Thursday, September 10, 2009


I didn't watch the speech last night. I've kind of checked out on the whole health care issue. It feels like a lot of talking, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. There's been a lot of uproar about a "public option" and how bad that would be. There's a lot of fear about a single payer system because that will cost the tax payers too much money. My friends with money really don't like that idea and I don't blame them - if I had a lot of money I probably wouldn't want to spend it on a government run program that most likely would kill people just as surely as the current system does.

What we need is change, but I don't think we're headed for a good one.

I've not heard any discussion about how the current system is broken. How can you fix something if you don't explore how it's broken?

We definitely need to get better health care options for people in this country, but I haven't really heard any clear ideas about what that would be. Just to say that everyone needs to have it doesn't reassure me. No one has ever raised a conversation about regulating the current system. Private insurers are gouging employers and individuals and their policies have raised the cost of medical care to a point that it's no longer really affordable even if you do have insurance.

I have individual insurance which I got for an initial premium of $120 a month. Within four months that was jacked up to $204 a month - no explanation, no reason. Just because they can. so now I pay $2400 a year and when I go to the doctor I pay out of pocket up to $3500 before I gain any benefit from having insurance. If I don't use my insurance and I negotiate a cash rate with a doctor it ends up costing me less than the negotiated rate the insurance company has with the doctor, but then nothing goes toward my deductible.

There are lots of nightmare stories in the news about people in the same boat who become ill, catastrophically ill, and then the insurance company rescinds their coverage. This is a common policy and it has nothing to do with real issues of fraud. A woman diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer was dropped because she didn't report seeing her dermatologist for acne.

Insurance companies are in business to make money. That's it. They don't care about consumers and because there's really no competitive market they don't need to provide excellent service. They have incredibly strong lobbies so they are part of policymaking when it comes to regulation and laws with regard to insurance. They are huge corporations and no one individual is responsibile or culpable for the immorality that they perpetrate on their customers every single day. There is no regulation and today when I read that the response from insurance companies to the president's speech was "he didn't address high medical expenses" I had to laugh, derisively of course, but I still laughed.

Medical expenses are high because doctors and hospitals are playing the game by the rules the insurance companies set up. A doctor will bill at about 200% of his cost because he knows the insurance companies will only pay maybe 50% of the bill. If he was billing his cost he would lose money and go out of business. I worked for several doctors and that's what I saw - it seems crazy to me, but that's how they do it.

Have you ever been hospitalized? Have you ever looked at your bills? Every single item is listed and the pricing is crazy. I remember being amazed that the PAPER pillow cover was billed at $5. What? But that's how the hospital makes it's profit.

We live in a country where sick people = bottom line profit and everyone thinks that's a good thing and the way it should be. I feel that it creates some real moral issues, but that's just me.

Joe Wilson's outburst over Obama's statement that no illegal aliens would receive benefit from the new health care plan - whatever that is - made me sick (not sick enough to even get close to meeting my deductible). Not only because he acted like a punk ass bitch in front of everyone, but because of the hatefulness that motivated the outburst in the first place. Why is it okay for Americans to receive health care in Canada because they can't afford to get it here? Why is it okay for at least 2 people I know to go live in Europe because they can afford to get transplants there and they can't afford it here?

We are illegal aliens heading into other countries for their health care benefits - we don't even want to clean their houses and mow their yards, or bus their tables - we just want to use their single payer system and come back over the border without having to pay the taxes to the get the benefit.

We do need to do something because some of the uninsured are committing suicide when they get sick or as a result of depression - but then that's kind of what our private insurance companies are doing by rescinding insurance when their customers become ill - we can call that "assisted suicide".

I can't really participate in the debate because no one is talking about what's broken and it all sounds to me like they're looking for another way to stimulate the economy, not to make sure that there's a good option for all people. I don't know about a public option - isn't Medicare a public option? And speaking of that option, it pretty much sucks because you have to be really poor, too poor to have any real quality of life in order to access it. What I think we really need is an assessment of the private option and why it's failing so grandly and then we need to fix it. One more crappy product in the arena of medical care isn't really going to change things. And why we're at it how about making people who rescind medical policies that people have been paying good money for a criminal matter? Say the person who makes that decision to drop a customer because she didn't report that she saw a doctor for a pimple and then got breast cancer, and the person who approves that decision could be tried in a criminal court for negligent homicide?

I guess I should be glad I've got good genes and do everything I can to stay healthy because it terrifies me to think about what will happen if I ever get really sick....and I've got insurance...for now.... as long as I stay healthy.

1 comment:

'Drea said...

Nice, thoughtful post. The title (and reality) is chilling.