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Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
At 77, Barbara Turner takes a slew of medications: for high cholesterol, acid reflux, diuretics. A Kaiser member, she is able to get most of them with a reasonably low co-pay. But only because they are generic drugs. The problem comes with brand-name medications. Kaiser is no help there; there is no cap on how much patients pay for these...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Dr. Paul Smith has seen the health care delivery system from the points of view of a physician, a patient and a scholar. He also knows how health care works on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, and he is tired of hearing the Canadian side being maligned by voices in the U.S. That's especially true in regards to prescription drugs, which the...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Terelle Terry has a different moniker for the "RX Express" - she calls it the "Overground Railroad." The appellation, borrowed from the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape to Canada before the Civil War, fits Terelle's persona: It incorporates both her knowledge of history and her activist inclinations. Terelle, 70,...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Jean Scott knows how to be frugal. She has been forced to learn. At 76, the retired Portland counselor receives a monthly Social Security check for $755, and she just recently learned she will get $1,000 a month NET from Oregon's Public Employees Retirement System. After necessary expenditures, there's not much left. She has taken in boarders to...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Sonja Clarke describes herself and her husband Bill as "old school." They worked hard, raised a family, and lived life according to the rules. They budgeted and saved, and planned things out very carefully. They never expected that, as they entered their golden years, they would have to sell their home in order to pay for health care Yet...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Franny Grippen is not trying to make a statement about health care in general by climbing aboard the RX express. She just wants to save a little bit of money on four prescription drugs that simply cost too much in the United States. Franny, 84, has been in Portland for four years. She lived most of her life in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she worked for...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Most casualties of the health insurance industry's excesses see their victimhood from one point of view: that of the health insurance consumer. But Leigh Williford has a leg up on them. Like them, Leigh and her husband have fallen prey to the rising costs that befall other consumers. But she also works in a doctor's office and sees the "...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
For the past three years, ever since they took the first elephant-sized hit on their premium, Ceci Ellis and her husband have been slogging though the health care jungles, swinging a figurative machete at the various vines health insurers have strewn across their path. It hasn't been easy, and they have not reached a clearing yet. They have had to...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Kim and Kerry Olson have had a downhill paddle through the swamps and sloughs of the American health care system since Kim got seriously ill seven years ago. They are surviving, barely, because they have learned to navigate the system, at least on its surface. But they are one bad break away from living on the street. They think it's time for a...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Richard Rowell, who spent a lifetime with his nose to the grindstone, figured that as a guy got older he ought to be able to kick back a bit and enjoy the fruits of his labors, including the financial fruits. But Kaiser Permanente has reached into Rowell's fiscal orchard and has been plucking some of Rowell's harvest. Finally, this year, Rowell is...