Home healthcare workers held rallies Thursday in six cities around the
state, urging people to "declare independence" from a healthcare system
that isn't working. They have a unique perspective on the problem,
working with seniors and people with disabilities, while at the same
time, facing risks to their own health insurance because of state
Heather Miller is a home-care worker who says many will have to drop
their insurance coverage if the state makes them pay more for it, and
she would welcome a more-affordable public insurance option.
"Private insurance doesn't work because, bottom line, it's there to
make a profit. It's not there for people's health. You can be for one
or for the other - you can't be for both."
Heather Miller, a Seattle home-care worker, had surgery for a brain
tumor 15 years ago. Her insurance costs continue to rise, and she says
she is sometimes tempted to skip a doctor visit to save money;
something 12 percent of Washingtonians say they now do.
"I've been lucky. Now, I'm getting semi-regular CAT scans, MRIs, EEGs.
I've got to keep a handle on things. I can't ignore it - however much I
might like to."
Home-care workers are the only group still bargaining with the state,
which wants to increase their premiums and co-pays. Miller points out
that most make $10 or $11 an hour and can barely afford the coverage
now. Overall, the average family health insurance premium has risen
more than 100 percent in Washington since 2000.
Rallies were held in Bremerton, Everett, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane and
Tacoma. Healthcare cost statistics are from the June 26 Health Care
Status Quo report released by U.S. Health & Human Service Sec.