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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Her law came too late for her: Insured medical leaves of absence

Michelle Morse was a full-time student at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Michelle was found to have colon cancer in 203, and her doctor recommended she take a leave of absence for chemotherapy.

But if she took a leave, she would lose her insurance. She stayed in school while undergoing her treatments, and at the same time campaigned for a law to let students stay on their parents' health insurance while on medical leave from college. Congress passed the law last year, but it came too late for her: she died in 2005.

Would it have made a difference if Michelle had been able to take a leave and focus on treatment? "We'll never know," said her mother, AnneMarie Morse.

"It was horrible," AnneMarie said of her dealings with the insurance companies. When one executive told her indignantly that the company had already paid out a lot of money for Michelle, she responded, "I would give my life for you not to have to pay one cent for my daughter."

Michelle is a hero for using her anger at the insurance system to advocate a law that now protects people in her situation.

Advice: Get busy as a citizen, like Michelle, to push the reform of our screwy healthcare insurance system.

Read a story showing the need for reform of our payment system.

Thanks to Nicholas Kristof for the source article in the March 1 issue of the NY Times.

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