Meet The Uninsured Opponents of President Obama's proposed health care legislation have registered their opinions loud and clear at town hall meetings across the country. But what about those without health insurance who might be relying on this bill's passage? Three uninsured Americans explain how Congress' next move could change their lives.
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Meet The Uninsured

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Meet The Uninsured

Meet The Uninsured

Meet The Uninsured

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Opponents of President Obama's proposed health care legislation have registered their opinions loud and clear at town hall meetings across the country. But what about those without health insurance who might be relying on this bill's passage? Three uninsured Americans explain how Congress' next move could change their lives.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, host:

I'm Jennifer Ludden, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is back next week.

Coming up, two congressmen who've been uninsured reached different conclusions about a health care overhaul.

But first, as health care town hall meetings across the country have erupted in fights and protests, we've heard a lot from Americans who are insured and oppose the health care legislation.

But what about the uninsured? Some of TELL ME MORE's Facebook friends let us know how they cope without health insurance, and what they think about the current direction of the health policy overhaul.

Ms. LISA VANMETER-PERRY(ph): Hi, my name is Lisa VanMeter-Perry, and my husband and I have been uninsured for 14 years and that also include our sons who are 19 and 14 years old.

I had my first mammogram in five years. I had the traditional mammogram plus an ultrasound because I had a few cystic spots, and the total bill between the two procedures were $775. And because of that, you know, I won't go again for a while. I will not go back next year. I have mixed feelings on the health care bill. I want something that is affordable, obviously. I'm not sure if I want something that is completely mandatory. But I definitely would like to have access to solid health care. I believe every person deserves that as a right.

Ms. LASHONDA HOLLOWAY(ph): My name is Lashonda Holloway. I lost my job two weeks after I had a brain tumor removed. The injections I get monthly cost $2,000. How many injections will I be able to afford not being gainfully employed? Not very many. My COBRA coverage expires on September 30th. Well, it's not a perfect bill, no, but I think it's a step in the right direction.

For me, it will help me because with the preexisting condition, I'm hard pressed to find an insurance company that will accept me or an insurance company who has rates that are: A, affordable; B, portable; and C, cover the illness that I currently have.

Ms. TRACY KNIGHTON(ph): My name is Tracy Knighton. I work in a field where I am between jobs often. So, right now this day, I do not have coverage, and I'm about to purchase directly insurance that will start on the 16th of September. That insurance, I anticipate paying about $1,200 a month for.

It will be for me and my husband and four of our kids. I mean, one of the caveats for myself is that I have a son who has speech-auditory issues. A lot of time insurance companies doesn't cover that. I have a 14 year old who's an athlete. I'm holding my breath that nothing happens over the next couple of weeks until our insurance kicks back in. I have a 20 year old, who I have to make sure stays and becomes a full time student in college or else I can't even help him. You know, I have a daughter with peanut allergies. I'm hoping her EpiPen still works well.

So you got to know, I'm more than a little stressed out. I feel that this health care reform bill, it's more than a right, it's more than a privilege, it should be viewed as a simple way that you approach humanity. We are a brothers' keeper.

LUDDEN: Those were three uninsured Americans and Facebook friends of TELL ME MORE.

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