Hoffman Estates, IL – Former Olympic Gold Medalist in Women’s Gymnastics, Mary Lou Retton, recently discussed her month-long hospitalization due to a rare and potentially life-threatening form of pneumonia on the “Today” show. During her appearance, Retton revealed details about her hospital ordeal, including the moment when she nearly required life support. However, Retton was not questioned by co-host Hoda Kotb about certain factors, such as why she did not have health insurance at the time of her hospitalization, her income, or the handling of the $459,000 in online donations received to cover her medical expenses.
Retton’s reluctance to answer basic questions about her health care has drawn increased scrutiny, especially considering the public donations raised through a crowdsourcing site. Kelley, Retton’s daughter, expressed surprise at the generosity of the donors and emphasized the initial intention of the fundraising campaign – to aid their mother and alleviate the burden of her medical expenses.
In a USA Today interview, Kelley explained that her mother couldn’t afford health insurance due to her extensive medical history, which included over 30 orthopedic surgeries. However, Retton’s explanation sparked further discussion, as sources pointed out that the Affordable Care Act directly addresses issues such as pre-existing conditions and insurance costs through subsidies and provisions for individuals with low to moderate incomes. Additionally, there were affordable insurance plans available in Texas, where Retton is based.
Furthermore, it was revealed that Retton was covered by health insurance at one point but gave it up when she was unable to work and give speeches due to the pandemic. The exact handling of the donations and the allocation of funds toward medical costs remain undisclosed.
Ultimately, the retelling of Mary Lou Retton’s health crisis has sparked conversations about health insurance, the affordability of coverage, and the utilization of public donations, prompting a closer examination of the complexities and challenges individuals face in accessing and affording healthcare.