Our Health Care System in Action

From today's NY Daily News, another health care horror story. With a single payer public plan, this woman would not be dependent on an employer for the health care she needs. With a single payer public health plan, she would not be desperate to find another job to get the health care she needs. With a single payer public health plan, Ms Rollins would not be preparing to FILE BANKRUPTCY because of her health care bills. I'll say it again. This wealth care system we have is BARBARIC. Even if Ms Rollins is reinstated to her job, there's nothing to stop her former employer from changing to another, more expensive health plan that offers less coverage. The only way to clean up this mess is a SINGLE PAYER PUBLIC HEALTH PLAN that covers everyone. Here's Lydia Rollins horror story: (Unfortunately, it's not the only one)

BY Adam Lisberg

Wednesday, July 1st 2009, 4:00 AM

Lydia Rollins is suing city, saying she asked ACS for help and got fired.

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When Lydia Rollins found out she needed a new kidney, she said she asked her bosses at the city Administration for Children's Services for time to go to dialysis - even if it meant a pay cut.

Instead, she claims, they fired her. Now she's out of a job - and health insurance.

Even though her brother has offered to give her a kidney, she can't afford the surgery or expensive drugs she would need afterward.

"I believe they probably fired me because of my medical condition," said Rollins, 25, who is suing the city for a human rights violation. "A transplant offers me a better quality of life."

The city Law Department declined to comment on Rollins' case, or say why she was fired. Her termination letter doesn't give a reason, and the city's response to her lawsuit denies all her claims without explanation.

She said she has gone on job interviews, but her three-hour dialysis sessions three times a week have scared off potential employers.

"It's a Catch-22," said her lawyer, Robert Ottinger. "She got a job, and they fired her because she got sick.

"But she can't get better until she gets a job. Somebody's got to help."

Rollins started work as a child protective specialist in July 2007, a job that required her to visit families at their homes and testify in court.

She said she went to the hospital in November because of leg cramps - and soon was told her kidneys were failing and she needed a transplant.

"The best option for end-stage renal failure is a kidney transplant," said Madhu Bhaskaran, head of the transplant program at North Shore University Hospital-Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

"Their chance of reaching their average life span doubles if they get a transplant."

By the spring of 2008, Rollins said, she was too weak to do her regular duties.

She wrote her supervisors a letter citing the Americans with Disabilities Act, asking that they accommodate her illness by not requiring her to leave the office.

She attached a note from her doctor saying less-demanding work would be better for her health.

"Things started going bad when I gave them the doctor's note," Rollins said.

"I gave them that letter to open up a dialogue - almost to say, 'help me.' I wanted to continue doing my job. I just wanted a little help."

She said she was willing to transfer to a job that paid less, as long as she could keep her medical benefits.

"My main focus was just to keep my health insurance. That was vital. The paycheck was nice, but I really need the health insurance."

The following month, she said, she was hospitalized for two weeks when her entry point for dialysis treatment became infected.

When she came back to the office, she said, a secretary handed her a note saying she had been fired.

"I felt horrible," she said. "I was very upset. I felt like my world was crashing down around me."

Since being fired almost a year ago, Rollins said, she has racked up huge debts - including hospital bills - and is preparing to file for bankruptcy.

Although she has tried to get another job, her dialysis schedule makes it difficult.

For now, she wears a catheter, connected to her bloodstream, under her shirt - and pins her hopes on her lawsuit.

"If they give me a nice settlement," Rollins said, "I'd be able to pay for it."


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