Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Harriet the Hedgehog: Living the Dream!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Consider the following three individuals:

Alex is a four-month-old healthy baby boy who weighs 17 pounds. Aslin is a two-year-old little girl, also healthy, who weighs 22 pounds. Harriet is an adult hedgehog (weight unknown) who requires regular anti-psychotic medications. Which one of those three was able to get health insurance without a hassle? Obviously the correct answer is Harriet the hedgehog - this is America, after all!

Alex Lange was initially denied health insurance because the insurance company felt that he was obese. Alex's father is a well-known television personality in Colorado, and he and the family were able to stir enough media interest in the case that the insurance eventually backed down.

Aslin Bates, also of Colorado, was denied insurance because her parents' insurance company regarded her as underweight. So far her parents have been unsuccessful in trying to change the insurance company's attitude and policy regarding their daughter.

But Harriet the hedgehog, of Wisconsin, has health insurance, thank you very much! Of course, she was healthy when she got the policy and developed her psychotic behaviors later - but the fact remains that a hedgehog could get insurance in 21st century America, when that same benefit is not universally available to our children. Somehow, that just doesn't feel right!

(National Public Radio (NPR) told the story of Harriet this morning as a part of a longer piece that they were doing on the evolving industry of pet insurance.)

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