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Health Activist Ady Barkan Starts Twitter Campaign To Change Private Insurance Policies

Twitter has been used by numerous people to draw attention to various issues. Here is a story when the insurance company HealthNet, which is based in California, was compelled to offer coverage to a machine for assisting breathing for an activist named Ady Barkan. He is terminally ill with ALS, and HealthNet refused to cover the costs of the breathing machine by providing excuses that the device was just experimental.

Barkan stated that he was looking forward to getting better sleep during nights while also breathing better at the same time. He, however, mentioned that it was outrageous that he needed to raise the complaint publicly. HealthNet declined to respond with a comment to a request from Huff Post and explain about the version provided by Barkan.

The campaign exposed the flaws in private health insurance companies.

Barkan was successful in pressurizing HealthNet to offer coverage for the breathing device he needed with the Twitter campaign.

He was successful in his effort to pressurize the insurance company and also to bring to the fore his commitment to using his personal struggle to draw attention regarding problematic policies from private insurance. He expressed optimism that his campaign would ensure the difficulties faced by other Americans who are not benefiting from private health insurers will henceforth receive attention.

Barkan was confident that the insurer HealthNet would not move fast because he did not have a large following on Twitter. He mentioned that millions of people faced denial for treatment by insurance companies despite being entitled to it when stating that it was a lousy way to manage a system for healthcare.

diagnosed with  ALS on October 2016, Barkan is the leader of the Center for Popular Democracy which is a group for grassroots activism. The illness does not have any cure available and paralyzes its victims gradually.

His doctor asked to purchase a Trilogy breathing machine for assistance to relieve difficulties which are driven by ALS especially for him because he developed the problems when lying flat on the bed. Unfortunately Barkan’s insurer HealthNet refused coverage for the device which prompted him to post a tweet on Tuesday which received 11,000 shares by Wednesday afternoon. The refusal of the insurer to cover the costs of the machine would have ensured Barkan would spend thousands of dollars to purchase the device.

Adverse publicity for private health insurance brought in positive results for Barkan.

Adverse publicity always hurts and HealthNet succumbed to the pressure coming from social media.

A single tweet from him did receive attention from 11,000 people, but it was the subsequent tweets from Barkan which spoke about his difficulties for obtaining coverage and the problems with private for-profit insurance systems within the United States which enhanced his chances of getting the coverage he needed.

The adverse publicity received by private health insurance companies, and in particular HealthNet, ensured that the insurer contacted him within 24 hours to confirm they were going to cover the device. Barkan presently has 45,000 followers on Twitter and has built for himself a platform to speak about his dilemma and to raise awareness for a social illness which is glaring.

What did Barkan learn from his experience?

Barkan plans to counter the changes planned by House Speaker Paul Ryan during the elections in November.

Barkan has decided to begin working to protect the programs to get the country moving on the path to a healthcare system which offers single-payer benefits which he terms as “Medicare for all.” He believes that the best way to accomplish his objective is to ensure a Democratic takeover of the Congress during the elections in November. He intends to spread his story nationwide with an intention to mobilize support with volunteers and voters in order to resist the cuts to a safety net which have been planned by Paul Ryan the House Speaker along with Mitch McConnell the Senate majority leader and the president Donald Trump.

Insurance companies and their counterparts are not accustomed to listening to the voice of the common man on the ground and they only wake up when they receive adverse publicity. The campaign was just talking about his difficulties for finding appropriate care with private health insurance but it certainly received attention on Twitter to ensure insurance companies do a rethink of their policies and exposed the flaws in private health insurance.

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