Gus’ Story

The Insurance Company Pulled The Plug On Gus

This blog is in direct response to the lies and fear Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is spreading about health care reform. Please watch the video here:

I am an Iowa native and the mother of two children, Sophia, age six, and Gus, age four. And I know what it’s like to have the plug pulled on my young son — by the insurance companies!

A Real Kid With Really Scary Health Problems
Forget about the grandma theory, Grassley. My Gus has suffered from a very rare and chronic problem with recurrent croup and stridor that is caused in part by asthma, acid reflux, trachea malasia and an additional possible ailment that has not yet been diagnosed. While Gus has always had problems with this and has been on medication (steroids, inhalers, nebulizers, allergy meds, acid controllers) his condition worsened a year and a half ago.

Gus struggled with a chronic croupy cough and serious stridor for literally months on end. He had two diagnostic surgeries performed at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. While the surgeries revealed some of the conditions, there was no answer as to how to prevent the croup — and it seemed to get worse. The only effective treatment to keep Gus’ throat open and him breathing well was a potent steroid called dexamethasone. Unfortunately, Gus took so much dexamethasone that he started having awful side effects and his doctor warned us that we could not keep giving him the drug on such a frequent basis, even though nothing else seemed to help.

Having exhausted our resources at the UIHC, our pediatrician gave us a referral to the Mayo Clinic’s Pediatric Diagnostic and Referral Clinic for patients who have not found answers for health conditions at other medical center. We set up our appointment and were lucky to get in within just three weeks!

When Money Is The Motive
Then, just a day later, we got the call. It was from our insurance company, an HMO. The referral to the Mayo Clinic, just a few hours drive away to Rochester, Minnesota, was denied. It was determined that the type of care Gus needed could be obtained in-state. What was really determined, as we all know, was that the Mayo Clinic was simply too expensive. The Iowa insurance company pulled the plug on Gus.

A Lucky Break, Many Are Not So Lucky
Thankfully, we were lucky. A few weeks later, we went back to a different doctor at UIHC who wanted to try increasing Gus’ daily doses of Prevacid. The treatment has been working, though we are always fearful that the problem will come back, and Gus is actually scheduled to have an endoscopy for further testing in October, 2009.

Pull The Plug On Fear
The bottom line? THE INSURANCE COMPANIES pull the plug on thousands of innocent children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandpas and yes grandmas every single day. It’s time to fight the fear that Senator Grassley and his friends (though they may be fewer and fewer) in the senate are spreading, only for the huge benefit of the insurance companies. Please tell Senator Grassley to pull the plug on fear.

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2 responses to “Gus’ Story

  1. Cristie Thuren

    Well done, Mariah. I am inspired by your activism. How often we are enraged enough to ponder taking action but rarely take the time to really do something about it. I’m writing to Grassley now thanks to you and Gus!
    peace

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