There are plenty of scary health scare stories circulating out there vis-a-vis our proposed health care reform. This one went blind without coverage; this one will go blind if we change our current system. And so forth.
I've already added my own two cents here -- $751.23, actually, the amount we pay each month for a family of four, as both The Dude and I freelance. That covers hospitalization and related tests and a stipend for sick and well-care visits. Everything else, we pay for should we need them, including drugs; rehabilitation; home nursing if needed; mental health care. On top of the monthly premium, which is about 1/3 of what we pay for our mortgage and taxes each month, and is more than we spend on food and transportation.
So, I get sick.I think it's a cough and I'll get over it, but it doesn't go away. It ebbs and flows; some days better, some days worse. I have other stuff to attend to, like kids with their own coughs, and deadlines. Finally, I'm Sick. You know. When you just can't function anymore.
I go to the doctor, who diagnoses a bad bronchitis. We discuss the small possibility of pneumonia, and she says, given my health care policy, that we should perhaps hold off on getting a chest x-ray for now, because that would be forever on my health care record. The takeaway message: It could imperil my current and future insurance coverage. Apparently, if you actually get sick, the insurance company doesn't have to pay. Come again?
She also gives me drugs (suitable for both bronchitis and pneumonia) for free. Expensive drugs, drugs that would have cost me some $200 in co-pays on my former employer's plan. I imagine they might have cost some $400 out of pocket. I'm happy, because I really need that money to buy a new computer, because I need it to earn my living and contribute to the hopeful renewal of our glorious nation's economy.
But wait! Who's paying for those free drugs? Do pharmas really have that much profit, to give so many samples for free? Because this isn't the first time I've gotten freebies, and I know some of my other freelancer friends have as well. Or are they taking the costs of these samples out somewhere else, like raising prices for people who can afford them even less than I?
As for the chest x-ray -- I think we're test-happy in this country, and it's one reason for the ballooning health care costs. When my neighbor is told to get an MRI for a stomache, you know something's wrong. But three days from now, if my chest still hurts, what next? Do I wait it out a little more, or risk potential bankruptcy from having no insurance?