I am one of those faceless, nameless statistics that you hear thrown about when it comes to people without health insurance. More below the fold.
I am a 62 year old male who was laid off from my job two years ago. Because of the lay off, I lost my health insurance. In the two years since the lay off I have been unable to find an insurance company that will take me, because of my age and a pre-existing condition of heart decease and high blood pressure.
I do have a health clinic I go to for $60/visit. They check me out every three months and refill my prescriptions; which I can barely afford. In the event of something unexpected coming up, I go to an urgent care or emergency room.
This happened last month. I went to an E.R. because my face was swelling up to the point where I looked like a jack-o-lantern. Turns out I had an infection in my face and had to be admitted. I did not want to be admitted because I knew I could not afford it, but I had no choice.
Long story short; the infection caused my blood pressure to rise to the point where I could not be sent home. One night in the hospital turned into six. Yesterday I received a bill from the hospital in the amount of $43,286. This does not include bills from the individual doctors, hospital departments such as x-ray, ct scan, etc. Those bills have yet to arrive.
I also must have ongoing treatment and additional prescriptions. This is something that my current clinic cannot provide. I have had a terrible time finding a doctor who will take me without insurance and also let me make payments, instead of paying in full.
I am not whining or even complaining about this. I know there are millions of people in worse situations; but when I hear a Republican Senator say that no one dies in this country for lack of health care, they are out of their mind.
I think the U.S. does have the best health care in the world. My hospital stay was as good as a hospital stay can be. But the best health care in the world does not help those who have no access to it. The E.R. works fine for short term problems; but when one needs on going treatment for anything, it's very difficult to find it if one is uninsured.
I'm optimistic that I will be fine. I know the bills will never be paid, but I am working with a social worker who is working with the hospital, to work out a payment plan. I know the ACA is coming next year and in three years I will qualify for Medicare. I just have to make it to that point. The next time I see someone say we should repeal the ACA, I may put my fist through the t.v. We need single payer or Medicare for all, and we need it yesterday!