Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Crusade

Everyone needs a cause, right? These days mine is getting the military healthcare system to cover the cost of artificial reproductive techniques (ART). Currently they cover all treatment related to the diagnosis of the cause of infertility and they will even pay for medications provided you are not going to use ARTs. They want nothing to do with paying for my IVF. Here's where it gets tricky, though. If I lived in the US near a military treatment facility (think Walter Reed) that offered ART services, I would receive treatment virtually free of charge. Granted, there would be some out-of-pocket expense, but nothing compared to what we are going to pay. There are several military treatment facilities that offer these programs and the costs vary depending on the programs offered/available at a given facility but if you don't live near one or can't travel there you're out of luck. Confusing? I think it is. Unfair? You betcha!

I met a precious girl a few weeks ago a Bible study. She is also a patient of my specialist and he has recommended that she and her husband do intrauterine insemination or IUI (sperm are inserted directly into the cervix). I just got off the phone with a nurse at the base hospital in Ft. Bragg, NC. The cost for my new friend to have this procedure done there is $135 which includes medications because they are covered by a government grant. The cost for her to have the procedure in Germany will be about $2000. Thinking about it just makes my blood boil!

Because I know you're on the edge of your seats wondering what progress I've made, I'll let you know. In November I wrote to my senator. He's a physician and has delivered many babies so I figured that would be a good place to start. He has yet to respond to me. The other senator from my home state is on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I contacted his military legislative assistant who was arrogant and told me he would get back to me within a few days but that was January and I'm still awaiting his email. Then, I went to Bunco in February. One wouldn't necessarily think of Bunco as a place where legislation is born -- I mean there is no mention of Bunco in the School House rock video about how a bill becomes a law -- but it just so happens that one of my neighbors has a father with not a few number of stars on his shoulders. She was appalled that these policies exist and asked me to forward her the letter I wrote my senator. She then forwarded it to her father who expressed a desire to help. Today I was contacted by a physician very high in the chain of command of military physicians. He currently has an aide compliling information for him on all ART policies pertaining to military members and will receive a briefing on the subject next week. I'm optimistic and I am realisitic but I am not one to give up easily. It is my sincere hope that the military can offer fertility coverage to all service members and their families. After I accomplish this, I will work on a law requiring infertility coverage for everyone! Next up will be world peace!

Seriously though, this is why I love my country. I mean I REALLY love my country! I have lived in two countries other than my own and I have worked extensively in a third. As great and modern and democratic as all three of those countries are, the people of those countries have little to no power to truly effect change. For obvious reasons, it's not simple to change things in the United States, but it is possible and that possibility gives me hope.

With that I am off to change the world! [Actually, I'm just going to do some laundry.]


Tracy said...

You go girl!!!! See, most people would have just shrugged and said, "that sucks." But not say, "Somebody ought to do something about that, and I think that somebody will be ME!"


Kymberli said...

Good luck with your efforts! Big changes often start with just one person! The letter from the senator was a closeted insult; hopefully you will have more success with the other avenue!