Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In Which I Channel Andy Rooney

I’ve been thinking a lot about healthcare lately. My fibroids continue to kick my ass, so I am seeing a new doctor tomorrow. As I Mapquested the doctor’s office yesterday, I was inwardly bemoaning the lack of continuity of care I’ve received over the past few years. Between changing insurance carriers through Sweet Dub’s employer, starting a new job myself, and then having my employer change insurance carriers, this will be the fifth OB-GYN for me since Viva was born. Every time, I have to fill out extensive forms with my health history, get old records from previous doctors, etc. It is not a good system.

And now the latest U.S. Census data on poverty, income and health insurance are in. According to the report:

Both the percentage and the number of people without health insurance increased in 2006. The percentage without health insurance increased from 15.3 percent in 2005 to 15.8 percent in 2006, and the number of uninsured increased from 44.8 million to 47.0 million.
"The Uninsured" (which strikes me as a good name for either a horror movie spoof or a satirical version of the great Clint Eastwood movie "The Unforgiven") are those who don't qualify for medical insurance through any government program, but who can't afford to buy private insurance. That translates into close to one-fifth of the American population pretty much just relying on hope and a prayer that they don't get hit by a bus, or develop a persistent cough, or what have you.

Meanwhile, our family received an offer from Wells Fargo Bank recently for medical emergency insurance. For only $10 and change a month, we can get coverage of up to $400 a day for 365 days in the event that one of us has an injury or illness that leaves us hospitalized that long. The cover letter mentions that even with private health insurance coverage, an extended hospital stay can bankrupt a family.

I’m sure everyone out there either has a story or knows someone who has a story about the evils of the current health care system in the U.S. I have a dear friend who made the mistake of getting cancer and then her husband got laid off. He found another job, but inevitably there was a period of time when COBRA was running out and it appeared they would have to pay $3,000 a month for the experimental medicine that was keeping her alive.

The Wells Fargo notice tripped me out because now corporations are finding yet another way to capitalize on a bad situation and making money by exploiting people’s fears.

Note to presidential candidates: It’s not just the war, it’s the health insurance, stupid. Other developed nations have figured it out. Time to get on the bandwagon.

P.S. I have not yet seen Sicko. I think my head would probably explode. And I don't think my insurance covers that.


E. said...

Yeah, if we ended the damned war, we'd have plenty of money to institute nationalized health care. (Or even just cut out the pork going to Bush's cronies in Iraq. Though I wish we could just plan a reasonable withdrawal, period.)

trebs said...

I've yet to see "Sicko" either for the same reasons. My health insurance is supposed to be changing to a new company as well. I quote: "97% of the coverage is the same". I'm just worried that every ailment I have falls into the 3% noncovered section. But then, I've been lucky to have a pretty good plan. Maybe we can convince Leona Helmsley's dog to redistribute its 12 million dollar inheritance to healthcare!

Lisa Blah Blah said...

e: You know I don't have all the answers, but it just seems to me that someone in power should (a) give a shit and (b) be able to figure it out. Hell, if they even acted like they gave a shit I'd feel they were meeting me halfway.

trebs: Don't even get me started on that dog. Now, that is sick.