I'm in turtle mode again, avoiding the media, because I just can't watch how the current health care reform is playing out. It's just too painful. And enraging.
I beg your patience while I elaborate. The Dude and I pay $751.38 each month for a health care plan that doesn't cover drugs. I don't have the option of a high-deductible health plan with a health-care savings account, because it just doesn't exist in this state. Too expensive for the insurers, one agent told me; too many sick people in the system already, draining it before the likes of me could have hopped on board.
Here's the kicker: We could reduce our premium to some $530 per month, with far more comprehensive coverage, if we were a small business. If I joined The Dude's payroll, instead of being my own little profit center. Nice, right? Individuals suck. Businesses rule. Have a nice life!
Meanwhile, that $751.38 of after-tax money keeps flying out the door every month. Every month. While lawmakers fiddle, special interests fawn and some folks who just like things to stay messy tell endless lies.
What if I get cancer? Chemo, out of pocket. There's something to worry about when you can't sleep at 3 a.m. I know I do! And this is for 3:30 a.m.: How is my Dad going to pay for the assisted living facility my Mom will eventually need -- as nearly all dementia patients eventually do? He embodies the American Dream; from humble beginning, studied and worked hard during his life; he saved; he paid off all his damn mortgages and debts...for what? To be bankrupted by an increasingly common condition?
And hey, we're the lucky ones. The uninsured muddle along, straggling to the emergency room if they get really sick, where the costs go...back to us. That's right; there are only so many hospitals and insurers and Medicaids out there. When dollars get racked up somewhere, by someone, we all pay. Hence my post title.
How did we get here? Watch that knee jerk; it's not necessarily Big Pharma that's the problem. Perhaps it's doctors who order an MRI for a stomach pain and we who go ahead and get the test. It's people like one of my babysitters, who gets an expensive endoscopy every year to monitor her acid reflux, but who refuses to give up her coffee and diet soda, which are big contributing factors to that condition, as she well knows.
Having lived in Europe and enjoyed the efficient, spotless and inexpensive health care there, suggest we turn our eyes across the pond as we hiss and claw our way toward a solution. If we ever get there. Oh, and that horrible Canadian system some are using as proof positive that national health systems don't work? Canadians love it.