What Light Can Porn Shed on the U.S. Healthcare Debte?

heathcare
News broke yesterday that Stephanie Swift has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Stephanie has been performing for almost 14 years and has no other forms of income. Because the cancer is so severe, she must endure a double mastectomy that she will be responsible for paying for out of pocket. A friend is collecting donations to help Stephanie keep from going bankrupt while dealing with cancer.

Not too long ago, fellow performer Nicki Hunter was diagnosed with and fought lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma, a complex form of cancer targeting the lymph system. In order to pay for the expensive treatments, a series of fundraising events were organized by friends and colleagues in the adult industry. It even appears that some of Nicki’s so-called friends may have been fraudulently raising funds and pocketing them instead of helping pay for her massively expensive cancer treatments.

A third actress, Tina Tyler, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Not wanting to have to beg for money for life-saving care, she is moving home to her native Canada for treatment because she is entitled to it as a citizen of that country.

I honestly don’t know whether any of these women were insured when they were given their diagnoses. Half of all bankruptcies in the U.S. are caused by overwhelming medical bills, and most of those people had health insurance. One can only guess at these women’s personal circumstances, but Americans Stephanie Swift and Nicki Hunter were reduced to begging and will likely remain on the hook for a tremendous amount of money, regardless of how generous their friends and acquaintances are. Tina Tyler, as a Canadian, can focus on her recovery instead of worrying how she’s going to pay for it.

I wish Stephanie and Tina the very best in their battle against the disease and I truly hope Nicki is able to remain cancer-free. If you would like more information on how you can help Stephanie Swift, please contact NicaNoelle@aol.com.

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22 Responses to “What Light Can Porn Shed on the U.S. Healthcare Debte?”

  1. Sbre19 Says:

    You talk like you just go to Canada and *poof* a team of expert doctors come out of the snowy forest and tend to your every medical need. Not the case. Tina Tyler can focus on her recovery, whenever it is that their overburdened socialized medicine system finally gets around to treating her.

  2. HotScooter2 Says:

    Alison:

    thanks for bringing up a very real and pertinent issue ,concerning health care issues and porn stars. I know our system in the US does in many ways seem archaic,but irregardless the canadian system is far from perfect also.

    There is a tendency with americans to idealize the canadian system,when dealing with the high prices of hospitalization,,doctors visits and medication. i think what we need is to loosen the grip that the drug companies have on us ,so to cut cost of medication.then there are all the law suits that cause doctors to pay outrageous malpractice insurance.this forces the doctor too charge more for their services. with our system we still have the best docs with the shortest waits,with the key concern of affordabilityeven though we are rated nnumber 1 for quality of docs the US is unfortunately not even in the top 25 for overall quality care. and i do find this inexcusable/
    Now briefly with canadian system. there is the advantage that being socialized medicine there is no charge for canadian citizens for docs visits,hospitalizations or medications. on the down side there is not the same quality of docs as we have in the USA,and there is very long waits to see doctors.
    I am not a health care expert,basing my opinion on what i have read and having talked to Canadians themselves. i am sure there will be those that disagree with me. hopefully i succeeded in getting the ball rolling on this topic that Alison brought up.

  3. SWOTBM1 Says:

    ”Socialised medicine”. Got to love the people who came up with that, probably the same people who said that Stephen Hawking would have died if he were left to he NHS. Oh, wait a minute, wasnt he born in UK and a British citizen?…

    Seriously though, I think that the NHS and our healthcare system in general (whilst not perfect I concede) is one of the best things about the UK. Being able to get treatment free at the point of use is a huge help to those who would not be able to pay for health insurance and it resolves many of the issues raised in this article. Plus, if you have the cash you can go to a private hospital, so you can have the best of both worlds.

    I too wish Stephanie and Tina all the best.

  4. HotScooter2 Says:

    In a nutshell America needs to find a way of making health care affordable to the average citizen. if we can do that we will have a great health care system. But President Obama will face much opposition from the drug companies that are such major lobbyist in DC.
    The other factor as i see it making health care so expensive in america is the high cost of law suits and the consequent malpractice insurance

  5. beahib Says:

    Please, please don’t turn this into a political blog. I have fairly strong opinions on this issue but bringing this up here is not going to end well.

