it sounds, I will marry for health insurance,” she writes on the site.
CBS News interviewed Carlson today. She told the news network that she can’t afford to care what her future husband looks like — “The lower the co-pay, the sexier you are to me!” Watch it:
Carlson told CBS that some people have accused her of being part of a left-wing conspiracy by using her case to illustrate the need for health reform, but that she doesn’t mind the charge: “I’m just like every other middle American that’s suffering with a pre-existing condition and caught in the middle. And if that makes me the poster child for President Obama, I’m happy to do it.”
It is worth noting that the United States is the only developed country without a universal, cradle-to-the-grave health care system. In no other developed country would a woman feel like she was forced to marry someone, even if she didn’t love them, just to be able to get decent health care coverage.