A Day of Downtime for Dawn & Her Crew

Today we took some downtime. We’d spent the previous 2 days on the road moving at a pace that left even the healthier members of our crew wiped out, but today we recuperated in the great hospitality of Candice and Klaus, two MoveOn members in Raleigh, NC.

Reform has been debated against a background of artificial deadlines, every day the news cycle churns on with its daily crises‚ it’s hard for us to not feel rushed by the pace of politics. But today reminded us of what gets lost in the shuffle.

We have a health care system that not only lets people get sick, but also lets them become invisible. Some of us fighting for health care reform have the luxury of walking away from the issue after the workday ends or a bill gets passed, but the people who need change most — like Dawn — are still stuck with the day to day exhaustion of their illness.

It’s up to the well to make sure the unwell have a place at the table when we decide what should be done. That’s the ultimate importance of Dawn’s journey‚ making the voice of the ill present once more in the machinations of CIGNA’s corporate offices and the halls of Congress.

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19 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Marsha Sirkin
    October 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    You go, Dawn.

    I signed up for Cigna this year and can’t wait for open season to switch back to Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

    I had my first cerebral aneurym at 24, and have since had 5 more aneurysms and 2 more brain surgeries. If I wasn’t in the Federal system, I would not have had health care all my life. Nobody wants to insure an”aneurysm patient.” And I’d be dead. I’m 67. and I thank God for every day. Marsha

  2. Marsha Sirkin
    October 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    If it wasn’t FOR – not IN the federal system

  3. Sukhmandir Kaur
    October 11, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

    The real problem is our health care system itself is sick. and will continue to be as long as it remains for profit. What if instead of spending millions on lobbies to keep the profit margin happening insurance actually used that money to pay for patients health care.

  4. Rachel
    October 11, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    Dawn – you are doing something AMAZING! THANK YOU!!! I’m totally rooting for you!

    As a person who has battled cancer twice, I am always amazed that no matter which insurance company I’m paying premiums to, there is always a point when they will deny coverage for something that is supposed to be covered! There is always something I’ve had to fight with them about. Eventually (usually with the threat of legal action), they come around and pay for it, but sometimes it seems like they have a quota of “denial” letters they must send each month. I always think about the people who don’t have the strength or time and energy to fight them, and how they end up going without treatment or going broke paying for it. Its time for this broken system to get fixed!

  5. Rocky Macy
    October 11, 2009 at 5:55 pm #


    You are waging the good fight for all of us. Thank you for your courage and persistence. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

    Rocky Macy
    Litchfield Park, AZ

  6. Richard W. Firth
    October 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    Dawn is truly pro-life in her efforts to stop the death of thousands of Americans because of the greed and health for profit motivation of the entire health care industry. I cannot understand the attitude of other pro-lifers who want the system to remain the same while thousands continue to die. Those thousands that die are just as precious in God’s sight as the poor unborn human babies continually aborted and elderly that die as well.

    We must get health care for profit attitude changed to affordable health care for.

  7. Richard W. Firth
    October 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    Dawn is just as much pro-life as any who are on the right. I cannot understand their opposition to Medicare for all which I have which is saving me money and making it possible for me to afford health care. I must ask the right wing group pro lifers are not the lives of the 45,000 who die because they can’t afford health care just as precious in God’s sight as the poor unborn human babies killed by abortion.

    It is time to take health care for profit and turn it into affordable Medicare for all.

  8. dave
    October 11, 2009 at 6:38 pm #

    Thanks for being a public face for the rest of us.H1N1 just hit our household picking the one with no health insurance for the worst case. Keep up the good work. your story brings the effects home to all who hear it.

  9. Shirley Bryan
    October 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

    Thank you, Dawn for having the courage to take a stand. I have made business cards which I am leaving on the windshields of cars in parking lots & garages everywhere, including churches & hospitals. On the front of the card: “SOMEONE DIED TODAY BECAUSE YOU & I DID NOTHING.” On the back: “Everyone will have health care when EVERYONE demands it.” Then I listed our two senators and their phone numbers. Don’t know if it will help but perhaps it will hit a nerve or two.

  10. Susan Daley
    October 11, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    God Bless you Dawn! There are so many of us out there that are disabled and looking at all sorts of problems in the future. I hope someone will email me and let me know how I can get more involved from California. I want to help. Because of the nerves in my feet being crushed, and an unsuccessful surgery, getting out and about doesn’t happen to often. If someone would email me with any other help that you need from a distance, I’d love to give my support.
    Keep up the good work Donna! How are you feeling?