  6. Mister Handy Says:

    I’m an American citizen, but I lived and worked in the UK for several years. The service I got was pretty good, and even with a manageable chronic disease, had no trouble getting treatment in a timely manner.

    Here in the US, I’ve had really good insurance and really bad insurance. If I could be 100% sure I’d always have the good insurance AND that the “good” insurance wasn’t going to turn around and refuse to pay for services after the fact, I’d rather be in the US system.

    But as it stands, there’s no guarantee of it – even with employer coverage where they can’t arbitrarily drop you or raise your individual coverage, you’re at the mercy of your individual employer, and one layoff away from being uninsurable.

    Meanwhile, there is no contest between the BAD insurance here and the coverage in the UK. Your employer only has one HMO option… well, if none of the doctors nearby are taking new patients within that plan, well, you’re SOL. Your employer decides to drop from a good plan to a bad one at the end of the year? You’re SOL. Yeah, you can end up waiting

    People talk about “socialized medicine” but a good universal health plan can be a GOOD thing for capitalism. It means, among other things, that a lot of people who are otherwise trapped with big employers (while you can move to another big employer, and it’s technically illegal to discriminate based on age or health, if they can see the problem looking at you or you are over 45 you can be pretty well SOL) can be free to pursue entrepreneurial goals — as a techie, I might well want to try consulting or working for a small startup or opening my own business. NONE of those are options for me because I’m limited to employers big enough to have good group coverage. In the UK (or, as far as I know, in Canada, France, Japan, Germany, Australia or pretty much any other civilized country…) I would not be, even though some of those have systems a good bit less clearly “socialized” than the NHS in the UK.

  7. beahib Says:

    A lot of the problems mentioned here are due to insurance being coupled to employment. You can decouple those things without resorting to a single-payer system. In fact McCain proposed getting rid of the tax incentive for employer-provided insurance during the campaign and Obama attacked him for it.

    But the biggest problem is the high cost of health care. There are some relatively minor changes that could be made that would save a ton of money. Like removing the AMA’s power to tell med schools how many doctors they can produce; scaling back the FDA so they only test for drug safety instead of drug effectiveness (which adds millions of dollars and years to the process of getting new drugs on the market); repealing the state laws against cheap clinics that employ only nurses and phys assts but no doctors; allowing hospitals to refuse emergency room care for minor injuries.

    Some of the costs really can’t be contained, though. Fifty years ago all three of these women would have basically been told to go home and die; there just wasn’t the technology to treat cancer at the time. The innovation that makes these diseases treatable now costs a lot of money. With much of the world now on socialized medicine, where drug and tech companies can’t make a profit, the US market has been bearing the cost burden of financing new drugs and new med tech for decades. If we switch over we can expect no medical advancements in the future.

  8. davros Says:

    I wish the best for those poor gals who are having such horrible health issues. I hope they turn out alright.

  9. wolfsburg Says:

    Would be nice if the schools/parents would better educate on how to live a healthy life and properly manage personal finance. Live within your means. I love it when people finance a new flat screen TV and pay $60-120 a month for cable but refuse to provide their family with health insurance. However you manage your personal finance you need to keep one thing in mind, always have enough $$$ to renew your VB subscription! ;o)

  10. Phil Says:

    I am a Canadian citizen and they way it works is that some part of the income tax we pay goes to healthcare and then when we need to go the doctor or get an operation we don’t have to pay for it. Other needs, like dentist for example, are being takin care by the sate or either by some company insurances. In my province, elders pay just a fraction of the cost for some specified drugs. I’m sure that USA people should benefit from a nation’s plan like this in order for everyone to have some proper medical cares as most civilized countries do and that gready medical pratctioners get their asses kicked off. Even then, over here, medical specialists make an avarage of 500 000 a year which is, to my knowledge a good salary.

  11. Mister Handy Says:

    @beahib – the problem with getting rid of the employer-based system (as McCain’s tax suggestion would likely have done) is that if there’s nothing to replace it.

