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As they economy worsens, people are going to be forced to cut back and do without in ways that may shock you.

Healthcare is one luxury many Americans are ditching.

In United States healthcare is a luxury.  We are the only industrialized nation that refuses to embrace the concept that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

We are burdened with a broken system which has steadily shifted costs away from the for-profit insurance industry  and onto the shoulders of already heavily indebted American families. Year after year, as state insurance commissioners looked away, our premiums increased by draconian amounts (mine went up 18.5% this year), and our benefits were cut.

The federal government also looked away as the insurance industry wreaked havoc in our lives. We are at the point where most Americans have insurance in name only.

Why has government abdicated its role as a regulator of the predatory insurance industry and our protector of last resort?  Because this  industry spends millions and millions of dollars lobbying and in campaign contributions.

Now the day of reckoning for the United States has arrived.

As the economy collapses, and unemployment skyrockets, many Americans will find themselves forced to delay necessary healthcare. Though they may have so-called insurance, the high deductibles and huge out-of-pocket costs,  make healthcare for tens of millions of our fellow citizens an unaffordable dream.

Some Americans are accessing medical care through Remote Area Medical. Its original mission was to bring medical care to Third World countries, but RAM found a huge need for its services in the United States.

As I often say, no need to believe me about how bad things are. Forbes is reporting that Lab testing companies are struggling financially as Americans postpone routine lab testing.

On one hand, laboratory testing companies are facing a dismal year as Americans put off routine tests because of the high cost and lack of health insurance.

. . .LabCorp, like other laboratory testing facilities, has been hurt by the decreased volume of patients using their services. As more people lose their jobs and subsequent access to health insurance, fewer are getting routine and even necessary testing done due to their high costs.

And I'm sure everyone remembers, kwickkick who explained the grim reality of what happens when you delay care. What really does happen when you suspect you may have a problem, but decide not to go to the doctor?  Well, small and easily treatable problems, become big and potentially life threatening health crises.

Tragically, many Americans are in the same situation as kwickick. They need medical care but are either uninsured or like most of us, underinsured and fear huge medical bills and financial ruin, so they do without.

Cutting Back On Health Care

The recession has caused many people to re-examine their budgets, but for some Iowans the cutbacks can be hazardous to their health. A study examining health care during the recession shows doctor visits in the U.S. are down 15%, and one in nine people are limiting their medicine, taking pills every other day or in lower doses.

Janet and Charles Fillman dine at the Southside Senior Center several times a week, where money is the hot topic. Between them, the Fillmans have had a heart attack, multiple strokes and diabetes. That means a lot of medication. Janet hits her insurance gap almost every year, where she has to pay 100% -- last year $800 in one month alone.

John Mikovec takes pills that cost up to $4 each. That's enough to give some seniors a reason to stop taking medication, or just take them every other day. Mikovec says it's a thought he hasn't followed through on -- yet.

"If I did it I would do it as an experiment," Mikovec said.

Schedulers at metro doctor's offices have heard the excuses, and Dr. Mark Jones has seen patients try to avoid paying for an office visit.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

And if you really want to hang your head in shame, The El Paso Times has a Seniors Fund which collect money to pay for dental care for seniors who cannot afford such a luxury. Why? Because as a society we have decided that the most vulnerable among us are disposable.

This criminal state of affairs is far beyond what a so-called civilized nation can endure any longer.

President Obama, as a down payment, you must commit to bring affordable and guaranteed healthcare to the American people in your inaugural address. You must do this for kwickkick and all those desperate Americans, who elected you.

Please tell President Obama that single payer is the only solution.

God help us if President Obama fails to deliver.

Originally posted to nyceve on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 05:42 PM PST.

Poll

Is the recession causing you to delay healthcare?

6%59 votes
5%54 votes
3%36 votes
8%77 votes
11%109 votes
9%95 votes
5%55 votes
27%269 votes
6%62 votes
3%31 votes
11%114 votes

| 961 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hope you'll take a moment . . . (218+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mirele, claude, hoipolloi, qwerty, vicki, tmo, Peace JD, catdevotee, TrueBlueMajority, Shockwave, OLinda, oysterface, eeff, willyr, devtob, mrs deedop, sobermom, exNYinTX, shermanesq, opinionated, bronte17, Cassandra77, groggy, PBnJ, cosmic debris, roses, JuliaAnn, javelina, skwimmer, Miss Blue, emmasnacker, mrkvica, MTgirl, Nina, churchylafemme, betson08, John Driscoll, barbwires, Oaktown Girl, mainefem, OrangeClouds115, PJBurke, lurker123, boran2, KathyK, vivens fons, Gowrie Gal, Jersey Joe, historys mysteries, marina, Tinfoil Hat, NoMoreLies, TexasTom, waitingforvizzini, PBen, Alice Venturi, LtdEdishn, one of 8, panicbean, stitchmd, catleigh, Brooke In Seattle, KiaRioGrl79, bleeding blue, flo58, Pam from Calif, GreyHawk, ladybug53, wiscmass, USexpat Ukraine, Eileen B, playtonjr, Spathiphyllum, begone, ksingh, dus7, MissInformation, mcronan, socialist butterfly, Debbie in ME, Milly Watt, vigilant meerkat, sherlyle, BlueInARedState, emeraldmaiden, Themistoclea, KenBee, cliffradz, dewey of the desert, mcartri, dennisl, goodasgold, SherriG, tecampbell, MJ via Chicago, Lashe, Libby Shaw, justalittlebitcrazy, NearlyNormal, CTLiberal, Preston S, boatsie, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, sirenoftitan, Persiflage, doingbusinessas, va dare, Dreaming of Better Days, kurt, airmarc, pseudopod, expatyank, markthshark, b3citizen, tegrat, AmericanRiverCanyon, One Pissed Off Liberal, Noor B, DrSteveB, BeninSC, Cronesense, Fredly, SharonColeman, moodyinsavannah, godislove, moosely2006, Wino, NCDem Amy, terabytes, joyful, crose, millwood, Moderation, gchaucer2, cececville, Spedwybabs, TomP, Red no more, JDWolverton, alkalinesky, rogerdaddy, ChocolateChris, rontun, geez53, Youffraita, Cassandra Waites, Jeff Y, Tam in CA, mofembot, kyril, fool mee once, MinervainNH, dont think, Guadalupe59, magicsister, In her own Voice, CatJab, ZhenRen, Tennessee Dave, jedley, JonBarleycorn, SciMathGuy, Bule Betawi, number nine dream, Imavehmontah, carolyn urban, TheFern, Stranded Wind, earicicle, mrchumchum, mkor7, WobegonGal, Daily Activist, John Shade, virginwoolf, redtex, jemjo, allep10, common green, Bene Gesserit1, Sarahsaturn, Emalene, Wendy Slammo, Lazar, miss SPED, Sand in Florida, dditt, fidellio, chrome327, wvmom, JellyBearDemMom, plankbob, fl1972, AJ in Camden, pateTX, sluggahjells, addisnana, MsGrin, sayjereese, the3Cs, josebrwn, Edna Krabappel, Actbriniel, JerichoJ8, gobears2000, DParker, bluebuckaroo, backwardsinheels, Mistral Wind, Flowing, princesspat, FlCarat, LUlion07, New Aeon For Change 93, Jenny Cash, BlackBandFedora, MCinNH

    to respond to the poll.

    •  Although the crisis in the economy makes (20+ / 0-)

      it financially more difficult to tackle single payer immediately, perhaps the urgency makes it unavoidable for Obama to take this on right now. A possible silver lining in the very dark cloud hanging over us?

      Sweet are the uses of adversity...Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It.

      by earicicle on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 05:47:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You left out a critical segment of the population (37+ / 0-)

      and one that is often overlooked.

      _ I am self-employed and paying high premiums for private insurance.

    •  Eve, I have patients who STILL have insurance (29+ / 0-)

      and are delaying care because of costs. Lots of them. On private insurance and on Medicare. It's criminal.

      But it's still a bigger problem than that. At the hospital where I work, the anesthesiologists are now requiring that any patient who is going to be sedated for a colonoscopy must undergo a full pre-operative evaluation, which will dramatically increase the costs of this important, potentially live-saving screening procedure. And I've seen little data to suggest that it will significantly change the outcomes in any way.

      You wonder why we have the most expensive healthcare system in the country? The problems are myriad.

      I'm beyond disgusted.

      Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - WSCoffin

      by stitchmd on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:56:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the timing of this diary is synchronicity (22+ / 0-)

      in its essence.
      I have had the honor of meeting Nicholas de Torrente, ED of MSF (to us Americans Drs w/o Borders and just yesterday I wrote him a long proposal outlining the idea the MSF consider seeking funding for beginning operations in the US...
      using the paradigm they use in crisis situations, they bring in a term of experts, work and train local health care providers, provide medical information and 'how to" literature in native language, move on to next disaster.
      My proposal brought up the fact that Obama has said he would provide $4000 in tuition cuts for students who do public service ... that medical students could be encouraged to pursue careers in general care if they were working in community based medicine sans the interference of the insurance cos ... etc. I sugggested that a fund raising drive within the US might focus on corporations who had engaged in excessive and possibly illegal profiteering and appeal to the idea that they reframe their brand as social entrepreneurs.

      basing this upon their charter
      From theMSFwebsite:
      From MSF website:

      Today, MSF provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters
      snip
      MSF's work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality. The organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation.

      Here were the points I made:

      1. malnutrition: From US Dept of Health in 2007 (08 numbers below)

         * 36.2 million people lived in households considered to be food insecure.
         * Of these 36.2 million, 23.8 million are adults (10.6 percent of all adults) and 12.4 million are children (16.9 percent of all children).
         * The number of people in the worst-off households increased to 11.9 from 10.8 in 2005. This increase in the number of people in the worst-off category is consistent with other studies and the Census Bureau poverty data, which show worsening conditions for the poorest Americans.
         * Black (22.2 percent) and Hispanic (20.1 percent) households experienced food insecurity at far higher rates than the national average.
         * The ten states with the highest food insecurity rates in 2007 were Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Maine, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

      1. healthcare

      Another challenge facing US policymakers is to improve the performance of the health system. Notwithstanding very high health spending (about 15% of GDP) and the use of cutting edge technology, the health status of the US population does not appear to fare well by international comparison. The United States ranks poorly in terms of life expectancy at birth, infant mortality and "amenable mortality" (i.e. mortality that can be averted by good health care). While there are factors beyond the health care system itself that contribute to this below average health outcome and/or higher health expenditures   such as the relatively high risk of death or injury from violence or accidents, the higher prevalence of obesity and of low birth weight babies, and the cost of the medical liability litigation system and the associated practice of defensive medicine,   these factors do not appear to explain all of the gap in performance between the United States and other countries.

      A particular source of concern is the large number of people who lack adequate health insurance. It is estimated that 46 million persons were not insured at all in 2007 (16% of the population), with a further large share of the population underinsured. With Mexico and Turkey, the United States is the only OECD country that does not get close to universal health care insurance. The large majority of the uninsured are people who are not offered health insurance by an employer, because they work in a small firm, work part time or are not employed. Most people without adequate insurance belong to lower–income groups, which have shorter life expectancy than average and have benefitted much less than others from improvements in life expectancy in past decades. It is therefore plausible that the significant and growing proportion of the population that is uninsured or underinsured is one of several factors that help to explain the growing gap in life expectancy between the United States and other countries. Although there are several public insurance schemes (such as Medicare for the elderly and disabled, Medicaid for the poor, and SCHIP for poor children), the number of uninsured is widely considered to be a problem that needs to be rectified. Making progress towards health insurance coverage for all Americans should be given a high priority on the policy agenda. OECD

      A total of 56 million Americans - roughly 1 in 5 - lack adequate primary care coverage because of a shortage of physicians in their communities, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers. When large numbers of people cannot get basic preventive care or early treatment for conditions before they become serious, costs go up, and everybody ends up paying higher insurance premiums and suffering reduced access to care.