  11. Susan Daley
    October 11, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    I apologize for the name error above. My good friend Donna in Atlanta has been on my mind, she too has lots of problems that she deals with as a single women, disabled, but a go-getter when it comes to getting out the word for this cause. I sometimes have problems with my thought process, so errors will pop up from time to time. Again, we’re all so grateful to you!
    Thankyou Dawn for all the wonderful work you’re doing!!
    Thanks to your Mom too…Mine just passed, she was 94.

  12. Dee
    October 11, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    Thanks to Dawn and the rest on this tour.

    It’s time Congress and the public understands this isn’t “just” a money thing – since so many keep talking about “the cost” in terms of dollars and cents. It’s not just the money. It’s about the people marginalized, forced into avoidable disability and even avoidable deaths because our system is much more effective at delaying and denying care in the name of “cost savings” and “maximizing profits” than it is in delivering care. Even the “safety net” doesn’t work. Fall out of the insurance vultures and need care and you’re as likely to find traps like needing insurance to access public health as you are to get care with public health – or to find that the care is worse than going without care.

    Personally, I’m 40 now. Since going off of my parents’ insurance after college I’ve had several insurance companies and plans. But the outcome was always the same as what Dawn is experiencing – find an excuse, any excuse, to delay or deny care…policy be damned unless they or their provider complains. Once it got so bad with one insurance company that a physical therapist threatened to report the insurance company to the state for practicing medicine without a license because what they were willing to cover and what they, thus, wanted the PT to provide was so drastically different from what my doc had prescribed. Ultimately, I now sit on SSDI because I reached a point where I needed care NOW at a place where care required insurance (which meant getting declared disabled to get Medicaid) and once I’d been on SSDI long enough to get Medicare, it’s slowly turned out that all the symptoms that all those insurance companies blew off as “nothing” or as stuff like “IBS due to stress and depression” have all been major conditions that SHOULD have been tested for, diagnosed and treated 10 or more years ago – not now. That these conditions are only being treated now has caused a long list of complications. The insurance companies failed to allow treatment for migraines, ocular/optical migraines, what appears to be a seizure disorder, proper (and more importantly proper ONGOING) treatment of PTSD, verification of my GI illness (which turned out to be GERD, lactose intolerance and gastroparesis – I don’t even have IBS), Raynaud’s Syndrome, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and a tangled mess of back and hip problems. The only treatment for any of that allowed by my average insurance was to see my PCP for diet advice and an antidepressant – like that would help. Well it did treat the dysthymia that goes along with the PTSD but exacerbated a host of other problems.

    Besides, the message in a pill bottle has it right: health care IS a human right. We’re the only “western” nation that doesn’t recognize and treat it as such. We’re also the only such nation that hasn’t signed the UN Declaration of Human rights that declared it to be a human right. And as long as we (well our leaders) continue to work on insurance reform as the health care reform – we’ll never get to health care as a human right. Why? Because the insurance companies and other for-profit vultures will remain as impediments to access to proper and timely care.

  13. Elaine Hansen
    October 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    To Dawn and all others who are uninsured or denied health care,

    At 72, over many years, I, personally have not had any trouble with CIGNA paying for my health care bills. BUT, of late, they have not been paying them on time so I end up paying some of the doctor’s bill. I wonder will I ever get that money back from the doctor’s office after CIGNA pays, if they ever do? When I called CIGNA, they told me they are SIX to EIGHT MONTHS BEHIND in paying claims.

    My little story is nothing compared to what thousands of others have to endure: pain, sickness, needless stress and denials from CIGNA and other insurance companies. These big companies have way too much power in Washington, D.C. Once we had a government that was FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE. Now votes are purchased by BIG MONEY.

    My heart goes out to all of you. It is certainly time that health care is given to all who need it, because that is the right and moral thing to do. The government and the insurance companies must start doing what they promise to do instead of
    scheming for huge profits.

    Dawn, good luck to you and those who have joined you in this fight. If I could help you in some way, please let me know. May God bless and aid you on this journey.

    Peace and grace to all of you.

  14. Mart
    October 11, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    Dawn, thank you for being so brave. I am a caregiver and see everyday the need for quality health care for everyone and competition for health insurance companies like CIGNA. If it was not for people like you putting out the efforts publically to stand up to health insurance companies, the politicians in congress would not recognize the backing from all of us to vote for the reform and public option that will give insurance companies competition. Good luck on your personal healing process.

