Stephanie’s Healthcare Story

Stephanie Nakajima, our Director of Communications, tells her healthcare story:

Please tell us your story here!


  1. David Rimanich on April 20, 2016 at 1:01 am

    This would be the best thing to happen in the US,by providing health care security for all will be great if it doesnot restrict your access to medical care that we are told occurs in Canada. By taking health care away from employers furnishing it should provide more protection from adverse work condition, like job loss.

    • Stephanie on April 21, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      So right, David! There are many good reasons for single payer, and avoiding the double-whammy of losing your job and your insurance at the same time is definitely a big one.

      • Lizzie on June 1, 2016 at 1:20 pm

        It’s ironic that we rarely if ever hear about how many people lost their jobs due to the ACA. My husband lost his job due to the ACA. It was a nightmare and although they told him this is why they fired him, he could not prove they said that when it came time to collect unemployment. In fact, even though the company told him to file unemployment, they lied and told the state that he was fired for disciplinary action and so, he received nothing. He had been with the international company for over ten years and was a loyal employee that always received bonuses, annual raises and more accolades but they refused to pay for his insurance or unemployment because he was considered part time ( only worked 35 hours a week). All the ‘ part-timers’ in America lost their jobs with this same company.

  2. Pat Salomon, MD on April 20, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Stephanie’s video addresses for me one of the worst characteristics of the way we finance health care. We punish the sick – They are not only sick but they are swimming in debt. Even though we almost all will inevitably need intense and expensive health care at some moments in our lives, we have a system that collects only when we most need the care. Single payer assumes that all of us will some day need care, but most of us will for most of our lives be just fine. So under single-payer, we prospectively share the cost burden by paying small amounts into a single financing system, and ask the health care providers to care for us whenever we need it, aand at what ever cost. Because we are all in the same payment system, it’s costs at any moment can easily be met. All in, is what makes the cost so manageable. It also makes planning possible, does not encouage harmful over-care, and readily generates the data to see what really works.

    • Stephanie on April 21, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Thank you Pat for your response. I totally agree – we’re punished once by being sick, and again FOR being sick.
      And good points about the wisdom in sharing costs, and how single payer enables better planning and research, and prevention of overtreatment.

  3. Bob Mason on April 24, 2016 at 11:11 am

    A life threatening struggle is stressful enough without adding the financial worries that accompany this in our country even when people have theoretically good health insurance and other employee benefits. There is also lots of research indicating that stress complicates recovery. Single Payer would greatly reduce the stress. By the way, it is a myth that the Canadian system has significant access to care issues. People can check out “Fix It: Healthcare At the Tipping Point” for additional information.

    Bob Mason
    Health Care 4 All PA

    • Stephanie on April 27, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your comment. Very true – stress does complicate recovery, and this was a key issue in Ben’s healthcare story too. The healthcare system should be focused on healing people, and when profit is involved, that mission is compromised. Single payer is the only humane way.

  4. Lizzie on June 1, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Greetings Everyone. I wanted to share with you about my recent health care crisis. First of all, I do not have any health insurance by choice. I have very valid reasons for making that choice but simply put, I go to doctors to get well and health insurance thwarts wellness.

    Ok, here’s my story:
    On May 3, I was admitted to the ER at a non-profit hospital for high temp, severe headache and some other serious symptoms- I was going into shock. I knew I didn’t have the flu and that something serious was happening to me. I had been having mild symptoms for months prior to this visit but over-looked them since they didn’t seem serious. My husband took me inside the ER in a wheelchair and we approached the intake desk and I told them that I didn’t have insurance. I dreaded having to wait for care because I was so ill and couldn’t hold myself up in the chair. BUT, guess what? No sooner than I checked-in ( which took all of 3 minutes), a nurse approached me and said, ” Hello, I will be your nurse” and he took me right back to the ER, put me in my room and began fluids, vitals, etc.. I was shocked! No waiting? What about all those other patients in the waiting room? I asked him and he said that since I didn’t have insurance, I didn’t have to wait for approvals or additional paperwork. During my visit a very nice woman came in my room and explained to us that because we don’t have insurance, we would receive a significant discount and assistance in paying. I thought, ‘ Yeah, right, sure, whateva!’ but I was too sick to care at that point.
    I was in the ER for about 8 hours, very thoroughly and quickly treated by a wonderful Physician Assistant, staff and then the ER doctor who, thankfully ( and I am truly blessed) was also a Lyme specialist. I have late stage Lyme disease and I’m very ill. But, that’s not why I’m writing here today.
    Here’s the breakdown of the total of 3 bills that I have received:
    Laboratory: 350.00
    Emergency Medical charge: 1200.00
    Hospital ERlabs/CT Scan,medications, etc… 1517.00

    Those are the totals AFTER the 4500 dollar discount they gave me for not having insurance.
    So, my total without the insurance is 3,067.00 and I will make payments each month (abt 300.00) until I pay it off which shouldn’t take much longer than a year.
    Had I had insurance, my bills would have amounted to 7,567.00 AND because I would have had a high deductible plan like the Bronze (at least 6500.00) I would be responsible for paying 100 percent of the ‘negotiated’ rate as well as my monthly premium since the bronze plan does not cover ER visits. The lady who told us about the discounted rates even told us that insured patients don’t benefit like we would. IF I had the Silver plan, I would have paid 250.00 AFTER the deductible was met but would have been responsible for a very expensive monthly premium that would have amounted to much more than 3,000 dollars per year ( more than 250.00/month).
    I don’t understand President Obama’s intention with the ACA. It becomes more clear to me every day that his intention was for every American to buy and pay for coverage but not get affordable care. In my recent experience, I not only received exceptional care from my doctors but overall, it was pretty affordable considering all they did for me.
    I also want to point out that I had absolutely no stress about administrative stuff, my doctors were not wasting precious time calling my insurance company and I am still not stressed about paying my bill. In fact, my ER doctor was on the phone with other Lyme specialists across the country AND in Germany! Yes, it’s a large amount of money on my meager income but since I have no monthly premium to pay in addition to my bills, I know I can afford this. After all, I would have to afford even more if I had the insurance!!
    I should also note that insurance doesn’t cover any Lyme treatment other than antibiotics ( My costs were 35.00 at Walgreens or 4.00 at Walmart- I chose the latter) and it won’t cover any true preventive care. My board certified doctor runs a preventive care clinic and doesn’t accept insurance because they won’t cover anything he does anyway. I saw him last week and he spent 3 hours with me and charged me 150.00 which I paid at the time of service.
    Let’s all pray for a miracle that Sanders gets elected because what is being forced upon us is not in any way ethical or humane.