Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Open Letter In Thanks to Keith Olbermann for His Special Comment on Health Care

Dear Keith Olbermann,

I feel deeply impressed to write to you and let you know how grateful I am for your program long special comment on health care. I have cried all evening thinking of your personal experiences of dealing with your father's illness and the pain of those left to suffer because of the failings of the current medical system. Being one of the latter, I am particularly moved by the passion of your care and concern for others and your willingness to put your resources to affecting real reform for the better.

I have lived my entire life with chronic clinical depression. Although I have been able to receive good care with medications and counseling I often am still left in a debilitated condition by it as neither my family or myself have been able to afford the time and money to monitor and treat my condition to the extent it sometimes requires. It has even been difficult when I was able to have medical coverage from my employer. The past two years have been especially difficult as my depression was severely exacerbated by the development of a hypothyroid condition. I was rendered so unable to function I had to withdraw from school, have been unable to work, and even ended up in the Emergency Room due to suicidal feelings. To add another mark against the current system, I waited in the ER for over four hours to speak to a Crisis Worker only to be turned away with no assistance as I was not yet actively engaged in harming myself or others and still being billed over five hundred dollars. Despite the severity of my condition I tried, unsuccessfully and with what felt like Herculean effort, to find work so I could take care of my needs. Having gone from full-time student to simply unemployed has left me only financially able to barely cover the most basic needs of my condition--or I should say left me dependent on the meager financial assistance my family has been able to provide me. Even the hypothyroid condition went undetected for over a year and a half. I have been lucky, somewhat, to receive assistance from some charitable and community programs. I am trying to receive Medicaid, but being a man with no dependents leaves me in a difficult position where I have spent nearly three months of paperwork trying to prove my condition is serious enough to warrant receiving any care.

Over the past months I have watch the coverage of the protests by "deathers" and other people who have abandoned reason and moral sensibility over the issue of health care reform. I have been dismayed at the lengths and levels the insurance industry lobbyists have gone over this issue. I am disturbed by the way many members of Congress have gone about opposing reform holding capitalism and corporate profits over the well being of American citizens. It may go without saying, the levels of deception, hysteria, and incivility in recent political rhetoric has left me despairing that I will have an opportunity for full proper care of my condition and realize my full potential as a contributing member of society, instead of just settling for basic treatment that only leaves me just on this side of the divide between sanity and self-destruction.

Again, thank you, Keith, for your work. Although what you often report on your show upsets me, your passion to see the world a better place for everyone, publicly call out the charlatans influencing our social systems, and speak truth to insanity gives me hope for the future.

Ryan Hollist

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