      Conservative estimates by the University of Missouri and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration suggest that Obama's health plan will increase the workload of existing primary care physicians by 29 percent between now and the next 15 years. By the same period, the supply of primary care physicians will rise by only 7 percent, leading to a shortfall of 35,000 to 44,000 primary care physicians who treat adults. Overall population growth and a growing elderly population are driving the projected shortfall. SFGate

      1. Natural Disasters

      TVA coal sludge spill

      the coal ash sludge spill that occurred on December 22 in Harriman, Tennessee.-
      Most US coal ash ponds unregulated - NYT

      "Imagine better than the best you know." Neville Goddard.

      by boatsie on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:04:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, boatsie, we certainly could use . . . (10+ / 0-)

        the heroes at MSF(Doctors without Borders) in the United States.

        If I can help you with this in any way, please drop me an email, I would be honored to do so.

        God bless them for the work they do.

        •  im going to send him a copy of this diary (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nyceve, mrkvica, mainefem, AntKat

          and can i ask you about posting this in Chronic Tonic over at Kossacks networking. Im compiling diaries relative to insurance issues in the hope that we can find some 'experts' to moderate discussions there. I am also reaching out to alternative treatments (such as findings in neuroscience relative to autism, depression, brain injuries, fibromyalgia, lupus etc., pitching how much free publicity they could receive by writing about their work here (or being interviewed for a diary here) and included in these queries is the request for information on how these new treatments are less expensive ....

          "Imagine better than the best you know." Neville Goddard.

          by boatsie on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:18:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  hi boatsie, please feel free to post . . . (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mainefem, MCinNH

            anything I write where ever it might help.

          •  if you need help on autism (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MCinNH

            get in touch with me: expatyank (at) yahoo.com. I'd be happy to help with running down the evidence for what's out there.
            It's worth noting that because there is no accepted medical treatment for autism, the field is full to the brim with charlatans happy to relieve families of their money. The idea of treating developmental disabilities is pretty fraught in any case--education and support is really the key.
            BTW, this does relate to the insurance issue though, because a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder in most states still means your child is uninsurable, which means no care for all of the medical problems that any child might have. There are also several medical problems that are not part of but are more prevalent among the autistic population, and so many people with ASD do not get the same care that others with the same condition would receive. Gastrointestinal problems are a great example. These CAN be sorted, usually with dietary changes, but I long ago lost count of the number of parents I've spoken to in my professional capacity who have been refused help "because it's part of autism" (not according to the DSM, but who's looking?) I also have met many adults with ASD who have suffered unnecessarily for years with GI tract problems, mental health difficulties etc. for the same reason.

            Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
            "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

            by expatyank on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 12:53:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I have insurance but I'm afraid to take a day off (13+ / 0-)

      I have a big foot injury, but I haven't had it attended to because I don't want to piss anyone off by taking a day off, and I'm afraid it might lead to more time off to treat / heal.

      Another thing to consider.....

      ::

    •  I don't see myself in the poll, Eve (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nyceve, mainefem, KathyK, RAZE, allep10, Flowing

      I had to give up my job when I couldn't return to work after a medical accident.  Because of prior disability, I already had been on Medicare when I became disabled a second time (one is able to retain Medicare when one returns to work if the underlying medical condition persists, if I remember the language correctly).  I had other health insurance when I returned to work, but was unable to afford those payments when I became disabled.  Because I have spent down my entire retirement savings, I can't afford the 20% outlays for Medicare and have opted for a Medicare replacement plan.  My prescriptions (part D) are covered through the plan (I don't believe that there is a donut hole for me, but my drugs are pretty cheap compared to others) and I also get one dental cleaning and exam per year and modest help with eye care and glasses.  The plan I'm in now is a lot better than what I've had before in terms of them giving me clear and correct information about whom I can see and when (although I have a dispute with them now on something I got cleared ahead of time and then they denied).  

      Impeachment in the New Year, please.

      by MsGrin on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:11:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What a mess - Mine is a little off, in that ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluehawk, mainefem, KathyK, expatyank

      Yes, we're unemployed and yes, we have COBRA ... BUT the insurance cards have yet to arrive (8 weeks on) so we've been paying for everything out of pocket until we "officially" have insurance - @ $1,200 for prescriptions in the past two weeks, plus $400 for the kid's opthamologist appointment, and just watch what happens when I try to get the insurance co. to reimburse me for all of that once our paperwork is finally straight. Even though the prescriptions are supposedly covered and the opthamologist is in network. They'll just say "deductible."

      ARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

      You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do. - Anne Lamott

      by javelina on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:53:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  None of those fit my situation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, Leap Year

      I lost my job and my health insurance in July. When I landed a temporary job, I contacted my former employer about COBRA. Because my former workplace's ownership had changed, I was run around to the old company, which couldn't help. By the time the business manager connected me with the right company, it was the final day to apply. Obviously there was nothing I could do. Looking back, I also realized that if I had done it, I would have plummeted back into the debt I've been crawling out of for the last five years due to trying to keep paying health insurance premiums back when I was freelancing (1998-2003).

      When my temporary job ended in November, I was re-hired by my former workplace, still uncovered for the first time in my entire life (and I'm over 50). I will have coverage again — pretty decent and affordable coverage) — 90 days aftr my starting back to work, which will be February 10. I pray every day to stay healthy. I'm not sure I would see a doctor for anything less than an emergency even with coverage because I'm concerned about losing my job again and never being able to get coverage for anything less than my entire income because of being on record as having a "pre-existing condition."

      It's pure insanity that we don't have single-payer yet.

    •  How about... (0+ / 0-)

      currently uninsured/out-of-work, and thus STILL delaying the health care that I couldn't afford when I was paying circa $200 a month out of my circa $20k per year paycheck for Harvard Pilgrim's mid-grade plan, because the premiums were too high or tests that I was told to get weren't covered - and of course it didn't cover dental, and where would I get the money to fix three broken teeth out of the circa $50 per week that was left over after paying the rent?

      "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

      by bellatrys on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 04:48:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I fear there's going to be another category (0+ / 0-)

      With the cheap labor conservative recession picking up steam, there are going to be lots of businesses go belly-up.  When there is no longer a company paying for a health insurance plan there will be no COBRA option.

      For those who don't understand COBRA, it's a law that provides that if you lose your job you can elect to continue your company-sponsored insurance by paying to your ex-employer the full premium the company pays for as long as the company has a plan or until the benefits expire - 9 to 18 months depending on the employer.  No employer, no plan, no COBRA.  

      What we call a system is a nightmare.  A tangled web of deceit and torture by the fine print.

    •  i couldn't answer (0+ / 0-)

      because i don't fit in any of the categories...i am employed but my health insurance is thru the state's adult basic program (which i have to say isn't nearly as bad as I feared- went to the ER early Mon AM w/what turned out to be kidney stones...25 bucks copay and the rest was all covered...and my prescription- no prescription coverage but we do get a "discount"- cost less than 2 bucks for a handful of oxycodone for the pain at the time)...my job i now have does offer health insurance but after reading thru the options it's true junk and the only advantage to it was prescription coverage but i decided i didn't want to give up decent medical coverage at a very cheap price for horrible medical coverage, horrible prescription coverage for a so-so price...i'm more and more convinced every day that single payer universal is the answer to this horror

      DC: 1/20/09 or bust! Party to end all parties!

      by Spedwybabs on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 06:24:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we delayed care we might live longer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kewalo

    given the rate that people die with poor care

  •  Yes, and Yes... (22+ / 0-)

    I'm 48 years old and without health insurance for the first time in my life.  My health issues are manageable so far, but I wonder how long that will be the case.

    It's very scary, and certainly changes your perspective on the whole issue of universal care.  It's time...

    If Bush can revoke a pardon, then surely Congress can repeal FISA immunity!

    by Red no more on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 05:46:59 PM PST

  •  love the poll, although i fear a bit of (20+ / 0-)

    self-selection bias, since people with crap insurance and no jobs may be more likely to click on this diary. I voted that I have a job with crap insurance. There's a $2000 deductible for "out of network" providers and a $1000 deductible for "in network" providers.

  •  I've had healthcare for the last (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PBnJ, mainefem, Ozzie, AntKat

    10 years after leaving UPenn because of my partner - and I've never taken any advantage of it. Fine for me - I hate fucking doctors. But I wish I could give it away to someone in need - wouldn't that be great?

  •  Taking on the insurance companies (14+ / 0-)

    This came up in a health care diary a couple of hours ago.

    I'm a single payer fan, but I think that Michael Moore had the right idea in SiCKO: we need to frame this as a fight with the insurance companies.

    This is still counter-intuitive to a lot of people who want single payer, who want to talk about its benefits over other solutions.  But it's like George Lakoff points out: it's impossible to not think of an elephant.

    Government run healthcare is the insurance companies' elephant of choice.  Our elephant needs to be the insurance companies.

    Once the argument is about why insurance companies cause harm in the system, you can more easily shape the kind of discussion we need to have about replacing it.

    "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

    by mbayrob on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 05:52:00 PM PST

    •  Shameless promotion of my diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem

      Single Payer Health Care will never pass

      I hope that providing the link will help add to the discussion.

      "I stood on the shoulders of giants - and I still couldn't see for shit" George W. Bush

      by Imavehmontah on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:47:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  While sympathetic, I disagree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, Imavehmontah

      You can't frame an issue effectively by having it be against something.  It is intellectually lazy to spend time bashing private insurance companies, when they are a result of the system and not a cause of it.

      I have a few suggestions for framing.  First off, the debate about single-payer is not a debate about facts.  Single-payer is easily shown to be superior to any other method for financing healthcare, and you'll notice that it is never challenged otherwise.

      But it is a debate about values.  Single payer is a system in which all contribute and all benefit, so if that value appeals to you then you can support single-payer.  The current system is one in which you get as much healthcare as you can afford.  If that is more consistent with your values, then stay the course!

      •  Of course you can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tegrat

        I'm not sure what's intellectually lazy about the approach.  But even if it was -- that would not be relevant at all.  The real question is: what changes opinions, and what motivates people to vote.

        Negative framing is extremely effective.  Talk to the LGBT community in California.  Negative framing is what passed Prop 8.  We fought off Walmart in this county; the campaigns most site fights use are negative framing campaigns.

        You do what works.  If positive framing will work, use it; on the whole, Obama got himself elected that way.  But if needed, negative framing is highly effective.

        Could not care less if some folks thing it's lazy.  That's not the right question.  The question is, what works.

        Hitting the other side on the failings of the current system is why we are having this debate, and we have Michael Moore and the folks like the California Nurses Association to thank for that.

        "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

        by mbayrob on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 12:42:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  again, I don't think negative framing passed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Imavehmontah

          Prop 8, they framed it as pro-family.  sure, there was plenty of negativity on both sides, and unfortunately their side won.  I say it's intellectually lazy, and I don't mean to be a smart-ass, only because it requires very little real thinking.  This is not a simple 30-second issue.  It takes time and care to educate people about single-payer, and the only way this movement will win is by the grassroots.

          I appreciate that sniping at the private insurers may be a valuable way to get the ball rolling, but I think we need to dig a little deeper than that.  And I stress that PI is a result of the system, not a cause.

  •  After having worked for the same... (21+ / 0-)

    employer for over 25 years, I now find myself in the position of being "underemployed", meaning that my job has been reduced to 3 days per week, about 6 hours per day.  Because of my many years of loyalty, that same loyalty was given to me in that I will still retain my health insurance.

