We the People: Families react to health care ruling

Families share experiences with health care system
We the People: Families react to health care ruling

Following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold much of President Barack Obama’s health care law, the We the People Wisconsin Economy Project spoke to families across their state about the law’s effect and their personal experiences in the system.

In the backyard with his family recently, David Klarich said he was feeling pretty good, although that’s not the case every day.

“I’ve got these bad daily headaches, and I don’t go to the doctor because I can’t necessarily afford to,” Klarich said.

Three years ago, he had a spontaneous spinal fluid leak causing intense, debilitating headaches, and the crisis hit the family at an especially difficult time.

“We had just lost the house. We were staying with my parents and we had no money,” said Odessa Klarich, David’s wife. “He had to do more medical tests than we ever thought we’d have to do.”

Still saddled with bills, the event affects the family’s health care decisions to this day, and it has left them with mixed feelings on what people should have to do when it comes to medical decisions.

“I don’t see anything wrong with everybody having insurance,” said Odessa. “Everyone should be able to get health care at a reasonable price. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to tell someone that they have to buy it and buy it from this place.”

Families across the state in the We the People project are also sharing their thoughts.

Palmer Hoffland, 71, of Viroqua, is on Medicaid and volunteers with his county aging department. He said he questions whether the federal health care bill should apply to everyone.


“In other words, let’s not mess with the people who have insurance and it’s all taken care of and not been a problem,” said Hoffland. “Let’s come up with something different to help. If it is in fact 30 million (without insurance), it’s got to be cheaper to help 30 million than 350 million.”

In Little Suamico, the Nelsons said they’re frustrated with what they call an insurance system that’s too large and feel more personal responsibility should be factored into health care.

“I think preventative coverage is very important, the yearly physicals and all the preventive vaccinations,” said Cynthia Nelson. “But I think, at the same time, as parents you need to take your kids outside; you need to keep them active. What right do people have for health care if they’re not going to take care of themselves?”

In Oregon, David Klarich’s parents, Jim and Lauralyn, watch how he has to handle a serious health issue on low funds and said they believe the health care mandate could help drive down costs.

“I think everyone should have car insurance. I think everyone should have health insurance,” said Jim Klarich. “It’s all about being responsible.” 

To see reports from our other We the People partners across the state that include TV stations and newspapers, go to wtpeople.com

Editor’s Note: To show the realities of day-to-day life in the state while studying the proposed policies and solutions suggested by statewide political candidates, WISC-TV, in conjunction with other media partners, has begun a new series as part of the “We the People Wisconsin 2012 Economy Project.” Every month from now until the fall elections, the project will present stories from across the state of families who describe how they are coping with the challenging economy.