Monday, March 26, 2007

health care?

Democratic presidential candidates discussed health care this weekend. Although I've read elsewhere that John Edwards had a seemingly workable plan, Taylor Marsh believes Hillary Clinton nailed it. Consensus is that Barack Obama, who admitted to being unprepared, should have been paying attention to this issue.

Do you have health care? Need it? We pay $720 a month, down from $798 last year. It was the need for health care that kept me working in child welfare long after my business had really taken off. There was no way to get my ailing husband insured, ever, by anyone, and +100 pounds, I'd have had a hell of a time getting insurance myself. Once I found out I could pay it myself as a vested employee, it took five joyful minutes to write up my letter of resignation.

Is this an issue for you? Have you ever been denied? cancelled? faced massive unexpected medical bills while uninsured? I think it's terribly important to provide better access to health care for everyone, but my thoughts on this could be skewed by my husband's serious illnesses. What do you think?

15 Comments:

Blogger SubtleKnife said...

Hi Lynette,

I'm fortunate to live in a country that seems to have things sewn up pretty well. That being said, they changed the system and I now pay about $150 a month for comprehensive coverage (the basic, legally defined package is about $100) when a couple of years ago I paid maybe half.

Still, there are very few people without coverage in my country and when I read things like "20% of children in Texas have no health insurance" I am grateful and I stop bitching about my bills - at least for a while...

PS, can you send me an email on subtleknife00@gmail.com, I have a bit of a strange question to ask you (don't worry, not scary)

March 26, 2007 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Joe / Kusala said...

I have a feeling a lot of people -- especially "younger," single, childless ones -- might just be pushing their luck on this one and taking their chances since odds are that one won't have a catastrophic illness, accident, etc. Those are the kinds of gambles I have never been willing to play, however. So yes, I think your thoughts (and mine) may be a little skewed on this since our medical experiences probably aren't "average."

Unfortunately, I am at a point where I have to worry about paying for $1200+ worth of prescriptions every month, so being uninsured is not an option. Thus, I have to either stay at my current job or make damn well sure my next one has great benefits (I will therefore probably end up forever working for some kind of government entity). I'm ready to find a husband from a socialist European country, believe me...

March 26, 2007 3:56 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

so SK, are you pretty happy with it? despite the $150? do you find yourself stuck with horrid illnesses you can't get treated for lack of doctors? those are the (probably insurance company-funded) scare tactics I've heard all my life.

joe ~ i feel for you. when mike got sick, even WITH insurance, our medical bills ran $2000-2500 every month. there is ultimately an out-of-pocket max, but damn that thing takes a loooong time to kick in. and then the prescriptions they'd choose willy nilly not to cover ~ $1000s again.

has to be a better way . . .

March 26, 2007 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Tater said...

I think it is the second worst crisis looming over our country. with boomers starting to swell the ranks of the impending chronically ill, there is going to be no end in sight to the premium jacking of the insurance companies. It has been a detrement to our industry, and one of the major reasons our industrial middle class jobs are not competitve with the rest of the world. Ford and GM, the backbone of American Industry, are currently at a disadvantage to the tune of over $1,000 per car v.s. the imports, soley due to their health care and pension costs. We are rapidly becoming a third world country when it comes to taking care of our people, and are dead last in all of the western world (not to mention a few members of the third world) when it comes to health care. Obama had his head up his "hat" on this one. I can barely afford my own coverage, and I don't know how in the hell a family of four manages to do it. Health care, right wing hawkism, and monetary policy steered towards corporate interests, WILL lead to the eminent revolution in this country. If things don't change soon, I see it happening in the next 15 years. This issue, global warming, and violence for resources, all combine to make me stay awake at night and wonder when the other shoe is gonna drop.

Sometimes I counter these thoughts with dreams of sugar, and naughty, naughty, mansex. Have a cheery day all!

March 26, 2007 4:30 PM  
Blogger SubtleKnife said...

No, I don't think people get stuck with horrid illnesses they can't get treated. There were some waiting lists before, but more for minor and for serious but non-urgent cases. And they have gone down.

I have an American friend who doesn't want to leave here permanently because he too gets medication costing over a thousand a month. His premium is maybe $200...

March 26, 2007 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Joe / Kusala said...

Tater, I'm not sure I still have hope there ever will be a revolution (televised or not). Look at Brazil: the vast majority of people down there are living in total poverty, while a very rich group of elites live in relative luxury. You will see the same in India & China in coming decades, and I really fear that we will join the ranks of countries like that. Haves and have nots. I truly hope not. Dare I see we will need another Roosevelt sometime in the next few years? If I had children, I might encourage them all to become engineers or physicians -- and even then they'd be lucky if they'd be able to remain in the "haves" category.

March 26, 2007 4:37 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

I'm coming down on Joe's gloomy side of things today. Used to be corporate America needed American workers. Not anymore, and markets are global too, so there's really no need for workers in the US to make decent wages.