    On the other hand, I have to meet a deductible now of $1,500 per year (and this at the rate the insurance company would pay for charges).  Last year, my employer paid $398 per month for my premium, and I never met my deductible, despite tests, doctor visits, and prescription costs of $200 per month.  This year, my premium has increased to $578 per month with the same deductible based on what the insurance company would pay.

    I cannot blame my employer for the slow-down in the economy, or my work.  I am thankful I still have somewhat of a job, and health insurance if something serious happened at this time.  I don't even want to discuss dental insurance or maintaining my dental health at this point.  

    Instead, I wonder how I can keep my entire house going on an income reduced by 2/5ths, my other half facing unemployment (again), and my adult daughter moving home because she has also lost her job.  I didn't even ring in the new year with joy this year...  Despite that, I know people worse off than I...

  •  nyceve, (8+ / 0-)

    Just dropping in to make sure you saw this...

    Stimulus to Offer Health Subsidies for Jobless, Senator Says
    Wednesday 07 January 2009
    by: Lisa Wangsness, The Boston Globe

    http://www.boston.com/...

    ...and wondering if you would comment.

  •  I have good insurance (13+ / 0-)

    and a job that ends in a month and a half, and I'm going through some health issues and wondering what happens when I don't have insurance anymore...

    •  If you have health issues and go without (7+ / 0-)

      insurance for a certain period of time, you become a member of a new class: The Uninsurables. Private Health Insurers don't have to provide coverage to you. Then, your only option will be to find coverage through a federally supported plan like CHIP at the tune of about $10,000 a year.

      Do Not Become An Uninsurable. Once You Enter This Class, It's Almost Impossible to Exit.

  •  What seems to be left (23+ / 0-)

    out of the employment and health statistics are people like me -- the self-employed.  Right now, I'm severely underemployed because of the area of law I practice (and competition from those who have other specialties).  I haven't had health insurance in over a year.  I recently delayed going to the doctor re: a cat bite (mine, the evil one).  My arm swelled up, red lines started creaping towards my elbow and I couldn't use it because of the pain.  

    I resorted to putting local organic honey on the wound because that generally works for me for infection.  Not this time.  Had my friend not come up the next day I would probably be who knows what.  Now to pay off the enormous cost of ER, 2 antibiotic IV drips, minor surgery and pills.

    And my story is pathetically minor compared to millions of others.

    Thanks for the diary and all your hard work.

  •  As the economy worsens? H/C has been unavail.. (18+ / 0-)

    able for 40 million people at least before 2007 as best I can tell.  What is different today is that more will join this select group of Americans who our country at large believes do not deserve health care because of affordability, which links to income, which links to good old Darwinian survival of only the best Americans.  

    A dairy posted here a few days ago was from an individual who put off a trip to the doctor for a diagnosis, only to find out that it was pancreatic cancer---too advanced by the time the diagnosis was made.

    It's clear to me that the rule in America about health care is:  be good enough, be valuable economically enough to be worth of health care, and if not, well maybe you made the wrong choices in life and so deserve your fate.  Am I wrong?  If I am wrong, then why do we have 40+ million and growing without health care?  

    Many people are already dying, they just can't afford to find out.

    •  I keep hearing things about what Obama (0+ / 0-)

      is going to do to help out those who have insurance and are employed. I fear this fits with the whole "be of value economically" value that you so aptly describe.

  •  I have health insurance through my job (12+ / 0-)

    It is a top of the line Aetna plan. And my job pays well. Still I find myself unraveling co-pays for all sort of things.  If I had any serious illness I would be out of luck too, even if I don't get laid off.

    Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action -1.75 -7.23

    by Shockwave on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 05:58:52 PM PST

  •  during Poppy Bush's recession in 1991 (11+ / 0-)

    I remember a pediatrician telling me that his patient load was down because more parents were delaying or skipping routine physicals for their kids.

    No doubt this is happening frequently now as well.

    Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

    by desmoinesdem on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:03:21 PM PST

    •  Most people with HMOs and/or high deductable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AmericanRiverCanyon

      plans gave up on "routine physicals" ages ago. Who can afford them? You will have to pay out of pocket on top of the outrageous premiums noted by other posters.
      Hate to rub it in, but this has all passed me by since 2001, when I moved to the UK and instantly had coverage for myself and my family via the NHS. The rest of my family in the US, however, has had every horror story imaginable in the health and insurance realm (except for death due to non-coverage, thankfully, though it could have happened with my granddaughter but for sheer luck).

      Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
      "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

      by expatyank on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 01:12:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm on COBRA, but don't know how long (9+ / 0-)

    I'll be able to pay that, we'll see...

    Perhaps millionaire pundit. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will give me a loan...

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:03:36 PM PST

    •  I don't know what to say about Sanjay . . . (9+ / 0-)

      I guess I'm rather taken aback, that Obama would consider a teevee doctor for this important position.

      •  We could always give Sanjay J. Elder's advice (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nyceve, PBnJ, mainefem, tegrat, Richard Lyon

        Because after that interview with Moore a couple of years back, it's nigh certain Gupta's a real wanker.

        "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

        by mbayrob on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:10:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The only thing I can think of... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem

        is that the Surgeon General is truly a talking head, and the person in this position will NOT formulate policy, just mainly be the public spokesperson for it.  In that case... given that we want and need huge reforms, having a well-spoken, presentable, articulate person to help do the "selling" makes sense.

        I'm under no illusion that Gupta's hands are clean of pharma money (I don't think there's anyone in the medical industry who is 100% clean, at this point), but he's at least presumably a Democrat given his service history, and he certainly is recognizable and able to communicate well on television.

        He's not qualified to formulate policy but Obama seems to have other people for that.

        •  unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slinkerwink

          According to yesterday's Washington Post piece, "Obama told Gupta he could be the highest-profile surgeon general in history and would have an expanded role in giving healthcare policy advice."

          not just a competent talking head...

          •  That's Obama's standard line though... (0+ / 0-)

            for luring people into cooperating (or taking jobs).  "You will have a voice" and "give advice" doesn't mean "You will be in charge of making policy".  It simply means he'll give the guy a hearing.  He's promised to give everyone and their dog a hearing, up to and including neocons, so that part doesn't bother me much.  If I actually thought he was going to follow the advice of some of the radical right instead of just listen to it... I'd be a lot more pessimistic. :)

        •  I have to assume (0+ / 0-)

          I have to assume that is Obama's intent: that Sanjay is going to be the salesman for the policy and the plan.

          I mean, I hope.

    •  Be sure to convert COBRA to a private plan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PBnJ, mainefem, expatyank

      within the required number of days, or you risk losing your eligibility for health insurance in the future. Then, if you decide you want health insurance coverage, you may find that health insurers deny you and the only coverage you can get is through a federally supported plan at exorbitant rates. Depending on age and location can be $10,000 or more a year.

      •  would you mind telling me more about that? (0+ / 0-)
        •  Here's something I posted on an earlier diary. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mainefem

          A website with information is the US Department of Labor's page,
          What is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)?
          http://www.dol.gov/...

          And here's the relevant info:

          What if I am unable to obtain new group health plan coverage?
          You may be able to purchase an individual insurance policy.  HIPAA guarantees access to individual policies to eligible individuals.  Eligible individuals:

          Have had coverage for a least 18 months without a significant break in coverage where the most recent period of coverage was under a group health plan

          Did not have their group coverage terminated because of fraud or nonpayment of premiums

          Are ineligible for COBRA continuation coverage or if offered COBRA continuation coverage (or continuation coverage under a similar state program), have both elected and exhausted their continuation coverage

          "Significant break of coverage" is defined differently by each state. In some, it is as little as 63 days, so be sure you apply to individual insurers way in advance of your ending date for COBRA. It took 9 months for my application to one insurance company.

          •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            figbash

            Yes, and if you can roll directly from one group plan to another, they can't ding you for or exclude you on a preexisting condition.

            COBRA lasts 18 months, I believe. Make sure to be covered in another plan, if you can, before you hit that "break of coverage" limit after your COBRA runs out.

            Oh, please, get us universal coverage and end this madness!

  •  I'm one of those statistics (9+ / 0-)

    I lost my great benefits when my grant funded job ended. Can't afford Cobra but was going to buy catastrophic. Then I had a tooth break, leading to a $2k dental bill. So much for health insurance. I am putting off even preventive check ups right now because the dental costs set me back so much.

    Take the Kama Sutra. How many people died from the Kama Sutra as opposed to the bible. Who wins? FZ

    by cosmic debris on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:05:51 PM PST

  •  Lost my job of 21 years yesterday! (21+ / 0-)

    I will work out my contract into May, but I was told yesterday that I will not be renewed.  

    I'm trying to find the silver lining.

  •  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you down there (10+ / 0-)

    My heart goes out to all of you, south of the border.

    Sure, he comes across quiet and avuncular. Until he gets mad ... then he sounds like God on a bad day. ~ Dallasdoc on Senator Patrick Leahy

    by KiaRioGrl79 on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:05:55 PM PST

  •  It's beyond comprehension what medical care costs (11+ / 0-)

    My father was in the hospital 5 days.  Fall and possible heart attack...and about two days in ICU.
    $33,000...and that doesn't include the doctor's fees.  He's on Medicare and has supplemental...so it won't be the nightmare it could be.

    Still....$33,000 for 5 days?

    The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

    by Persiflage on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:06:48 PM PST

    •  oh yes (17+ / 0-)

      I just spent one night-- one night-- in the hospital following a back surgery.  Not including the surgeon or anesthesiologist, it was over $69,0000.  Imagine how I felt on Friday when I got the rejection from the health insurance company.  Two days after getting laid off.  But don't worry, the motherfucking hospital just billed it to the wrong BCBS.   However, I spent an hour hyperventilating and nearly threw up on my shoes.

      I'm a classic example of what's wrong, here.  I have spent $30k out of pocket in the last three years for back injuries.  I've now been laid off, and having spent my savings (I'm youngish) on my back, I'm losing my home.  Our health care system is just awesome.  I'm lucky enough to have a partner who is willing to rush things a bit and cohabitate, because he doesn't want to see me move across country to move back in with my parents.

      This sucks balls.  It just does.

      •  OMG -- $69K? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem, Losty

        Yikes. I had back surgery in '92 or '93. Best Neurosurgeon in the upper midwest. I was in the hospital 2 nights. I remember one of the bills. Something like $17K which I don't recall if it was everything or not (probably not). I ended up paying out of pocket about $700, and that was being insured by a non-profit where I worked who had a self-funded plan.

        Chaos. It's not just a theory.

        by PBnJ on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:01:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cost of living, maybe? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PBnJ, mainefem

          I live in Los Angeles.  And I'm lucky in one sense--- I've paid SO MUCH out of pocket this year, I'm well over my max, so I don't even have to pay a co-pay for the surgery.

          Now I have the joy of getting my physical therapy--while meeting my $1000 deductible.  And paying my $450 monthly premium, since I don't have a job anymore.

          •  It's too late for this money-saving tip, but (0+ / 0-)

            there's always next year.

            If you've reached your out of pocket, then fill all your prescriptions at the 3-month supply at the end of the year. It'll cost you nothing and save you a bit in the new year.

            My insurance company made me go through an extensive "Try other drugs" first before they would approve a $120 prescription. Kind of incredible since I've had two life-threatening Steven Johnson reactions to medications  and my doctor advised against my taking the other drugs. Which meant that I went without the drug for three months and then the insurance company allowed me to fill it. Well, it isn't a drug I need to take every day so I held off getting it filled. Then, I reached my out of pocket and the first thing I did was go and fill it for three months at no charge to me. If they hadn't given me time to think about it, I probably would have just filled it for one month only. But the script sat in my dresser drawer until I could afford it and then I realized I could get 3 months for free.