  15. shabina
    October 11, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    Dawn,you are quite brave. You are setting a good example for many who suffer because of for profit health insurance industry. Wish you all the luck. Get well and continue to stand for- what you believe in.

  16. Gladys T. Lee
    October 11, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    The power of the people is behind you! You have our attention and support! You also have the attention of CIGNA, the insurance conglomerate! We shall be watching and listening to see and hear from our Senior Senator from Georgia, Johnny Isakson and how he becomes a driving force to help solve this health crisis! Dawn Smith and millions of Americans cannot afford to wait! VOTE YES HEALTH CARE REFORM NOW WITH THE PUBLIC OPTION! Remember, whose YOU are!!! IT SHALL BE DONE!!!

  17. Kenneth Cabral
    October 12, 2009 at 6:49 pm #

    I admire your courage and hope that you get to meet with CIGNA management, althought I suspect that they just may not be available or they’ll send a low level representative to meet with you. I don’t trust health insurance companies. Our only true hope is for a public option (I prefer a single payer system but that is unlikely to occur, so I settle for the public option). I wish you the best and regardless of the outcome you have already left your mark.
    Good Luck,

  18. Luciano G. Gayton
    October 16, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    I Have not heard the truth from my government.

    Health is important. Pollution is our first concern. Predatory government, military, commerce (health), and religions world wide(including USA, regrettable) is the second concern. Of course we need separation of church and state. More importantly is separation of commerce and state. That way you would not have police killing demonstrators fighting injustices. Again what are police for? When two groups plot against the public at large, it is a glaring conspiracy. This vet skilled in mechanics and electronics can not find a job training the robots to work without people. I was the first to go, about three thousand followed.

    Now with broken hands there is no medical.

  19. mary
    October 16, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

    That Dawn is Fighting and Displaying thru these website updates what she is going thru has been taken up by MOV ON. ORG and publicized…. great idea to let us all know what WE TOO CAN DO and get publicity, support, sympathy, and maybe even unity.

    The making visual and being seen by more than any business, ins. co. or other, provides a little power of being able to SHAME or EXPOSE by name and number and personnel the workings of these for-profit-mostly Businesses. For that is what they are and intend…to do business, make some good salaries, provide whatever they sell [services or intermediary agreements between medical help and patients], and the illusion of safety…maybe…in the future….maybe.

    To have to FIGHT to receive what services we pay for is most common and is not a new way of doing business. KAISER PERMANENTE
    in California, a non-profit [that can spend the rest of the money that is “not profit” instead on any and all aspects of growing itself into a gigantic corporation = with ever fancier offices, for well paid staff and MDs, and advertising and even statistical research studies too and more… ]

    After 40 years of being and paying as a member, I most often have had to FIGHT, be assertive, argue and insist on moving past the unlabeled but effective GATEKEEPERS that are intended to prevent the use of further [also paid for] services. To have a GP physician act as the stop person can mean that if one is not strong or able to argue and shout and do whatever is necessary to move them to the side, a specialist is very very difficult to get to. So there is probably many more insurance companies like this, auto insurances as well, homeowners insurances also, and others.

    They present one face to sell the policy with fancy pamphlets, ads, promises and sales jobs and then if you are meek or weak and do not insist on the services everyone obviously sees you NEED [not just want for reassurance or paranoias either ], they do everything not to spend their precious paid premium dollars on you….because they need them to make more fancy sales lures.

    That the internet use has made visible more of each individual in trouble with any BIG BUSINESS and the ability to provide some measure of TRANSPARENCY to their actual business practices makes for a different day. Hooray for th is.

    Dawn’s case is not exemplary or special. This is not a more needy case or a more deserving medical problem. Many have more serious but less media-savy access and dont have Mov On.’s email listings to be seen and responded to, in a perfect time for political messaging about health care in general.

    Good for you Dawn, to have arrived on the scene at this particular time and do such an effective job of being shown about and talked about and responded to by all these commentators too.

    Your effectiveness will help others as well, and sets a grand example that ANYONE ELSE CAN ALSO FOLLOW AND DO, and hope to be picked up by some gigantic email lister who has their own political agenda in which to fit in also. Hopefully.

    Keep doing this. It is a reminder to all the rest who read this that none of us is alone anymore, because of the INTERNET access and exposure instantaneously and dramatically.

    Thanks for setting up this site as a good example for others.

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