'I Know Tom Perriello Has My Back'

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, October 21, 2010

Editor, The Herald:

In mid-December, 2002 near the end of a long eight-year battle with lung and brain cancer, my 42 year old wife of 18 years was admitted to the Palliative Care Unit of a large metropolitan hospital in Richmond. Palliative care is end of life care intended to make the patients safe, comfortable, and adequately cared for in the last days of life as well as piece of mind for loved ones knowing that all that can be done is being done tenderly and professionally by skilled caregivers.

Just days before Christmas I was informed by hospital staff that my insurance company would not pay for hospital care once it was determined that my wife's condition could not improve. A skilled nursing home was out of the question as well because my policy didn't cover it. My household budget was in shambles due to my inability to work while caring for my wife and our life savings was gone due to the eight years we paid for things that the insurance company wouldn't. My only terrifying choice was to bring her home and care for her the last days of her life the best I could. So for 24 hours a day for three weeks, I, my daughter and sister-in law, assisted by brief Hospice visits, cared for her as best we could, hoping and praying that what we were doing was what she needed to be comfortable.

Email newsletter signup

One can only imagine my disdain for my insurance company as I had paid my premiums and followed the rules only to discover at the worst time in my life when I really needed coverage, that it had been denied as spelled out in the fine print.

The new health care law will allow for better end of life planning which would have made my wife's last days easier for all of us. It is high time that somebody should stand up against insurance company abuses as they rake in record profits with ever increasing premiums that make health insurance less and less affordable for working people.

That is just one of the reasons I am casting my 5th district vote for Tom Perriello. Tom had the courage, compassion, and wisdom to cast the tough vote for health care reform in the face of tough rhetoric and political and corporate opposition. As a working person, playing by the rules, and struggling to raise a family in these tough economic times, I know Tom Perriello has my back in Washington and he deserves to return to carry on his good work.

Brad Wike