            •  see now, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PBnJ, RAZE

              Even after I've reached my out of pocket "maximum", I still have to pay any co-pay under $100.

              But I did get as many packs of birth control as I could so that when I claim mucho $$ medical at tax time, I've gotten everything in I can.  

              Why should it be this hard to be healthy and safe?  

              •  Bummer, once I reach it, that's it. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                qwerty

                SInce I had thought I was cancelling my insurance in December, I went to hordes of doctors the past few months. I finally got weary and just announced to the doctors that I was there for whatever symptoms and because I had reached my out of pocket expenses and would not be able to afford medical care for the next six months, so could they please do any tests possible they might be considering now?

                I explained all this immediately after the doctor walked in the room. One doctor thanked me for not wasting his time and letting him know my situation upfront. Most ordered a few blood tests or other tests. One gave me a prescription to fill in case the current drug didn't work out.

                I think doctors are as fed up with things as the patients are. (Maybe not all drs, but many)

                •  I agree. (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  figbash, RAZE, expatyank, Imavehmontah

                  My surgeon was horrified when I told him that I'd spent $30,000 and that I didn't have time to waste, anymore, on alternative options, and could I please have as many surgeries as they thought might be helpful before the end of the year...

                  I'm just so beat.  I'm so tired of being afraid of my health insurance company and of what my body is going to do next, and of my mailbox.  Every penny is gone, I'm over my head, I'm losing my home, I've lost my job.  There's just nothing left.  Every single day is an obstacle course of fear and terror and debt and chance.

                  •  Do you get irritated by the people who complain (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    qwerty, figbash

                    about how $400 payments a month for medical premiums take such a big chunk out of their paychecks?

                    I suppose I should be more understanding as everyone's plight seems the worse to whoever is going through it, but I think a lot of people truly do not know how bad it is.

                    I do not have a home to lose, but I worry about not being able to pay rent.

                    Zero tolerance to me means zero spending on anything other than rent, utilities, insurance, and food. I've got it down pat. It used to be that I never left the house without some cash on me but now I can easily go 30 days or more without spending one penny in cash.

                    When I go to sleep (or try to anyways, I usually lay awake for hours), all I do is add up in my head whatever money is coming in from freelance jobs and what bills are due. Bills like hospital bills and doctor bills don't even get opened. It's rent, and insurance premiums, and taxes.

                    And as far as my job - I freelance but the lucrative assignments have dried up. Instead of $3500 assignments every 2 weeks I'm taking jobs that pay $750 for 8 weeks' worth of work and I'm grateful for them. But since I have some brain impairments, it takes me 4 hours to do what I used to do in 1 hour. So these low-paying jobs take up lots of hours.

                    I'm glad I have some opportunities, and I know I do not have it as bad as many, but I do think many people are kind of unaware and that frustrates me.  If I were not paying $10,000 a year for insurance at least I'd feel like I was somewhat more capable of managing my life.

                •  My doctor (0+ / 0-)

                  My doctor just does not deal with insurance.

                  He gives you a scrip to send in to your own insurance, but he will not deal directly with insurance.

                  I completely understand his position. He is a DOCTOR, not an accountant or insurance adjuster.

                  A friend of mine is a podiatrist who does take insurance, and he (and his wife) spend one full day of his office week just doing insurance paperwork. That day he is not able to see patients at all.

        •  Oh, man, 92 or 93? (0+ / 0-)

          That was centuries ago in health care cost terms.

      •  If you have not done this to date be sure to make (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem

        them an offer on your out of pocket.  They will negotiate if they have to send it to collection, they will only a % anyway.  This of course if you can afford any part of it.

      •  Most hospitals will give deductions for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem

        low-income people. Ask for charity assistance (not a payment plan).

  •  Answers: YES and YES - n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nyceve, mainefem

    If we choose someone to inspire us, then we will be able to face what comes our way and achieve things we can't imagine yet.

    by desertguy on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:09:09 PM PST

  •  United Healthcare (14+ / 0-)

    I switched from Aetna to UHC this year because what was really good insurance on the Aetna front got gutted and co-pays went up big time.

    I've spent the last few days trying to get an authorization for out of network mental health care so I could continue to see the guy I've been going to.  UHC Behavorial Health thinks I don't exist even though I have a member number. It's fucking bizarre.

    When do I get to vote on your marriage?

    by tvb on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:10:00 PM PST

  •  No, I Delay Dental Care BECAUSE I Have Ins (9+ / 0-)

    I need half a dozen root canals and crowns, but can only do I think two a year.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:10:52 PM PST

  •  Question for you nyceve: (8+ / 0-)

    Do you really think Obama is going to advocate for single payer??  I don't.  

    What will your reaction be when Obama puts forth the same plan he advocated during the campaign?  

  •  Good friend has trouble seeing (15+ / 0-)

    Finally went to an opthamologist pretending to be her daughter who is insured through spouse's job.

    After nine months of wearing sunglasses and having red eyes and routinely feeling like she had sand in her eyes and being unable to drive, she was told by the urgent care doc that she has dry eyes and needs to see dry eye specialist. He did offer Rx and OTC drops which did help.

    Imagine having to pretend to be somebody else in order to get to see a doctor here in what is supposedly the wealthiest nation on earth?

    Friend is self-employed, doesn't earn enough to be able to pay for private insurance.

    What a country, eh?

    Oh look over there, Congress is fixing to bail out some more... bankers!

  •  The politics of health insurance (9+ / 0-)

    has always been that just enough Americans had health insurance that was just tolerable to make them afraid of the idea of change. If this recession is as monumental as it looks like it's going to be, there might be enough Americans with no insurance at all to tip the balance.

    At this point it doesn't seem very sound to use the words single payer and Obama in the same sentence. There really aren't any indications that he supports the concept. That or something else that is similarly radical is going to be necessary to fix the mess. The system is broken and simply tinkering with it the way he's talking about isn't going to get it.

    •  Don't be dissuaded by Obama's campaign stance (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RAZE

      During the campaign, his priority was to get elected.   He can be persuaded that single payer is the right way to go.  But you probably cannot expect him to provide the leadership.  It's too risky, and he has other issues he must deal with.  This is where an organized grass roots movement can make all the difference.

      Read the description in Ron Heifetz's book Leadership without easy answers about how the Civil Rights Act was passed in the 1960s.  It is a good illustration of how this can happen.  I think Obama will support this kind of change.

      "I stood on the shoulders of giants - and I still couldn't see for shit" George W. Bush

      by Imavehmontah on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:57:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm barely employed and on the junk (9+ / 0-)

    I recently purchased good ol' junk insurance.  If I wanted something like I had in Grad school it would be something like $400-600/month.  With the junk it is $70/month.  A no, I'm definitely not going in to see a doctor unless it is necessary.  I'm on the hook for the first $5000.  After a year going uninsured, I got a little nervous and had to go with the junk.  

  •  My own story is boring and (7+ / 0-)

    not at all indicative of the average American.

    I've only lacked health insurance for about a 2-year period after college when part-time jobs didn't offer insurance.

    I've been 'unemployed' (freelancing) twice, once by choice and once via lay-off. Both times I paid for COBRA at ridiculous prices and never needed it. I kept it the first time for 15 months and the second time for exactly the maximum 18 months before getting a FT job.

    The first time I was on COBRA (near the end of '98), the coverage was decent and my cost was $102 per month. Five years and seven months later (early 2004), my cost was $222 per month and pretty damn good.

    I've been lucky being able to find jobs and being able to afford COBRA.

    Chaos. It's not just a theory.

    by PBnJ on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:22:09 PM PST

  •  I could have checked at least four answers (14+ / 0-)

    on the poll.  I haven't had full-time employment for six months, although I've managed to find a bit of consulting work on my own.  But that doesn't even cover the mortgage, to say nothing about insurance.  And Cobra's expensive!

    So I've become my own doctor.  Two nights ago I aspirated a lump on my wrist by myself, using a syringe I used to give a ferret shots two years ago.  It's pathetic, I know.  I learned all about ganglion cysts on the internet.  The lump is a lot flatter now...I just hope I found the right diagnosis.

    •  "doctoring" ourselves (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, RAZE, AntKat, FlCarat

      I think we all should learn more about "doctoring" ourselves.  Who knows what the future may bring.  There are a # of booksout there talking about how to do just that.

      another  

      Find your own voice--the personal is political.

      by In her own Voice on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:36:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not recommending it... (3+ / 0-)

        but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

      •  The doctor who cares for himself/herself (0+ / 0-)

        has a fool for a patient.

        Be educated, be an advocate for yourself, be involved in your care.  But don't be your own doctor.  Denial is much to powerful a psychological force for this to be a safe thing to do.

        I speak from more than a little experience.

        "I stood on the shoulders of giants - and I still couldn't see for shit" George W. Bush

        by Imavehmontah on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:59:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I pretty much do it already (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RAZE, Cassandra Waites

        For whatever reason almost every doc I've seen in the past 8 years has been a total idiot. I've gotten much better results if I self-diagnose. Literally, I could say "I have x, y, z symptoms" and doctor will tell me to wait for it to go away (not even remotely exaggerating). If I walk in with "I think I have x condition/disease" they test it, with one exception I've been right every time, give me my treatment (usually; once seriously required water works) and i go home.

        Though the treatment part gets interesting, as I've had docs be unable to remember for more than 2 minutes that I have a penicillin allergy. 5 minute visit, my allergy came up twice. He gave me a scrip for an antibiotic, I asked "is this a penicillin relative" and he literally said "I don't know, let me check."

        And we have the best healthcare in the world? Ha!

        •  I had brain surgery 10 years ago. (3+ / 0-)

          Two years later the radiologist read my MRI and said the tumor was still there. So I have spent the last 8 years going to doctors who say, "You have a tumor," and "You have scar tissue." I told my brain surgeon (who says it's scar tissue) that I was planning to cancel my insurance in December because I could no longer afford it. He finally said, "It's probably a brain tumor not scar tissue."

          I asked why he had never told me before. He said it wouldn't make a bit of difference in how it was treated because it isn't big enough to operate. Yet, he knew I was planning to cancel my insurance over a year ago and only days before it was going to run out told me I still had a brain tumor.

          Maybe it's still good healthcare I've received, but I think a patient has a right to know her medical condition. I make important decisions - such as whether or not to have insurance - based on what my doctors tell me. The fact he's known all along really pisses me off. I still have a bad attitude about it.

          •  I don't blame you (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RAZE, Cassandra Waites

            I had to fight my clinic to get my test results from my 3rd round of tests. AND they wanted to charge me for them.

            My blood, my numbers. Give them to me!

          •  I am deeply saddened by your story (4+ / 0-)

            Your physician acted in a way that is indefensible.  He disrupted the trust that is at the core of any therapeutic relationship.  It's an issue tht you need to clear up with him/her as soon as possible.

            I can't find the right words to express my emotions.  I would apologize for your physician if I could.

            "I stood on the shoulders of giants - and I still couldn't see for shit" George W. Bush

            by Imavehmontah on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 09:31:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks, now I am crying. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Imavehmontah

              It only happened three weeks ago and I'm just now realizing how much it has affected me. It was kind of a double whammy learning that I really did have a tumor and two, that he knew and didn't tell me.

              He's still a far superior doctor than the one who performed the original surgery. He did not even tell me he was doing a craniotomy. Nor did he tell me what type of brain tumor he thought I had. He told me to bring in a male to discuss things before surgery. Unfortunately, all the males in my life were going through their own problems - some were terminally ill or had partners or parents who were dying, or wives who had just miscarried.  I asked him to tell me myself and he said no, women were too emotional and men listened better.

