Today I saw a number of tweets pointing to HelpUsHelpMolly. It’s a campaign to raise money to help Molly Holzschlag pay for medical treatments and health insurance premiums as she fights a debilitating liver disorder. She was forced to leave her job due to her illness, and her COBRA coverage ended on November 1. Given that she is not able to work, she needs financial support, and she will have to fund her own medical treatment while she is uninsured.
Molly is the author of a number of the seminal early books on Web publishing. To put it simply, pretty much everyone who works on the Web learned from Molly or from someone who learned from Molly. She has also been a persistent, longtime advocate for the open Web. If everyone whose career on the Web was launched in part due to her work donated a small portion of what they’d earned to her medical fund, she wouldn’t have any financial problems to worry about.
I strongly encourage everyone to make a contribution.
Before I go, though, I want to make a political point. The big story of the week was the Wall Street Journal op-ed by Edie Littlefield Sundby, who is losing her (seemingly very generous) health insurance because United Healthcare is dropping out of the individual insurance market in California. That decision is based at least in part on changes in the insurance market caused by the Affordable Care Act, and of course the op-ed blames ObamaCare for her predicament. She can’t find a replacement policy on the exchanges which will enable her to see the same doctors that she’s seeing now, and given that she’s undergoing very aggressive cancer treatment, that’s awful news. I understand why she’s angry, and why she’s angry about ObamaCare.
On the other side we have people like Molly Holzschlag, who’s in the middle of a fight with a horrible disease herself, and who is uninsurable at the present time. She was on an expensive COBRA plan, and when that ended, she was forced to go without insurance at all. As of January 1, she’ll be able to get insurance again, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Edie Littlefield Sundby may not be able to get the same insurance, but she will be able to obtain health insurance in 2014, and so will Molly.
I wrote about something similar in 2010, about Hamid Mohajer, a restaurant owner who faced a cancer diagnosis. His wife took a second job in order to obtain insurance, and still wound up facing ruinous medical debt when the plan’s lifetime maximum contribution was exhausted. Hamid passed away just a few weeks after my post.
Edie’s story is unusual enough to find its way to the Wall Street Journal editorial page, while stories like Molly’s and Hamid’s are sadly common. I’ve seen too many fund raisers for people whose health problems have forced them into severe financial duress over the years. With the Affordable Care Act in place, hopefully we’ll decouple severe health problems from destitution due to medical bills.
Right now Molly Holzschlag needs the help of the community she helped to create. Please be generous.