Health reform and one man's struggle

Health
Health

Health care reform means more than wonk talk to Jeremiah Hansen

Hansen, 28, has no health insurance. He worked for years as a waiter, but the restaurant didn't provide coverage, and he couldn't afford a policy on his own pay as a waiter.

Then, in 2007, Hansen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Every health insurer turned him down for coverage. His out-of-pocket costs for diabetes treatment, meanwhile, run into the thousands of dollars per year.

As health reform heats up in Washington, D.C., and across America, policy wonks and politicians are debating how to pay for an overhaul, and what role that government will play.

Beneath the rhetoric, though, lies a vital but often-overlooked feature of reform: Proposed legislation would prohibit health insurers from rejecting people who have pre-existing medical conditions, anything from cancer to rheumatoid arthritis.

People like Jeremiah Hansen.