    •  I've learned more procedures (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FlCarat

      from owning ferrets. Little devils never get sick at convenient hours and there's rarely an emergency vet who knows what to do witha ferret, much less an insulonomic, seizing ferret. I can hydrate, aspirate, check glucose, vaccinate- I keep epinephrine on hand & know how to use it. I know the idea of drawing blood or setting an IV, though, thankfully, not had to try (it'd have be a very desperate situation).
      Ferret, cat, dog, goat, human, meh, what's really the difference?
      You can get sterile syringes and needles at most feed stores. I know a lot about sterilizing and I prefer not doing it at home.

      -7.50/-7.90 Everyone knows I'm out in left field.

      by WiseFerret on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:16:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, Yes (13+ / 0-)

    and yes.  I am an hourly employee and my husband's job went away about 7 months ago.  He has done fairly well freelancing, but we have to buy our own insurance now. Especially with two kids.  The problem is that the deductible is so high, I have postponed my own medical care for the time being..including dental.  Of course, the kids are another story.  We'll see that they have what they need, no matter what.

    The whole discussion is deeply troubling.

    "Our long national nightmare is over. The great undoing has begun." SusanG

    by SherriG on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:28:08 PM PST

  •  self employed, no insurance (11+ / 0-)

    for last 15 years--can't afford.  Thank god so far I've been able to get by paying for yearly ob-gyn visits.  Have gotten needed antibiotics from the latter, from dentist (also lost a couple of molars), and from health care providers in the family (dentists and now my daughter is a physician).  I don't know how others make it.

    Anyone ever considered making antibiotics available over the counter?  Antihistamines used to be by prescription only.  I'm thinking as bad as it is for some folks, there's not much risk for taking antibiotics except for overusing and having them not work for mutant strains.  I doubt anyone would overuse who can't afford them in the first place.  

    I guess some people have started mail ordering those from Mexico or Canada, though I don't always trust the quality or purity of drugs from Mexico.

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:30:17 PM PST

  •  junk ins. (10+ / 0-)

    Just want to chime in: My junk insurance started out approximately 2 years ago and went from $306/mo (just for me) to $336, and now beginning January it is $380.

    Since it's total junk, if I have a doctors appt. in a month, it will cost me 90 or so, so my bill for the month is $380 +90.

    Naturally I don't do any tests or have more than a routine check - - the minimum I need in order for the dr. to refill a subscription. Sometimes they will let me go for 3 months, but at least every 3 months I have to go in and pay $90-100 to let them see me so they will renew my prescription.

    What's killing me is that pretty much I know if anything serious ever happens and I need the insurance for a major problem, they'll find some way to deny me. So, why do I keep paying it? Good question. Fear and hope combined I guess.

  •  Unemployed, What Now? (9+ / 0-)

    I have not worked for 2 months so I have lost my insurance.  I have until the end of January to opt into COBRA (the end of 60 period) so I am going without for two months.  If, god forbid something happens, I can opt in.  As a practical matter, I can't afford COBRA at $450/month, but I will make every effort to afford a cheaper individual policy for as long as I can even though it does not cover $100/month in prescriptions.  I found a policy for $220/month that allows me to keep my GP with 6 co-pay office visits where the deductible is waived, so I can actually go for my regular "wellness appointments".

    A friend who works with elderly caregivers convinced me to keep insurance.  She said that if I were to land in an emergency room without any kind of insurance card, even a crappy policy, I might as well forget about it.  They won't touch you without insurance.  Further, she said to always call 911 to get there since the hospital won't turn you away as they might if you just walk in.  

    I just don't understand why we can't just pay as you go, like I do with my cat's vet.  But if you go there without insurance, you end up paying twice as much.  What a racket!

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Gandhi

    by flo58 on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:34:04 PM PST

  •  I've switched jobs (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nyceve, PBnJ, mainefem, KathyK, flo58, addisnana, FlCarat

    and have decided to try and ride out the month without coverage rather than pay $1,000 for one month's COBRA.
    I could pay out of pocket for quite a few doctors visits before reaching that threshold...let's just hope nothing major goes wrong.
    Luckily I've got new coverage starting in Feb...I can't imagine how unemployed people are paying for their COBRA premiums and other bills, even if they're collecting unemployment....we need acess to universal health care for all, Now!

  •  I think my rib might be broken (13+ / 0-)

    but I went to the emergency room last april and I still haven't paid for that... they can't really do much for a broken rib anyway, though, right?

    •  You are correct (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, RAZE, Cassandra Waites

      that most broken ribs just heal on their own.  Just be sure that there are no complications.  If you think it is a single rib, the liklihood is that the ribs around it will provide adequate protection and splinting to keep complications from occurring.  But there is still some risk of damage to underlying tissues if over the liver, spleen, or kidneys especially.

      "I stood on the shoulders of giants - and I still couldn't see for shit" George W. Bush

      by Imavehmontah on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 08:05:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  dental is crazy expensive (12+ / 0-)

    My wife just lost her job.... and sadly I'm going to have to delay some dental work. Dental work is just crazy expensive even though we are still on COBRA. The dentists are like used car salesmen- forever trying to 'upsell' you on tihs or that crown option etc.

    •  I'm lucky (0+ / 0-)

      my dentist hasn't tried to do that at all. My crown was $900 ($500 out of pocket, bah!) but he didn't try to upsell me on any aspect of it, and in fact discouraged me from getting some of the more expensive parts of it (like digital matching).

      The crown, at least, was necessary. Damn bike accident in the first 3 months after getting my grown up front tooth when I was like 6.

  •  junk insurance (10+ / 0-)

    I farm, so being self employed I pay for my own insurance. We have a $10,000 deductible policy, We seldom need a doctor, but we know we will never get an insurance payment unless something catastrophic happens to one of us. We are healthy, farm organically, so we eat better than most people and have eliminated the toxic risk most farmers have.  

    Still I would be more than happy to be part of a single payer national pool and help support those who are not as healthy as we are. I also would like to be less hesitant to go in for a yearly check-up etc., but when you pay for everything out of pocket you do tend to skimp and ignore.  

  •  I have insurance (6+ / 0-)

    with my former employer, but it's not cobra.

    But I've been putting off healthcare [mammogram, colonoscopy, using less Rx] because of the $$ involved.

    And I have it better than so many people...

    Bush's presidency is now inextricably yoked to the policies of aggression and subjugation. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:50:37 PM PST

  •  Eve, lost my job and health insurance in August (17+ / 0-)

    I'm 58 with some nagging health issues I am avoiding.

    I am on maintenance blood pressure meds that are generic so I'm OK for now. When my Rx's run out in May, I know my Doc won't renew without an office visit, ironically that's the same time my unemployment will expire. Don't think I'll be seeing him then because I'll be too busy figuring out how to keep my mortgage paid, etc. Hell, what's the use of being a healthy homeless 58 year old bag lady?

    Every day that I can get up and still go is a plus, but the stress of the what if's is probably going to kill me sooner than anything else.

    Bless you for what you do for our community.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand." Frederick Douglass 1857

    by AntKat on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:51:45 PM PST

  •  Well, then god help us (0+ / 0-)

    Cuz Obama is gonna fail.

    He's against single payer, so he has to fail.

    And...there ain't no god!

    Obama used to be for single payer before he came out against it.

    by formernadervoter on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:53:02 PM PST

  •  It's worse than you IMAGINE (16+ / 0-)

    "[A]s a society we have decided that the most vulnerable among us are disposable."

    Not collectively. The SOBs who rule us have decided that everyone but the ruling class is disposable. And since they have a stranglehold on the Traditional Media, they "catapult the propaganda" until they have everyone deceived, deluded and brainwashed into agreeing that yes, this is how things ought to be.

    To put it bluntly, we are rapidly coming full circle back to exactly what our ancestors rebelled against in 1776: the vast majority little better than abject slaves to a tiny, tyrannical ruling minority.

    Yes We Did! Yes We Will!

    by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:53:54 PM PST

  •  I know the feeling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem

    Even though I have relatively good insurance I've put off getting my wisdom teeth removed because of the cost.

  •  Laid off, can't afford COBRA (4+ / 0-)

    Luckily, I'm younger, healthy and I can afford routine care out of pocket.
    But I'm not going back to any health insurance if I can help it until reform covers everyone. Why?
    Because I think paying a health insurance company is tantamount to paying murders to kill people.  Even if my state decided to mandate it (like MA), I'd fight like a mad badger on the moral grounds that I'd be paying companies to knowingly kill people.
    I'm not sure if I got a job, if I'd want a healthcare benefit- especially if I could negotiate it as a pay increase. Outside the moral issue, I don't see the point of paying money to some one that when I do have a healthcare crisis, I'll go bankrupt anyway. Why pay for services I won't get when I need them most?

    -7.50/-7.90 Everyone knows I'm out in left field.

    by WiseFerret on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:06:08 PM PST

  •  We both need stuff done. (9+ / 0-)

    I need my teeth cleaned and stuff done about the gum inflammation. I need some work done on one ankle and there are bones in the foot on that side that need fusion. I need to go have some chiropracty done on my sacral area. Again. This all stems from a car wreck that messed up the foot...but you know how that is, bad foot throws everything off all the way up. (sigh)

    My husband needs shoulder surgery for a rotator cuff injury, work on his elbow for bone spurs, and both knees need arthroscopic cleanouts. He needs the rest of his teeth pulled and to get dentures, at this point.

    But as it is, we can't afford any of it, so it won't get done any time soon. Who's got four hundred dollars sitting around for a cleaning under sedation (yes, that is how bad my mouth is)? Not us. So there it is. I am praying for change.

  •  I did the survey for hubby and I but our (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nyceve, mainefem

    oldest has a limited use policy as a last resort with a 500 deductible. So in his case we just hope nothing happens in a minor sort of way. We would have to pay the deductible for him as he doesn't make enough to cover the costs.

    15,000 CA diabetic school kids in danger due to recent court decision.Shame on the ANA,CNA,CSNO. Info http://tiny.cc/uVmZF

    by foggycity on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:08:16 PM PST

  •  I wish McCain would make CEO's "famous" n/t (0+ / 0-)

    I/P Conflict - cui bono? Iran, Bush

    by JerichoJ8 on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:08:22 PM PST

  •  If I get seriously ill- I'm taking people with me (6+ / 0-)

    health insurance exec's preferred.

    I/P Conflict - cui bono? Iran, Bush

    by JerichoJ8 on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:10:40 PM PST

  •  The tragedy is that even though I am (5+ / 0-)

    employed and have passable benefits, should I become unemployed I would immediately opt for the cheapest insurance that will cover my ass in the event of a major medical event.  Why?  Because that's the only way I can maximize the benefit of my healthcare dollars.  I am much better off paying providers directly as opposed to trying to game the private insurers as a single subscriber.

    As an employee, I am offered a benefit that is a monthly sum to be applied towards the insurance plan of my choice.  I don't get any of this money if I choose a plan that is less than this sum, hence I buy the most expensive plan that is close to this sum in order to derive some benefit.  This is why insurance companies love employer-sponsored group insurance.  They can do just enough underwriting on the group to determine where their profit point is, and the employees are essentially stuck with buying their pitiful plans.

    Please give us single-payer!

  •  Crunch to crisis (14+ / 0-)

    My sister just lost her job.  She has some savings but it is rapidly being eaten up by medical expenses since she has cancer.  Her husband has been seeking work for the last year or so, and my sister was also job-hunting for the past 1 1/2 years too as she knew her job might be shaky (she was working in banking).  They were able to sell their house, although they took a huge loss on it.  So soon they will move into a spare bedroom at my place.  My sister's COBRA will cost over 1/2 of her unemployment check and quite probably the rest will need to go to her cancer care.  All of the stress has caused the cancer to flare up and as of this past Monday she restarted chemo - this week she was alternating chemo days with movers/packing days.  Somehow she and her husband will need to drive part way across the country from their place to ours.  She and I have spent the past week seeking doctors here who will continue her care and then she needs to make sure her insurance will cover that.  I voted that "I'm scared..." in the poll since it will now be me supporting both hers and my families.  Luckily we have no kids among us, but my husband has been disabled since a car wreck, and his "long term care provider" bailed on him years ago.  So far, my job is secure enough, but there's been some layoffs (that haven't yet reached technical staff) with most likely more to come.

