March 7th, 2009
02:39 PM ET
5 years ago

King: In tough times, health care considered a luxury

Doug Pegram, of North Carolina, is just one of many unemployed Americans struggling to pay his medical bills.
Doug Pegram, of North Carolina, is just one of many unemployed Americans struggling to pay his medical bills.

On CNN's "State of the Union," host and chief national correspondent John King goes outside the Beltway to report on the issues affecting communities across the country. This week, King traveled to North Carolina to look at the financial crisis' impact on health care.

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (CNN) - For Doug Pegram, it is on the one hand simple math: His medical bills cost roughly $300 a month and a health insurance policy would cost $550.

Programming Note: Watch "State of the Union" with John King, Sunday at 9 a.m. ET

"Two or three hundred dollars goes a long way," Pegram said. Especially when you are living on unemployment benefits.

Simple math, and a huge gamble: Pegram has a rare disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, that in some patients can be life-threatening.

"If anything happens, that's another story," Pegram told us. "But you have to do what you have to do sometimes, and you just hope for the best. And do it."

Life on the edge started in November, when Pegram lost his job at Hanesbrands Inc., the clothing manufacturer where he had worked for three years. Ironically, Pegram's job as a senior analyst included writing reports for Hanes management on sales and economic trends.

"Every couple months, it [layoffs] went through the company and a few people here and there and it got worse and worse," he said. "I knew it was in the future somewhere."

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Filed under: State of the Union
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    The FIRST thing President Obama needs to do is take away ALL Federal employees' luxury PRIVATE health insurance and put them (and everybody else, ESPECIALLY CONGRESS) on MediCare.

    March 7, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. Cheney

    So?ask me if I care.

    March 7, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Those who can take health care for granted (Congress, with their socialistic government entitlement health care, those wealth enough to afford it and those with a secure job) should realize that too many Americans are just one illness away for disaster.

    But its easier to quote Rush & Faux News by yelling "socialism" than to fix the problems.

    I'm not sure if I hope those who have health care but don't want others to have it continue in good health ... or walk a year in someone else's shoes ... like Doug.

    Mrs. Bush didn't have to worry about who would pay for her operation. She just had the procedure done when it was needed.

    March 7, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. health care reform

    The Real Brutal Truth about Health care... 90% of the cost of health care is consumed by those in their last 6 months of life... 45% of the cheapest group to insure 18-28 do not have health care...3rd brutal truth.. the government is incompetent and would screw up health care even more than it is... What we really need is a different look at healthcare.. why do we pay so much for the current system... why cant a nurse with 20+ years experience apprentice into being a doctor... why cant patents on medication only last 5 years? Why doe sent the government setup a plan b, not using the private sector but instead setup free clinic and hospitals with minimum support... Write your congressman we need real change.. NOT BIG GOVERNMENT.. we got rid of big government in the 50s ... it fails...

    March 7, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  5. JOHNMCCAIN

    All who rant about socialism should take a look at themself. Universal health care should be a right in a developed world if we consider ourselves being part of it. All, again, all Western countries have it and can afford it. We are blinded by the propaganda machine that says that it is against capitalism. Wake up, it shows nothing but the ignorance of our nation. All of us who have been traveling in these countries as well can state that their health care is not any less than here. No wait time more than here. It is here, though, where your HMO will tell you which dr you can see, and who is not covered. My daughter has been treated a couple of years ago in Zurich for a strep throat, wait time was 10 minutes, the dr spoke excellent English, and that was it. We did have to pay about 300 Fr (then $250.00) but only because we were not Swiss citizens. The same care was free for the Swiss. I am reflecting on the CARE part, not the payment part here for those who say that the universal care system would result less service. Not thrue at all. Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, etc. are prime example for great care. Also, prevention. Here you have to be at certain age to be "qualified" for special preventive processes. You may do it on your own, true, will cost you thousands (full body scan for vascular check up, digital colon scan etc...)
    Ignorant people, please don't shout so loudly because it will only show your dumbness.

    March 7, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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