    The individual insurance market is broken, not because of the employer-based one but because they’re free to f___ us. Getting rid of the biggest pool of group-based insurance memberships would just throw everyone to the mercy of the big insurers… and then if you add in McCain’s suggestion of eliminating states’ ability to regulate insurance (basically throwing everyone at the mercy of the least common denominator of the 50 states) and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Getting rid of the tax incentives for the employer-based system would only avoid f___ing people if it was accompanied by individual insurance holders getting the same protections that members of group policies get.

    Oddly enough, that’s a big part of Obama’s present proposal. I’d much rather see single payer, or better still an NHS style “socialized medicine.” The best we’re going to get is a public option which is somewhat lamed to allow the private insurers to compete with it.

    Whether we get that or not, allowing insurance to be portable between group and individual (vs. the current situation where you basically can’t get individual insurance at all if you have a pre-existing condition), and protecting people from rescission or uncontrolled rate increases after they get sick are all very good start.

    @wolfsburg – have you priced an individual insurance policy lately? Unless you’re a young, single person, it’s not going be anywhere near as cheap as $100/month. For a family, it might well be as expensive as a new TV every month – I know people who are spending $800-$1000/month on it for two adults and two kids. Heck, if you get an ill person who is 50+ but too young for medicare, if your luck is bad you can pay that much for one person.

    And that’s assuming you can get it at all, if you’ve had some health issues. The last time I checked on individual policies (I was thinking of doing a consulting gig) the reputable insurers wouldn’t give me a decent plan… at any price.

    @phil – But… but… that’s Canadian dollars. Isn’t that like the price of a big mac down here?

    Oh, wait… for a while last year you guys had a dollar worth more than ours. That’s a lot of big macs.

    Right now US$1 buys CA$1.09… not much difference, even spread across a half million. So your $500k would be more than $450k down here. Which is, last I checked, more than a lot of specialists down here make (some do make that much, but quite a few make “only” half that.)

    And, let’s face it… $200k-$250k is pretty good money on either side of the border. Even with having gone to medical school and all that.

  12. xtcbyme Says:

    While not wild about such a politically charged topic being dumped into a porn site blog, I think I see a very interesting trend, and maybe I miscounted, but amongst what one would think are more left or liberal thinkers (us porn users, maybe we are libertarian instead?) I would have thought to seen overwhelmingly strong support for Obamacare, but such is not the case.

    My personal feelings are that health insurance is a must. Even if you work as a private contractor like most of these folks mentioned here. I do not believe it is cost prohibitive, I buy my own, pay about $360 month I am over 45, and I get damn good care. It is just that one must face the fact that you don’t stay young forever, and buy coverage before you need it!

    The best way to fix the overall costs of health care is lower the long term liability exposure of the health care industry through tort reform, ever wonder why they sell the same damn drugs for less in Mexico? Also MANY American doctors practice in Mexico as well as the US, so they can offer their services to US customers at lower costs – all due to the costs of insurance for the hospital, and surgery teams. The enemy is the lawyers folks, not big Pharma or over paid doctors or profit gouging insurance companies. Wake up and smell the pussy!

  13. x2visionquest Says:

    im with davros on this one. best wishes to each of these women in their fights/treatments and any money struggles…my tremendous fears about the nature of our health care system aside.

  14. numbles Says:

    Several hundred thousand to a million years of evolution needed to develop a community, social sense and the insight that cooperation and sharing is a necessity for the whole humanity to reach their goals.

    Less then a hundred years of american and british fixation on money as the determining factor of the worth of human life have completely degenerated this evolution.

    Thank you america…for taking the whole world back to the pre-cave men society where the one with the biggest pile of mammoth meat is the winner no matter if his neighbours are starving.

  15. Papayaman1 Says:

    I have female acquaintances whose lives have been saved by the British National Health Service. They have entitlement to check ups and I know of a few cases where a breast cancer was found in the early stages, treatment was started and a woman’s life was saved without her having to go bankrupt. There are a lot of things that the US does better than the UK, but the health service is one thing that the UK definitely does better than the US. I don’t know the details of the Obama proposals, but to the extent that Americans stand to benefit from them I really hope that profiteering sectional interests do not manage to sabotage his plans.

    And I’d just like to join those sending their best wishes to these unfortunate ladies.