    I've never written to this forum before.  I hope this posting is ok.

  •  Our daughter is dropping out of school (12+ / 0-)

    and has several chronic health conditions which would make her uninsurable, and she has to take several medications for her problems (not all are generics).  We hope she will be able to go back to school in the fall, but in the meantime we are going to do COBRA for her.  But I'd sure rather be saving the $400 plus a month towards her college costs than paying for COBRA.  But we don't dare let her be without insurance.  So we'll be paying for our own insurance and then her COBRA on top of that - plus the copays, deductibles, etc.  I'm worried, meantime, about being pushed into retirement by my work, and then the whole house of cards will topple.  

  •  nyceve (6+ / 0-)

    keep it up. Bless your vigilance on this issue!

  •  I am 60 and uninsured (12+ / 0-)

    and uninsurable.  A year ago I got sick and almost died.  I was unable to work ... no work, no insurance, no income.  Now I work very part time, live off of my daughter (bless her!!) and do not qualify for any of the public progams. Fun time.  I used to work in the health field and was horrified about the plight of the working poor;  little did I think that I would in their shoes.

    I have had to make some decisions about my health care ... better eating, more exercise, less stress (not much bothers me after almost dying) and fewer visits to my doctor. A word for good docs ... he is very supportive and gives me a break on his fees. The meds are what scare me since I am an insulin dependent diabetic.  I have also made some decisions about drastic measures (CPR, amputations,dialysis, etc.) and have reached some peace about living my life to the fullest, rather than worrying about some things that I cannot control.

    I hope every one understands that "single payer" will not solve all our problems.  As a country, we need to prioritize prevention and think hard about how our medical dollars are spent.  Much of the money spent in hospitals is spent in the last few weeks of life with unnecessary procedures.  The "big toys" that are duplicated within blocks of each other also drain the available money. Well ... all that said, single payer is the only way to go.

    But fighting the insurance companies will be an uphill battle. Here's to a good fight!

  •  Couldn't vote in the poll... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nyceve, mainefem

    ...self-employed, insured through wife's insurance, but when "allotted" amounts run out, have to defer further / continued care until the following year, which simply means ever-increasing cycle of costs and interrupted care.

    Two options come close, but -- in terms of insurance -- I'm ~somewhat~ employed and the coverage is basically good...if someone is completely healthy to start with, and stays that way.

    A corrupted government. Patriots branded as renegades. This is how we roll.

    by GreyHawk on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:26:32 PM PST

  •  Hopefully this will help a few people (6+ / 0-)

    My mother, who is unemployed and uninsured (as I am as well now) has found out about a couple of programs that might help others here.

    If you live in southern California (in particular Riverside county), are in need of emergency health care, and are unemployed, uninsured and have few assets, there is a program called MISP (Medically Indigent something or other). It is run through the county hospital.

    MISP

    Also, several of the pharma companies offer free or discounted prescriptions for those who can demonstrate need.  My mom was able to get all 3 of her very expensive monthly prescriptions covered for free or close to it.

  •  I haven't had medical insurance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nyceve, mainefem

    since I could no longer pay the premiums charged by the Wyoming State Insurance Pool in 1998. Of course I have delayed going to the doctor, dentist and eye doctors. I have a pair of glasses that I have worn since 1995. At the time I got them they cost 580 bucks. I can get them much cheaper online these days but the exam is still well over a hundred. I just got my last tooth crown paid off but my foster dog chipped my front tooth and I'm sure it is cracked--I can hardly afford 700 more dollars for that.

    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

    by crose on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:28:53 PM PST

  •  I have a job and insurance...but (5+ / 0-)

    I am penalized for taking time off to visit the doctor.   It was once noted that I was abusing my sick leave because I took too many days off.  This was a government job.  I had serious medical issues that I did not think was any of my male bosses business.  

  •  This is all so hard to read.... (10+ / 0-)

    I just turned 62. I am unemployed. I let my Cobra(thru ex spouse and church) expire last May. In 2003 premium was $200. In 2006 was $458. In 2008 went to $620/mo. I got my flu shot at a grocery store and a pneumonia shot at Walgreens for $40. I have low blood pressure, good cholesteral (160) and no obvious issues. I try not to think about being uninsured. When I do I hope I just stroke out or have a fatal heartattack. I put a card in my wallet where the health insurance card used to be. It reads,

    "I am uninsured. If conscious, I would refuse treatment based on my inability to pay. If I am unconscious, and you treat me, do so only if you consider it your contribution to reforming health care in America."

    I have been reading "Health Care Meltdown" by Robert H. LeBow M.D. nyceve, have you read? what else would you recommend?  Early in the book, he is for single payer. He has a whole chapter "Single payer will not fly? :A Response"

  •  nyceve-- see excellent story in LAT today (10+ / 0-)

    This is about Blue Shield dropping insured people when they became sick. Now the companies are trying to settle while requiring those they dropped not to sue them.

    This is a kickass story by kickass reporter Lisa Girion

    ...To obtain medical reimbursement, the settlement requires consumers to waive their right to sue Blue Shield.

    That's a bad idea, said William Shernoff, a Claremont lawyer who represents rescission victims and is pressing a class-action case against Blue Shield.

    "The reimbursement of medical bills is the least amount of damages" in some cases, he said. "That's like one-twentieth or one-fiftieth of what people are owed. While people were rescinded, they couldn't get medical care and their medical condition was aggravated. They went into bankruptcy. Where's the compensation for that?"...

    http://www.latimes.com/...

  •  I dno't have insurance (8+ / 0-)
    and worse- I have a progressive hearing loss and need new hearing aids. There are few insurance companies that pay for these things and they are way overpriced- Up to $4000 per side. Anything under $1000 is crap- they are almost unusable as far as sound quality goes.. The state Rehab and disabilities program will only pay $900 for one aid, whether or not you have a loss in one ear or two, and you cannot co- pay. So what am I supposed to do when I can't hear conversation, much less music?

    OK, Obama's President. NOW can we fix New Orleans?

    by azureblue on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:44:11 PM PST

  •  Didn't vote (14+ / 0-)
    No choice matches my situation:

    Monthly income: $2100
    Health insurance premium: $876

    Using up my retirement savings to make the payments.

    "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

    by denise b on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:46:18 PM PST

  •  To be 100% fair, (6+ / 0-)

    kwickkick has a form of cancer that isn't routinely screened for, that often isn't caught until it's very advanced and starts causing symptoms. This is true under the best of circumstances, if the person has access to first-rate medical care.

    But, yes, it's galling and horrible, on principle, that kwickkick wasn't able to visit a doctor just as soon as he started having symptoms. This never would've happened in a single-payer country...

  •  I'd always been hale and hearty. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, karmsy, Losty

    Until the past couple of years.  But I can't afford a check-up, even though my wife gives me hell about it.  What would I do if something evil were wrong?  

    Other than buying as much life insurance as I could afford and blowing my brains out, all I could do is suffer knowingly, instead of ignorantly.  And maybe I'm just creaky from age.

    I cross my fingers and knock on wood.  Dental care is almost as scary too, though we managed to finance a root canal and crown after I put up with the futhermucker for a year or so.

    I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

    by SERMCAP on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:53:05 PM PST

    •  Many vacations vest in January (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, Losty, SERMCAP

      Mexican dentistas await at about a quarter of the American price.

      Get your passport if you want to fly back home.

      •  I read a piece in the "Times" travel section... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem

        ...about this and have considered it.  Affording the trek is the issue.  I've got a dentist now, after the financed root canal and crown, but I can't afford to go back.

        Part of it is my fault, of course, since being a procrastinator and broke are not 'accidents,' in any honest accounting.  Yet, I'll bet the American way isn't the only way.  I haven't seen "Sicko," but I've read about it and Cuba's system quite a bit.

        I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

        by SERMCAP on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 08:15:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Health care reform is the KEY issue (4+ / 0-)

    for the Obama administration. Bigger than the economy (directly related to it) or foreign policy in my opinion. It defines the very basic of human dignity.
    Daschle and Obama will go against one of the most powerful assortment of interest groups there is (and there are many of them in health care). I'd like to see the "industrial - military complex" addressed at some point, but if health care reform is the only major achievement of the Obama administration, he has my vote again.
    And I'm healthy, without pre-existing conditions, and with decent (I think) insurance (I guess, as long as I'm healthy and kinda young, they are nice to me).

  •  I owe my insurance (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, RAZE, Cassandra Waites

    to my disability.
    As an able-bodied person, I'd have no insurance at all.
    I want justice . . . for everyone.

  •  LabCorp is falsely billing me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, Lashe, Cassandra Waites

    I go to a free clinic. The clinic says they will cover the testing bills. I still have to pay for meds.

    Anyway, LabCorp sends me the bill for the test the clinic required and promised to pay for. I email the clinic. They say they are covering this, and I won't have to pay. LabCorp sends me a second bill. I contact the clinic again. They say, do not pay, we're handling this. Now LabCorp sends me its past due notice and says they will begin robbery - sorry, debt collection - against me.

  •  Insured get a discount-uninsured pay retail (5+ / 0-)

    I'm a lucky retiree who still has insurance from my employer.

    We know that the insurance companies negotiate with providers for reduced fees. But an uninsured person is expected to pay the full "retail" cost.

    I have diabetes so I have quaterly blood work and a doctor's visit. I received an EOB from my insurance company this week for my last visit. Here's what an uninsured person would be charged and what the insurance company pays (I pay 20% of that allowance after a $500 deductible - until the deductible is met I pay the allowance):

    Doctor Visit - Actual cost $159, reimbursement $32.29

    Lab Tests - Actual Cost $225, reimbursement $21.73

    So the uninsured get royally screwed.

    I am amazed though at the negotiated discount compared to the regular charge.

    I certainly wouldn't be able to pay for this kind of preventive maintenance without insurance.

  •  Operation Enduring Hope. (8+ / 0-)

    In 2006, I had my PhD, a great job with great benefits and salary, had just married the love of my life, had a new baby, bought a home and looked forward to some really good times.

    2007 was a REALLY BAD year.

    I lost my Mom to brain cancer in July. She ended up paralyzed because she was waiting for her medicare insurance to kick in before getting an MRI. She was 3 weeks away when the tumor ruptured.

    I had previously lost my really excellent job because I needed to move to care for her. I lost my new, excellent, job to Federal budget cuts to science in August. Then I lost my home in November because after months of looking for work there was no money left for mortgage payments.We burned through our 401Ks paying for Cobra because we had a 1 year old daughter.

    In Dec 2007, I lost my beloved Uncle, Mom's baby brother, to newly diagnosed small cell lung carcinoma yesterday. He was 62. His back was hurting in October and they insisted he go through workers comp and do excercises for 2 months, before the cancer was discovered ( in his bones, brain and lungs)in December.

    When I ran out of unemployment,I was turned down for food stamps and medicaid because my previous job was too good. My baby was un-insured for 5.5 months because she would only qualify for SCHIP at the end of 6 months.

    My husband and I lost every penny, my brother almost died because he wanted to die after ending up in the hospital and being hounded by creditors. He is losing his house this month.

    Suffice to say, "Hope" ( and a good dose of humor)is the only thing that has been keeping me going.

    I recently took a job in New Orleans where everyone has made us welcome and where eveyone understands "it can happen to anyone".

