Monday, February 28, 2011

Hell hath no fury like a stomach scorned.

So, this blog is pretty much the furthest thing from a politics blog.

And, I also know that not everyone who reads Austin Eavesdropper is necessarily a Democrat, or an Obama supporter.  The post you are about to read comes from the perspective of both of those things, but more importantly, it comes from the perspective of someone who got sick over the weekend.

If you are anti-Obama, anti-health care reform, or simply, "wh-WHAT?  Politics, bleh!!" then you can hop out of this post right now, no hard feelings.  May I recommend this wonderful alternative?

That being said, if you are indeed anti-Obama or anti-health care reform, maybe this post will help you understand why a girl like me -- healthy and employed -- is desperate for her country to provide better health care.

* * *

I started this post in the middle of the night between Sunday and Monday, and for about 36 hours, I've been dealing with a super nasty stomach bug.  I think it's just about run its course, thank God (and thank Pepto Bismol).

But last night, just as the Oscars were getting started, I started making some phone calls to local clinics.  Without getting too graphic about it, I lost five pounds this weekend in a rather unattractive manner.  I'll let you use your imagination.  Since I'm pretty small, five pounds is a lot for me.

The first place I called was the People's Clinic here in Austin.  I used to go there years ago when I didn't have any health insurance.  The clinic was closed, but fortunately they had an after-hours line with a kind nurse.  She asked me about my insurance.

"Um ... I have private insurance," I told her, nervously.  "But my deductible is so high that I'd probably pay out of pocket."

"Oh," she said.  "The Clinic doesn't take the privately insured."

Now let's back up. 

I am technically a contract worker, so I don't have company health care.  Ross works for a school that we love, but it does not provide health care either.  We have to buy a private plan.

Secondly: "Deductibles." Up until very recently I was a total insurance bonehead and had no idea what "deductibles" were.  That is the amount you have to pay at the hospital or doctor's office before your insurance kicks in and starts covering things.  Ours is $5000.  Which is what's commonly known as "hit by a bus" insurance.  So, unless a visit is more than $5000, Ross and I are paying for the visit ourselves. 

Last summer, shortly after I became a contract worker and right before Ross left for Brazil, I shopped around online for private insurance and found the very best plan I could.  For Ross and I both, this insurance is about $300/month, and it does not cover dental or maternity.  For us, that amount feels like a lot, but we know we have to have it in case something truly awful (piano on the head, hair dryer electrocution, food poisoning as a result of my cooking?) did befall us.

Now, back to the story.

Since the People's Clinic wouldn't see a patient like me, the nurse on the phone gave me the number for Austin Regional Clinic and one other facility, NextCare.  I tried ARC first; closed.  It was a Sunday evening, after all.  So I called NextCare.

"HELLO!" chirped the girl answering the phone.  "And how may NextCare help you today!"

I explained to her my stomach situation, as well as my insurance situation.

"Visits start at $200 and go up to $450!" she sang into the phone.  My face fell.

"You can also buy a ValueCare Card for $50 upon your visit which can help you save moneeeey!" she said.

"So, if I did that, my minimum visit cost would then be $250?" I asked.

"Oh!  Um ... yes," she stumbled, her cheerfulness tempered by an unexpected question.  "Yes, for your visit, minimum $200, plus the card, it would be $250, maximum it would be $500."

"Thank you," I said, and hung up.

* * *

I decided to wait it out.  My stomach still hurts a little.

I think a lot of people with medical issues decide to just wait it out, because unless they have employer insurance, private is kind of a joke.

So it upsets me when people who are lucky enough to have employer-based insurance, or have the means to buy extremely thorough private insurance, get hateful and up in arms about health care reform.

In all likelihood, what I had this weekend was a simple stomach flu.  But what if it was something more serious?  What if I had discovered some weird lump on my body?  Broken my arm?  Had a minor heart attack?

Answer: Ross and I would be out A LOT OF MONEY.   And oddly, we are both employed.  We take care of ourselves.  We did the responsible thing, we did shop around for health care.

But I'm sorry, the theory that government should stay out of health care, because competition among private insurers will make insurance more affordable, just simply is not the case.

Why?  Because people need health care.  When it's your health, you will pretty much pay whatever you have to, because what choice do you have?   You can either cough up a lot of money, or you can wait it out like I'm doing, and hope for the best.

* * *

By now it's an old refrain, but it's still true:  It's about freaking time we had health care reform in the United States.

I live in a city of freelancers -- Austin -- and our city represents a trend that more individuals want to follow nationwide.  That is: Working for yourself.

As it stands though, affordable health care is almost completely dependent on company employment.  I don't think companies are evil, but I do think there is an implicit assumption here.  That is:

You being a worker = You are worth care.  

Rather than:

You being alive = You are worth care.

I mean really.  If you're out of work and sick, you're just supposed to go into debt and that's that?  Besides that being inhumane, that doesn't even make sense to me from an economic standpoint.  If a sick individual has the means to get better, that means he or she can more quickly re-enter the workforce. 

