has become very apparent to me as the statements and bills from the illness and treatment of my wife have begun to arrive at our house.
I could show this clearly from many of them, but since it was 6 weeks ago this evening, just about this time, that we got the new she would not be leaving the hospital after an MRI we thought had been merely preparatory for referral to a pain management specialist, let me focus on the hospital bill.
Let me note that as a federal employee Leaves on the Current has a superb insurance plance through Blue Cross / Blue Shield, which because it has arranged with Virginia Hospital Center to be a preferred provider the hospital agrees to be bound by what the insurance provider agrees should be paid, plus an additional copay by the insured, in this case of $250.00
The insurer pai 12, 651,32. That means the total paid was 12901.32. Even that sum would hit most families very hard.
But what if the rest of the bill fell to the patient and family?
The total bill was 33, 556.30. This is more than the median annual salary/wages for employed Americans.
We probably would not be forced into bankruptcy were we forced to pay the entire bill - federal law allows withdrawal of retirement funds early without penalty for payment for medical expenses. Many Americans would not have access to such funds.
One could be insured and still forced into bankruptcy - 33,665.30 - 12.651.32 would leave a responsibility of 21,013.98
We are fortunate to have access to wonderful health care.
We are very fortunate to have insurance that enables us to afford such health care.
It is a shame that others are not so fortunate.
It is effectively rationing health care by financial status.
Perhaps some can rationalize that.
So even as my focus remains on Leaves on the Current, I feel an obligation to speak out, to see this nation move well beyond what the Affordable Care Act offers.
It has been six weeks.
We didn't have to say - we can' go to the emergency room because we do not know how we will pay for it.