    The plight of others is the plight of a nation

    Yes, things are terrible all over. But, things are not terrible all over too- (Jon Carroll)

    by csuchas on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 08:42:07 PM PST

    •  I'm glad you are in a place (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, Lashe, Cassandra Waites

      where everyone has made us welcome and where eveyone understands "it can happen to anyone".

      Once I was really at the very, very, very bottom and did not have any hope. I hung in only because I knew nothing else to do. Gradually things changed. Now, when things get bad (as they are starting to again), I just remind myself that things do eventually change and I have to ride it out.

      You've been riding it out for awhile now. I hope the tide is turning.

      And I am sorry for the loss of your mom and uncle.

  •  If my wife didn't have a "traditional" job, I'd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, Lashe

    be probably be screwed.

    I've only worked for small businesses (like four of them in 12 years, they tend to go belly up) before I chose to go it alone as a free-lancer 18 years ago.

    Two of the companies I worked for had insurance plans, but my wife's plan was better. I was able to work out a special monthly payment from one employer to offset the deductions my wife was subject to due to my coverage.

    But since 1992, I've been self-employed. I could do that because my wife has a stable job. Her job doesn't  pay particularly well, but it does provide us with access to affordable medical/dental insurance. She likes it, but it's not fair that she's kind of stuck there just so we can have access to good insurance.

    I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

  •  not only do premiums skyrocket each year, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, Cassandra Waites

    the copays also go up, as well as the maximums (limits) and deductibles. Meaning that the true increase per year is much higher.

  •  Yes and Yes. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, Lashe

    I lost my job a couple of years ago. I've done a bit of consulting since then, collected some unemployment, and drained my savings to get by.

    For awhile, I had an individual high-deductible "catastrophic" health insurance policy, but canceled it a few months ago because I can no longer afford it. The umemployment has run out, my bank accounts are empty, and I have put my house up for sale. Yes, I have delayed medical care because of costs. My plan is to take care of some of it after my house sells.

  •  Self-employed should check out NASE (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coldwynn, Lashe

    National Association for the Self-Employed. http://www.nase.org/

    I just signed up with them for health insurance for my whole family that will save us $430/mo vs. the COBRA plan we have been paying after my wife left work.

    They use their 600,000-member clout to negotiate good terms with insurance companies, and offer a la carte plans where you only pay for what you need (via customized riders to a basic plan). And, the whole family is covered by all the benefits.

    Plus, NASE has a lot of other benefits and services for the self-employed - free accounting and legal business advice, big discounts on dental services, and a lot more.

    I know it sounds like an ad, but I have absolutely no relationship with NASE or association with them other than recently signing up as a member and applying for their health insurance, after doing a lot of shopping around and dealing with insurance brokers.

    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 09:29:47 PM PST

  •  This article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quadmom

    hits a little too close to home for comfort.

    This problem needs to be solved. If the dems fail to deliver in the next four years, they can go to hell.

    "Everybody just needs to stop being stupid and everything will be fine." --Me

    by Muskegon Critic on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 09:56:05 PM PST

  •  I have a job and decent health care insurance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lashe, Imavehmontah

    but two things-- I am worried that my employer might try to end the policy of no premiums paid by retirees after a certain amount of service, AND-- I feel guilty every time I use my insurance.

    Why ? Because I know so many others, including members of my own family, don't have the "luxury" of going to the doctor whenever they need to.

    I also don't understand the others I work with who have the plans like Blue Cross where they "choose" their doctors, etc. I watch and listen as they go through all kinds of handstands about referrals, etc.

    I belong to an HMO which takes care of everything with a minimum of fuss. I show up at midnight with a dislocated finger, or whenever with a pancreatitis attack, or some weird hip thing going on-- they take care of me. They do the tests, the CT scans the MRI, colonoscopy, whatever. It gets done. I send my primary doc an email regarding whatever I need, he makes the arrangements for me, bingo, it's done !

    Now, my HMO has been called out for some dumb things, and even some pretty major screw-ups. Some of its doctors have made some awful mistakes. But, candidly, in a lifetime of care for myself, my parents, and number of other family members, we have had damned few complaints, and nothing major.

    What I keep wanting to know is-- Why can't everybody have this kind of care ? We spend enough money in this country on crap-care, enough to pay for good care, even excellent care, for everyone.

    When will we have the will to make it happen ? If  not NOW, WHEN ???

    I must be dreaming...

    by murphy on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 10:07:30 PM PST

  •  Unemployed and scared (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lurker123

    I was laid off in October. My old COBRA had ended Sept 1, so I was on a temporary plan for a couple months that didn't really cover jack, but would have been there had something major happened.

    We were able to get health insurance through my husband's employer - that kicked in Jan 1.

     
    Today (1/7) he was laid off.

    We are SO screwed.

       
    Now we're both unemployed. No way to afford COBRA. I have an annual exam scheduled in two weeks, and I don't know if the insurance (a high deductable/HSA plan, though with 100% coverage for annual exams and prescription copays) will cover it or not.

    I had some kidney problems a couple years ago (complete recovery), so part of these annual exams is a set of blood work to make sure everything's still good. And getting new prescriptions written.

       
    The meds I need most frequently are thankfully generics, and aren't too horrible. (Helps that I now know the BCP is available at Target for $4/month, instead of the $40+ per month my regular pharmacy charged me! That will definitely be transferred.)  

    Unfortunately, although the Imitrex that takes care of my migraines just became available as a generic the price on the generic isn't much of an improvement. "Only" $395 instead of $435 - at least here in the US.

    Can anyone recommend a good Canadian or UK pharmacy with reasonable prices?

    I recently found out that our county is part of the National Association of Counties (NACo), which is working with Caremark to offer prescription discounts (NOT insurance). More info. It's free, so probably worth picking up a card to see if it helps.

         
    I was going to try to go to bed, but I don't think I'll be able to sleep right now.


    Those who say it cannot be done
    should not interrupt the person doing it.

    by Lashe on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 10:08:12 PM PST

  •  They're making some progress on my list (0+ / 0-)

    1. open CHIP up to all children

    1. open Medicare to all adult Americans
    1. have age-based Medicare premiums for non-disabled adults under 65 and standard Medicare premiums for SS disabled adults
    1. credit, without college year-to-college year carryover before 2012, 70% of the net tuition cost of full-time students in college
    1. effectively reduce Medicare co-pays for all people below age 65 [and starting in 2011 above 85] as of the first of the month that are also below 150% of the poverty line ASAP on a graduated scale from 19 to 5% based on federal government SS & IRS tax return records by posting reimbursement payments after April 2, 2009 to one's income tax account
    1. allow sign up in 2009, upon expiration or substantial insured adverse transformation of any existing coverage, and in July of even numbered years.
    1. require premium payments be made to Medicare or an employer-subsidized health insurance scheme until the amount Medicare has paid out on behalf of the individual has been exceeded, adjusted for inflation.
  •  not in the poll: I am retired ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redtex

    couldn't afford COBRA on retirement, now uninsured:  self, husband, 16-yr-old son.

    We are holding our breath til we can move to Canada (husband is Canadian).   We have been able to deal with medical, vision and dental on a cash basis for the last 5 years.  Thank Jeebus the diabetes my husband came down with this summer is being manageable with diet and exercise.  (If we were having to pay for insulin... )

    Yes, we are putting off some preventive maintenance...  I COULD be doing some dental work, and may yet, while we have a good dentist.  The boy has minor teeth straightening that we COULD be doing; it's stuff that can be done later.  We have NOT put off pit-and-fissure sealant for him -- he doesn't have a single cavity, let alone fillings!  

    The husband and I both SHOULD be doing "approaching old age base line" vision testing.  I SHOULD be doing several things like Paps, breast squishes, colonoscopy, because of my age, and I'm putting them off.  I have family history of both cancer and heart disease and there are probably other monitoring procedures I should be doing, if it were financially feasible.

    Yes, this country NEEDS SINGLE PAYER!  It needs Health CARE, not Health Insurance, reform!

    'We ain't what we ought to be and we ain't what we want to be and we ain't what we're going to be. But thank God, we ain't what we was.'

    by chimene on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 11:47:25 PM PST

  •  A public plan is on the table (0+ / 0-)

    Mr. Daschle, the point man for Mr. Obama’s campaign to revamp the health care system, supports the concept of "a government-run insurance program modeled after Medicare." It would, he says, give consumers, especially the uninsured, an alternative to commercial insurance offered by companies like Aetna, Humana and WellPoint.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

  •  Wisdom from Albany, NY: (0+ / 0-)

    "The Democrats have now got to perform," said Senator Thomas W. Libous, the Binghamton Republican who is now deputy minority leader. "They’ve waited for this for a long time, and now they’ve got to perform."

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

  •  yup (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, redtex

    i pay for my own insurance as it is not available throught my job.  yesterday i got my "new rate" information --- they jacked up the price 25% while furthering reducing coverage.  oh joy.

  •  Dear nyceve, you forgot one option: (3+ / 0-)

    "I live in a different country in which citizens receive low-cost, high-quality health care."

    I am grateful to live in France. I hope to be grateful to President Obama for helping all Americans get the care they need without fear of financial ruin... and to make it possible for me to move back to the U.S. if circumstances require.

    Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

    by mofembot on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 01:58:58 AM PST

  •  I am uninsured for 10 years and healthy.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AmericanRiverCanyon

    But...now I am forty-two and a bit concerned as I get older.

    The reality is, if I was sick I'd have no idea, other than an emergency room, how I'd go about seeing a doctor.  

  •  As you say "God help us if President Obama fails (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, AmericanRiverCanyon

    to deliver"

    The Democrats are very shortly going to have their filibuster  proof majority.

    What reason can their possibly be then for not finally bringing this long sorry episode to an end and joining the rest of civilization in defining Health Care as a Human Right?

    I am waiting but I am not holding my breath.

  •  I am worried about an ex-coworker. (5+ / 0-)

    There was a "reduction in workforce" (layoffs) where I work, and one of the people let go was a guy in my office - 61 years old, no sight in one eye, partial sight in the other due to a progressive eye disease. He has an old neck injury that prevents him from lifting anything too heavy. WHO IS GOING TO HIRE A MAN HIS AGE? With his health issues? He's too young for Medicare - how will he get treatment for his eyes?

    Dear God - what is this country coming to?

  •  $2500 deductible means delayed care (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, redtex, fl1972

    I pay for my insurance, and to keep the premium down I have a $2,500 annual deductible. On my very low income that means I pay for routine doctor visits and lab work myself, so I don't go, unless I am in pain. I know this is not the highest standard of care, but what am I supposed to do? Being poor and getting older has terrible consequences.

    •  I have a HSA, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      redtex

      which is all that is offered through my husband's job.  We have a $3000 deductible, so all routine visits we pay for.  This gets quite expensive with young children.  We also pay around $500 per month just to have this plan.  My sister lives in France. When people say  socalized healthcare is going to cause huge waits to see doctors, don't believe the hype.  My sister sees a doctor whenever she needs to and when her children were babies the pediatricians would actually come to her house.  Please...I am begging you to take more of my taxes and give us healthcare.  Atleast give me what the yahoos in Congress get through my tax dollars.  I want that healthcare.  Why the hell should I pay for their asses to go to the doctor but for my kids it is scary socialized healthcare.

  •  Care is limited (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, redtex

    even for those with insurance.
    The local hospital here is laying off 400 employees- due to poor reimbursement from insurances coupled with patient default on bills.
    That means less access for all.

    Here in America, our destiny is not written for us - it's written by us. Barack Obama 9/28/08

    by quadmom on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 04:50:21 AM PST

  •  I'm one of those people. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, nyceve, lurker123, redtex, fl1972

    Lump size of a golf ball on my neck and side, but to see a doctor means to lose my house, euthanize my pets and eventually, after all that, blow my brains out anyway, so why bother?  