We were just talking today about how being poor creates a kind of snowball effect. There's a "poor tax" on everything from cashing checks at the bank where they're written ($5) to paying a bill in person at Cricket ($5). Let an auto insurance policy lapse and the poor tax gets you. Utilities lapse and there's a new deposit due. It's as if the working poor are punished for being poor.

I bank for free, pay bills automatically for free, insurance is deducted automatically ~ none of those hidden fuck you fees because I'm not in that desperate financial situation.

Off to the cheap grocery store because I have a car that will take me there. Working poor folks with no transportation are stuck paying double the price at QuikStores and various robber stores on the bus line.

March 26, 2007 4:55 PM  
Blogger LSL said...

What a totally depressing and necessary discussion. I'm (maybe) young, single, and childless, and health insurance is a huge burden for me. I currently pay $400/month and have been unemployed for 10 months. I was just wondering about putting my health insurance on a credit card, but I've finally found a job. I can say I haven't gone one day for at least four months without worrying about my insurance coverage. Isn't Obama lucky to not have to give this much thought?

March 26, 2007 4:58 PM  
Anonymous tater said...

I hear you loud and clear Kusala, and I agree with your scenario about 70% the time. The other part of me looks at our stubborn and violent history, and I think Americans have enough gumption to throw down and get bloody. We are not pacifist, do as your are told people, at least not yet. Depends on the complacency of the video game generation. Who knows though? Some little couch potato smarty pants may just hold the key to a computer virus that could monkey wrench corporate/czarist america to it's knees without need for bloodshed. I just hope idealism and the "get up, stand up" vibe continue to burn here.

March 26, 2007 5:10 PM  
Blogger Debbi said...

My husband (a physician) and I belong to an organization dedicated to the way health care is managed and delivered in the U.S. Before we were married, we paid nearly $500 a month for private coverage for me, and will pay more than that when he retires. My premium went up a minimum of 10% every year.

Go to:

http://www.pnhp.org

for their solution, which even has a plan for retraining all the insurance company employees who will be out of a job when we finally get this problem solved.

Also? Don't be shy about letting your Senators know where you stand. Here in WV we have two Democratic Senators, but one (Rockefeller) is a closet Republican. He totally defends the businesses (insurance and big pharma) that profit most from our current healthcare policy.

If the government doesn't bankrupt the country fighting this stupid war, our current healthcare system will. In fact, most bankruptcies are now filed as a direct result of astronomical medical bills.

March 27, 2007 7:13 AM  
Blogger Debbi said...

Oops. That first line should have read dedicated to changing the way health care is managed and delivered. Sigh. Not enough coffee!

March 27, 2007 7:16 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

debbi ~ thanks for the very hopeful post. that your husband is a doc and believes the system isn't working is heartening.

although medicare doesn't pay physicians enough for service, administrative costs for medicare are almost nothing compared to those of private insurance. i think that's an area where a lot of money could be saved ~ a simplified, single payer system instead of this craziness we deal with now.

March 27, 2007 8:37 AM  
Blogger Debbi said...

Also, the whole argument against so-called 'government' insurance goes right out the window when you consider that Medicare, Medicaid, PERS, the military, firefighters, policeman, etc. are all provided health care through government – either federal or state – funds.

Can you tell this is a hot-button topic for me?

March 27, 2007 9:31 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

debbi, that makes me think of the bumper sticker i used to see a lot down here: "if you love the US postal service, you're going to love socialized oil."

well . . . i do like the postal service. think they do an incredible job when you think of all those little teensy bits of paper flying around every day. so . . . i think i would like socialized oil and i know i'd like socialized medicine. it has to be better than this.

my stepdaughter broke her neck in an auto accident two years ago. hospital sent her away, said she was fine. still in pain days later, went back to the ER and discovered the fracture.

they gave her a collar, told her to see a doctor. no insurance, no money. can't be done. couldn't get any doc to see her, wouldn't even make an appointment.

March 27, 2007 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Lynn@mymixedcompany.com said...

I am worried about this because I think that most people think that this issue is solved simply by throwing money at it. If you look at countries who have universal healthcare, the QUALITY of that healthcare tends to wane. You have, oh I don't know, one rusty mammography machine per town? I am totally blowing this up, but you know there is an issue here. How to offer universal healthcare that is the same GREAT quality to everyone? I have always worked for "the man" so I have never had an issue getting healthcare, but to pay over $700 is fucking insane and makes me furious. I don't know how to fix it, but the person I intend to hire into the White House better have a good idea.

Someone needs to tell Barrack that being black is not all it's going to take. I'm kind of over him wearing his color like a Treacy hat--it's getting old. Isn't being "unprepared" on this issue the same as "my dog ate my homework?" PU-LEEEEEEEEZE.

March 27, 2007 6:30 PM  

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