  16. HotScooter2 Says:

    numbles:

    you really believe that greed for money is an american institution,invented here in the good ole USA.why do i tend to question this.first of all i doubt anything stated in univeral terms as all or nothing.
    Greed is more likely a part of the human condition that can be found anywhere. but to be overly simplistic some of us have
    this condition and some don’t.
    you gonna tell me there is no greed outside of the USA,and jolly old England that of course got it intravenously from us.
    what do you think is the primary cause of war other than economics which is like saying greed. and i suppose you gonna tell me only the USA has ever started a war for their own economic benefit

  17. numbles Says:

    Well what I meant was that the anglo-saxon stock-market system, which is a invention of the netherlands but ever since the 19th century is centered around england and nowadays the us, as the base for investments is as opposed to the loan-system that was used before a mechanism that forces everyone who issues stocks to subdue to the interest of greedy individuals who in return are to remote from their actual investment.
    By this they feel that, though they in fact own a part of a an actual company dont have to have any commitment to neither the surroundings their investment is operating in nor the investment itself.
    The only thing they feel committed to are the financial interests they can derive off of the investment. What leads to companies making decisions that are both bad for the further development of the business and the surrounding they are operating in no matter if yo consider ecological or social issues (because their only interest is to make shareholders happy).
    I don’t think that “greed” in itself is an american institution. I just believe that you are and have ever been the bleeding edge in the art of making money the benchmark for the worth of a persons life.

    Not giving people adequate Health Care and/or the means to live a humane life is just a necessary consequence.
    And I pity europe and the rest of the world for following The US into this maelstrom that only results in vicious circle leading to worse conditions for the poor and more money for the fraction of society that today already own almost everything.
    Globalisation is it, right? Well Globalize my A** :-)

    nything about wars. My opinion

  18. numbles Says:

    We germans have always been good at waging wars for nothing but the lack of love for our frog leg eating neighbours and that for centuries. Most of the time that was a loose-loose for everyone. Why did we do it then? Probably because it’s just nice to have a safe win every now then :-) . Just joking of course.

  19. Kiilo Says:

    Even with insurance if you or someone has cancer you’ll need to pay $30,000.00 or more out of pocket as the co-pay. Good luck having the board at an HMO approve any “expirmental” therapies either. If it’s cheaper to let a patient die, then that’s the step they will take. The more claims they die the more bonuses the doctors and directors will make that year. Hey at least the HMO will give you a good drip as you dose off into death.

  20. Kiilo Says:

    I meant” The more claims they deny the more bonuses the doctors make’. Google Dawnelle Keys.

  21. Detritus Says:

    Interesting discussion. It realy boils down to a simple matter though. Our (US) health system is the best in the world with the highest success rate for curing these diseases. It is also expensive. Others (socialized) are not as expensive but crowded, overburdened, generally ok but not as successful statistically. So it’s a gamble. Money or greater chance of success. Personally a new approach that would fuse the two would be most successful but how we do that is nearly impossible to figure. Like everything else, whatever we decide here in the US, I’m sure we’ll mess it up.

  22. peekay Says:

    A naked and superficial attempt to argue for a single payer healthcare system? (on a porn website) Since your started it I feel I should respond…

    First it should be said the 50% medical bankruptcy numbers don’t tell the story. While about 50% do claim medical bills as the primary cause of bankruptcy, it should be noted that bankruptcy do to medical bills from 2001-2007 has fallen by 33%. And the main reason that medical bill bankruptcy increased is because other forms of bankruptcy decreased over that period. For example, if Videobox suddenly lost 50% of it’s customers, but a higher proportion of people left over were subscribed to premium channels, is it honest to focus on the fact that a higher proportion of videobox customers are premium subscribers? Meanwhile they lost half their customers…

    As someone already said.. Ms. Tyler can focus on waiting for treatment far longer than she would if she could pay for it in the US. And if she’s unsatisfied, she has to travel outside the country to get treatment and pay for it.

    The US is mostly better at treating and diagnosing cancer than UK or Canada. The case of herceptin, an early stage breast cancer drug shows the flaws of the UK system and points to why the private US system that innovates and tests these types of drugs can be better.

    The US needs to move away from a third party payer system (away from insurance as it is now), not add more government third party payments to the system. You are only compounding the problems.