    I feel hated. Not rational I realize, but that's how it feels. My community hates people like me and wants me dead. That's how it feels. (Actually, being southern, that isn't too far fetched. Piggy pigs like Saxby Shameless DO hate people like me and want us dead. Really.)

  •  According to the poll, only about 1/4 of us... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nyceve

    are fairly "secure" in our healthcare coverage.  VOTES people, votes are what speaks to these elected people.

    Wake up America.

    Lisa in CT, RIP Silver, Midnight, Jinx, Bailey, Princess, and Sparkey. Our pets who died Oct. 11th in our devastating house fire. We will miss you always.

    by JellyBearDemMom on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 05:30:44 AM PST

  •  hmmm (0+ / 0-)

    I can say 'yes' to poll choices #1, 3, 6, 10 & 11. yay!

    It was only a couple of flipper babies!

    by itsbenj on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 06:21:05 AM PST

  •  as it happens I have great coverage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine

    and an okay job that is secure.

    Of course I work for as a uniform officer in the federal government. In other words I have single payer!

  •  For years and years. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine

     Does anyone want to know what the downward spiral feels like? I'm 15 minutes from one of the major medical centers in the world. It might as well not be there.

    Republican concept of labor: "Machines of Meat"

    by redtex on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 06:39:34 AM PST

  •  You know I clicked that I had "decent benefits" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine

    But honestly I just have "relatively decent benefits".

    I grew up the son of a nurse who worked at a prosperous Northeast Hospital, ok prosperous is the wrong word for any hospital but lets say well endowed and in a high income area. But anyways back when I was a kid everyone on staff had pretty much the best insurance you could get just as a morale issue. Idea being that employees who provide better healthcare then they have access to will never be happy in their position. Everything was covered (after reinbursement in those heady pre-HMO days) and hospital stays were essentially free.

    My insurance is good, but compared to what I actually had when covered by her its crap. I am extremely lucky with my coverage. If I get sick or really need some kind of treatment it will be paid for. But this isn't great health care, its just good enough. I spend a ton of time driving to doctors many towns away when there are ones in my town I could go to but who aren't covered. I just take that as a matter of course these days. But really, how the fuck is this supposed to be a more efficient system, they just displaced their costs onto my time and labor.

    "Buying Horizon Milk to support organic farming is like purchasing an English muffin in an effort to prop up the British economy." -Windowdog

    by Windowdog on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 07:20:03 AM PST

  •  Haven't had health insurance for 10 years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine

    I was downsized out of my job and became a freelancer, so I have been self-employed for the past 10 years. I make a decent living but I can't find or afford health insurance.

    After my COBRA ran out, I tried to buy health insurance for myself, my husband, and my son. We tried to purchase a high-deductible/catastrophic care only plan from Blue Cross but they would not take me or my husband, only my son. The "pre-existing conditions" that kept us from being accepted were: I was slightly overweight and had taken prescription allergy drugs for three months and had seen a dermatologist one time for a minor condition which was resolved and not expected to recur. My husband had been advised by our primary care doctor to see a specialist for a small spot on his face that might have been pre-cancerous -- but he had not actually gone to the specialist. We were both in our early 40s, in good health, went to the doctor very infrequently and hardly ever took prescription meds. We went to an insurance broker who was also unable to find us any plan at ANY cost.

    I became very disillusioned and just gave up. Periodically during the past 10 years I have tried to find health insurance but it's always more money and hassle than I can afford. Luckily we have been  healthy, although our teeth are getting really bad and we periodically go to Nogales, Mexico for emergency dental care. It's 90 minutes away and the cost is less than half, although still usually more than we can afford.

    Now we're getting older and we are both extremely concerned about losing our house if one of us has an accident or is hospitalized.

    I don't know what it will take for America to decide that health care is a right, not a privilege. I want to be hopeful about whatever Obama has planned but I am not holding my breath.

  •  A carpenter's tale re health care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine

    10:34 AM 1/8/2009
    First, thanks to DK, to the post author,  and to all the people who have written comments about this important subject. The main post and all the comments almost make a whole resource book about health coverage, and even one reading of most of the comments has informed  me of numerous things I didn't know. Here's my 2 cents.

    A Carpenter's Story about Work and Health Insurance.

      I  worked almost 30 years  as a non-union carpenter in  Kansas, from 1975 to 2004,  primarily in remodeling, but also many new homes, condos, and apartments, form carpentry for commercial projects, such as a  school and a bridge across the Kaw; also, a year of building pole barns, and other projects.  It was work that gave personal satisfaction and kept me in shape, but generally paid low wages, was almost always dirty, and often dangerous.

     Due to the nature of this trade, (you have to go to where the work is, and that often means a new employer) a carpenter will, more often than not, have a work history of many employers over the years. Some get hired by larger, long-term successful, companies that do the high-end work and can keep good employees for many years.

         But around here, it seems that most of the new construction and remodeling is done by workers hired by small non-union employers of perhaps four or five carpenters and a laborer or two. Of course, there is a lot of variation from the one-man remodeler all the way to the big companies, but most of the employers I had over the years had no more than eight or ten people on the payroll, including the boss and the salesman and the workers.

        In all those years,  I never had a single job that offered health insurance, affordable or not.

       One employer, one time, gave applications for a group plan for the crew.  I filled the application out and turned it in, and was denied coverage for unstated reasons, (or for some pre-existing condition; it was years ago and I can't remember which).

        Not only was there no health insurance at any of my employers in all those years, many of them- perhaps a quarter of them-  didn't even provide Workman's Comp insurance, and would sometimes not even  mention it, relying on the general ignorance of the workers about the subject.

        Employers like this often pay cash. No Social Security or tax is withheld. Even though this is illegal- it IS illegal, isn't it? it is widespread, or was during all my years working.
        OSHA laws were/are also routinely ignored. Any protest by a carpenter or laborer about  a safety violation or  about not having on-the-job Workman's Comp would likely be met with "Well, okay. Now go pick up your check and get down the road"  response from the boss.
     Some employers hire the carpenter for an hourly wage and pay cash and then, when the job is done, say, "Oh by the way, I've got to send you a 1099
    for this" ...as if the wage-earner wasn't an employee earning hourly pay, but  a subcontractor. So the worker ends up owing a significant  
    percentage of what he earned- and most likely has already spent- to the IRS.
         And they (the employers) get away with it.

        I had worked back East before the mid-'70's; I had some expectations. But when I went to work in Kansas, it was like "welcome to the 1930's".

        And this was in the (mostly) "good" times for the homebuilding industry!  

       Houses cost a lot of money, but only a small fraction of that goes to the people who actually build them. The bankers who sit on their chairs all day, and the realtors and other middlemen,  make more than the guys who do the work.

        One employer, a framing contractor who later went on to become a local bigwig in the local Homes Association,  asked us to work on Saturday and  half a day Sunday-  IF we agreed to not ask for time-and-a-half, but would work for straight pay, not getting anything extra for over 8 hours a day or over 40 hours a week.  IF we agreed to that,  then we could work on weekends.
      And the carpenters DID work on the weekends, because even though they knew they should get time and a half, straight time was better than nothing.

       This was typical, not exceptional.

        On another framing job, a big  wood-framed motor inn, 3 stories, built during a wet and icy and snowy winter, one day the boss waited until the crew was gone to lunch- a "get there, eat, and back to the job with your tool belt on and working in thirty minutes" lunch- and then had the main GFCI protection  removed and replaced with standard outlets.

        These were the circuits at the power pole supplying electricity to the whole job. We had about a dozen strings of extension cords running about 150 or 200 feet through ice and slush, and eleven or twelve carpenters and laborers- all with wet clothes and wet shoes or boots.

         The reason the boss removed the GFCI safety was because ground faults from all the old cords lying on wet ground kept tripping the GFCI and shutting down everyone's electricity  every three or four minutes.

       So the boss did what he did so that we could all keep working. But he didn't tell anyone.

        When the rest of the employees got back to work after lunch, I went around and told the carpenters "When you were gone, M__ had the GFCI changed out,  so your tools are not safely grounded any more.  Be careful and stand on a dry scrap of plywood when you touch your cords or tools."

        No one complained, or reported it to OSHA,  because we needed the work and the income. This was in winter of 1996.

       On another occasion, different employer, different year, I had a work accident, one that spit and duct tape couldn't repair. A 12-foot long, 4-inch diameter steel pipe with a large commercial electrical weatherhead on top fell vertically down onto my right knee.  Workman's Comp paid for the doctor visit to clean and bandage the hole where a 5/16"  bolt went a half-inch into  my knee, and give me a tetanus shot.  I was unable to work for a month, and the knee healed up okay, but I limped with a badly sprained ankle for the next year. I got a check for $221 (and change) from Workman's Comp for my four weeks off work.

        What I'm trying to get at is that for non-union carpenters in the state of Kansas,  it has always been like "Health insurance? What is that?".... it was pie in the sky.  It was just out of the question.

        Any carpenter who had  Social Security withheld, was covered by Workman's Compensation, and whose employer  actually followed OSHA safety laws,  was considered to be fortunate and to have one of the better jobs available.

       After all those years working, I ended up applying for disabilty (serious back problems, tendonitis, etc.) and got  it on first application with no lawyer and no appeal so I guess they thought I deserved it.

       Therefore, at age 55, I got Medicare A and B, which is a great help, but co-pays are still too high, so I don't go to doctors unless I absolutely
    have to.

          I have a hearing-impaired son now in high school.  His hearing aids, which are essential,  cost well over a thousand dollars apiece. He also needs occasional "normal" medical care for flu or whatever.
         
         In 2007 he had a car/bike accident- fortunately only minor injuries- the hospital bill about 3 thousand dollars.

        A thousand dollars an hour to have him lie in a bed and get a few stitches and some X-rays. It would have been impossible for me to pay it.

       But he has Healthwave. The reason he was eligible is I finally got broke down and poor and on disability,  and a side result was that my
    own kid could finally be covered and be able to see a doctor when he needs to, and to get help with his hearing disability expenses.

        So I am very grateful to Healthwave for this, but worked for over 25 years and then had to end up on disabilty and nearly broke financially before my child could get medical care.

        Maybe if doctors would work for ten to twenty bucks an hour for five- or twenty-five-  years, like  us "Joe the Carpenter"  types, and  maybe if
    the other people in medicine and the medical insurance business, and the big pharma industry,  would quit just talking, and start getting real and
    DOING something morally right, such as sacrificing their huge profits for the greater good, things would get a LOT better fast.

    But the medical and pharmaceutical system is as much, or more, about money than about the Hippocratic Oath.

        And I guess  if they did that, that would be like that old boogeyman, "socialism".   And gee, that would be terrible. After all, we already
    have social Darwinism; isn't that good enough for the peasants?

         In the meanwhile, I try to eat well, drink water, exercise, all the old-fashioned things. Vitamins, herbal remedies.  Natural cures, wherever
    appropriate or possible. (I mean for general health, not brain tumors or cancer). The old "apple  a day" concept. Saves on health costs, and is a necessity these days. And doesn't cost a hundred or a thousand dollars an hour.  

      But  I pray I don't need any really expensive medical care, because even with Medicare, the copay would be impossible.

  •  I've got what I'm pretty sure (0+ / 0-)

    is a manageable but chronic disease.  It could be a number of different things but I can't really afford all the tests it would take to figure it out, so I just do what I can at home.  I have insurance but it's mostly just in case anything sudden and serious happens, not chronic and manageable.  

    And I'm one of the lucky ones, since I can take care of it with a specific diet and supplements that don't cost much extra, without having to take any pills.

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