Monday, August 24, 2009

A rare moment

Confession: I am an intensely political person. This may surprise some because I rarely speak about politics. I avoid discussion because I get so emotional about the subject that it usually just ruins my day.

There have been several political events in my lifetime that stand out as moments that changed my world view, or at least my view of American politics. One of these events was the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. Another was the Clinton impeachment and all of the events that surrounded that time. I still have a hard time discussing those things because of the profound effect they had on me.

Those two situations pale in comparison to what is going on with our health care system right now. I am so angry that I can barely listen to the current debates.

I take one daily medication. It is nobody's business what that medication is but suffice it to say that I can not function without it. This medication does not come in generic form because some drug company can make much more money keeping it under a name brand. It costs me about $50 per month, with my insurance and only if I fill it through mail order. If I try to use my local pharmacy it costs me closer to $80 per month. Between our insurance premiums, our deductibles, our prescriptions and our copays we spend more money on health care expenses than our grocery, drug store and utility bills combined. And we are one of the lucky families who actually have insurance. And we still aren't getting what we need - my husband chose to eliminate one of his necessary medications because it was outrageously expensive and we very simply cannot afford it. When my daughter broke her arm last year she required an emergency visit with an x-ray and a sling, then two trips to the orthopedist with x-rays each time. Do you know how much of that my insurance paid for? Come on, guess. I will give you a minute.

Did you guess? Was your guess $15.86 (yes, that is a period, not a comma)? Because that is the exact amount my insurance company paid for that whole ordeal. Apparently Anna hadn't met her deductible yet for the year, plus some of that stuff wasn't covered for some reason that I still cannot get anyone to explain to me sufficiently. I am still paying off that broken arm.

My family is far from being the worst off in this country. We are struggling mightily but we do have employer provided insurance, ineffective though it is. When we were on COBRA our premiums were higher than our mortgage payment, coming in every month at $1500. And we were just a family of three back then, so I guess I should be thankful. But I'm not. I'm so incredibly angry that it's probably a good thing I don't live closer to Washington.

Mostly I just want to know: how in the name of everything good and holy is this acceptable?

How is it ok that the US ranks so low in the world's healthcare systems?

How is it ok that educated, informed adults are going all over the county telling outright lies - LIES! Just making stuff up! - to the American public?

Why is the American public not pissed off about being lied to?

Why do so many Americans just believe the garbage being shoveled over their heads without doing some actual research of their own?

Why does my husband have to go without a necessary medication so that we can feed our kids?

Why aren't doctors more vocal in the debate? Doesn't it make a doctor's job more difficult when the patient waits until they are very sick to come in because they can't afford preventative care? Or when a patient stops taking a medication for financial reasons?

Why don't more people see health care as a social necessity and not a privilege?

Why aren't more people as angry as I am?


  1. Because they like to believe democrats are the devil and refuse to believe we might actually be doing some good.

    -Angela Marie

  2. Ugh! I know what you mean. We have been very lucky, but just becuase I don't currently suffer at the hands of the healthcare system doesn't mean I don't realize it's broken. It's absolutely maddening how this has turned into such a political agenda-pushing situation. Someone said that Republicans want healthcare to be Obama's Waterloo and that they will do anything to use it to take him down. Their lies and arguments and debates aren't aimed at anything other thatn political revenge and that is just sick and wrong!

  3. There is one word that you repeated again and again in your rant. The word INSURANCE. The insurance companies make a lot of money and pay a lot of lobbiests to keep it that way. Until we really stop and take a look at insurance companies and their part in the high cost of health care we will not be able to make real changes.

  4. I cant understand how we are the only major country in the world to not have a national funded healthcare choice. England has National Health. my husband was in a bike accident, they replaced his elbow and did all his physical therapy, meds etc- what did he pay out of pocket? nothing. My mother in law had breast cancer- they didnt send her to 12 specialists for 3 months letting it get worse and worse- they found the lump, it was removed a week later with radiation starting the week after that. How much did she pay out of pocket? Nothing. They pay higher tax and it covers their medical insurance. I would much rather pay more tax on goods- and everyone pays them- and not have to worry about insurance. They can choose to go to private doctors and carry private insurance- it isnt forced on anyone. I dont see how Americans can say it would be such a horrible thing.
    I dont have health insurance. I am self employeed and we cant afford it. We are considered 'middle class'. Rob's work doesnt offer it. We have it on the boys and that is it. If we get sick, we stay sick. If something really bad happens I have no idea what we will do. I have a hernia from where my c-section inscision was that has been bulging for over a year that really, really needs to be seen about. Not going to happen. I have meds that I need every month- thankfully my doc calls me in 100mg so I can break them in half since I only need 50mg. Still costs an arm and a leg to fill it.
    If you form a march, I will walk beside you my friend!
    It makes me mad too.

  5. Sheila, I agree. As I commented on Facebook, it's so hard to keep giving our money to insurance companies when it is essentially funding the fight against us. So so frustrating.

  6. It also really annoys me that I pay for my own insurance, pay for my own co-pays and medication, then I pay taxes partly for other people to sit on their ass at home and get free healthcare.

    Just thought I'd mention that too, don't mind me.

    -Angela Marie

  7. I HEAR YOU. Seriously. If I had to pay for Provigil out of pocket I would go bankrupt. And I can't go without it! My brother is also on the same medication and he is unemployed... I can't even BEGIN to outline the struggles he has gone through to get a medication that he so desperately needs to FUNCTION ON A DAILY BASIS!