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Man dying of cancer, has no insurance, but employer tries to help

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Updated: 8/10/2009 6:49 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local business owners worry they'll have to cut employees and raise prices if they have to pay for health care for all employees.    

It's really putting extra stress on a lot of local businesses.  We talked to one restaurant owner who is trying to help one of its employees who is dying and doesn't have insurance. 
The sound of the cash register ringing is good news for owner Desiree Downing. It means people are still spending money in a tight economy, but she's hoping they'll put more money in a jar on the counter.

It's for her cook Mike, who is dying of cancer, can't afford health insurance and doesn't get it from the restaurant. "It's costly just trying to find it for ourselves. With 35 to 45 employees, it can be expensive," said Downing.

It's Downing's way of trying to lend a helping hand. Her business can't buy health insurance for employees right now.  She'd be affected if President Obama's plan for health care for all passes. She's one of the thousands of businesses that would be forced to now pay for employees to have it.

She tried paying for insurance 21 years ago, but "It overwhelmed the business. I couldn't keep it afloat. I gave them all a raise and said to put it towards insurance for themselves," said Downing.

These days she's glad people will still work at the restaurant without insurance, but if she has to start paying the high prices for it, the prices on the menu may also be changing. That means more money out of your wallet. "They're like my children, my employees are. They understand what I can do and can't do. They still stay with us and are raising their family through our business," said Downing.

So far, people's donations have helped Mike buy a hospital bed.  He's had numerous surgeries and still needs to undergo another one.
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MTK501 - 8/10/2009 10:48 PM
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I feel that this is such a farce on the part of this business owner. Of course she does not want to pay for insurance to cover her employees. She says she couldnot afford it. obviously this took place under the republicans for the years they were in office. Yet she claims President Obama may force her to cover them. Maybe if the Presidents plan was in place before the man with cancer would not have a can on the counter but real coverage to help him. As a business owner and employer, I provided coverage for my mother who had cancer years ago since she worked for my company. I watched your report and it seemed so losided what she was saying. I no longer have employees after i sold my accounts to a large corporation. When I opened another business i tried to put in place an insurance policy but was denied by the insurance companies. I had to have a certain number of people 8 people and their families had to be on the policy. They also required all employees to participate. I stated that some had husbands and they were already on their policies. That insurance companies representative said the company required all before they could or would write a policy. i tried to find insurance with three additional insurance companies and through an insurance broker, all to no avail. To this date I have been told that many of the insurance companies will not write a policy for any less than 10 employees. So if you are a small business, i mean a real small business, not the 5 million dollar a year government standard. You cannot find insurance. Do not call and say who you are and ask will they write a policy over the phone. Set up a small business, with say 2 to 5 employees. Try a tech installation company and a hair salon. See if you can obtain affordable insurance. then check out the insurance coverage, it will still leave you with a huge bill and God forbid if you face a catastrophic health problem. Go undercover and see what an ANALOGY of REAL HEALTH CARE in America is. MTK
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