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NOW: Maine's Dirigo Health Reforms
On Maine's plan to provide all citizens with access to healthcare.

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
A report on President Bush's proposed use of health savings accounts.

Related Resources from This Weeks Show
5.5.06
Politics and Economy:
This Week's Show: Payment Due
More on This Story:
It's "Cover the Uninsured Week," a series of events across the country put forth by a bi-partisan coalition in Washington D.C. pushing for health insurance reform. Some 45 million Americans do not have health insurance coverage despite the fact that many of them have jobs.

In the coming days the Senate will debate legislation that, if passed, would radically overhaul insurance regulations across the country.

Proponents say the legislation could help close to a million people gain access to health insurance. Those against it say it could hurt consumers in many ways, leaving some stuck with bare bones policies that offer virtually no coverage at all.

One of the cases NOW profiles is that of Dana Christensen, who purchased a health insurance policy with her husband Doug thinking they had bought into an excellent plan. "I thought it was an outstanding policy. But it wasn't until we went to use it that we found out it didn't cover what we were promised it covered," Christensen told NOW.

After Doug became ill with bone cancer, the medical bills quickly piled up and the couple found themselves overwhelmed as their insurance policy paid only a fraction of the costs.

She says Doug was turned away from a hospital in excruciating pain because their insurance had maxed out. The couple found themselves personally owing almost a half a million dollars in medical bills. A year and a half after his diagnosis, Doug lost his battle with cancer.

Dana sued Mega Life & Health Insurance Company for fraud and eventually settled for 1.7 million dollars. Mega offered more if she would sign a confidentiality agreement. She refused, and talked to NOW.

Why the world is not about to run out of oil

David Brancaccio talks to Vijay Vaitheeswaran of The Economist about the price of gasoline. Vaitheeswaran is on a mission to debunk what he considers widespread myths about the oil industry. Last month Vaitheeswaran wrote an Economist special on the oil industry, "Steady as she goes: Why the world is not about to run out of oil."

In Depth

Photo Essay: Barely Covered

Response from HealthMarkets, Inc.

Primer: A Closer Look at the Proposed Law

Facts & Figures: Health Insurance in the U.S.

How to Protect Yourself

In Depth
Talk back on the message boards.
In Depth
Learn more about the issues

Read the Transcript

In Depth
[NOTE: RealPlayer is required to view NOW segments.]

Payment Due

Vijay Vaitheeswaran


In Depth
Payment Due
Producer: Peter Meryash
Editor: Judith Wolff
Show Editor: Larry Goldfine
Assistant Editor: David Kreger and Pierre Stefanos



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