ANYWAY.  I went to the Wikipedia page for Obama's health care plan tonight.  Before I wrote this post and risked either A) pissing people off or B) boring people to death, I wanted to get my facts straight.

Some of the biggest (and in my opinion most awesome) changes include:

--Everybody in the U.S. has to buy health insurance.  (If you cannot pay for it, you can go on Medicaid).  Which is just like car insurance in the state of Texas.  Let's face it:  Unless it's a legal issue, most people don't buy insurance unless they absolutely have to.  But when everybody buys in, the pool of available health care funds is larger.  That means we're helping each other stay healthy and get well, rather than relying solely on corporately-run health insurance companies. 

--You'll be able to go online and comparison-shop for health care.  If you're like me, and don't have employer-based insurance but you're also not on a government program, like Medicaid or Medicare, you can buy private on an Internet site which lists plans side-by-side.  Massachusetts has this already, and as a little test I filled it out just now for Ross and I.  I found a plan that is more expensive monthly ($480/month), but instead of a $5000 deductible it's a $250 deductible.  WHICH IS KIND OF AMAZING.  This is what happens when a state agency works with corporate health care plans: The site only allows plans that have gotten their stamp of approval, so they generally don't allow stupid $5000 deductibles.

--Insurance companies can't refuse you if you're already sick.  Ah, the pre-existing condition.  Right now, you basically can't get health care insurance if you have cancer or diabetes.  But some insurers currently reject you if you have acne or asthma!  I'm not making this up.  I think everyone, including Republicans, recognizes that this is a problem.

To be fair, I Googled "Republican health care plan 2011."  I wanted to see if Republicans had in fact outlined an alternative to Obama's health care plan, since by and large they do not seem to like it.

According to this January story by The New York Times, many Republicans want to repeal Obama's health care plan but still want to accomplish many of the same objectives: They want to help people with pre-existing conditions find affordable coverage, want to lower health insurance premiums, etc.

But they did not say how this would happen.

They also do not "want to impose detailed federal requirements on individuals, families, employers or states."

So ... I don't think this is a "plan," exactly.

(PS.  I realize it's The New York Times, so if you are a Republican reading this and believe that particular news outlet is biased, please feel free to send over a story on this same topic by a different news outlet.)

Now, anyone who's seen Precious knows that there are some people who take advantage of the system, who abuse federal or state-run programs like welfare.  This is true and I can't deny it.

But I think there are a ton of us who are making a decent living, are individuals contributing to our society, are healthy and employed, who have quite simply been failed by health insurance companies.  We don't want to take advantage of the system; we just want some system that will help us stay well, and not go into debt.

* * * 

It makes me cringe whenever I hear people say: "I shouldn't have to pay for some stranger's medical bill!" regarding health care and taxes.

But I think they miss out on something potentially beautiful when they adopt that kind of thinking.

Because when you theoretically "pay for some stranger's medical bill," you are entering into a partnership.  Eventually, someone will help you pay for your medical bill.   Taxes -- which we, and every citizen in every developed nation pay -- are a symbol that we're all in this together.  Someone out there helped fund the paved street you drive on today.  Another person helped pay for the delivery of your mail.

Americans have always had a fraught relationship with taxes.  And I know Obama's health care bill is a lot bigger than taxes: It's a fundamental shift in philosophy, that we stop trusting companies so much, and start trusting our government a little more, to take care of us.  Which to many sounds laughable.

But this girl and her stomach flu says, BRING ON HEALTH CARE REFORM.  I cannot wait for 2014 when most of this stuff goes into effect.  Some of you might be reading right now saying, "poor, poor naive girl.  She just doesn't know what she's in for.  Obama truly has her duped."

Look, if Obama's health care plan really is the spawn of Satan, then we can vote to change it.  That's the great thing about being in a democracy.  In the meantime, I'm just so happy that someone finally gave health care reform a shot, and that we at least have the opportunity to try something different.

Did you hear that?  It was my stomach growling in agreement.


Anonymous said...

government intervention isn't always a magical healthcare-system-improving miracle.

Anonymous said...

Question one: how do you propose to punish those who don't get health insurance after the mandate takes effect? People who don't pay taxes can have their home taken from them or be thrown in jail. Do you propose the same punishment for those who don't buy insurance for themselves and then don't pay the fine for not getting insurance?

Question two: If I had a car insurance policy that effectively made getting care for my car "free," you can bet I would be the equivalent of a car hypochondriac. I would get it waxed frequently, get an oil change more than necessary, get any even tiny dent or scratch fixed by a pro. Deductibles are not "dumb." Deductibles mean you prioritize and don't swamp the medical facilities any time you have a runny nose. The point of insurance is to make sure you don't go bankrupt because of a car accident or medical disaster or house fire. The point of insurance is not to make every little thing you might need for your house, car, or body effectively "free."

Katie said...

Well, I'm glad you are feeling better. I won't bore you with my hatred of sends me into orbit. I will tell you this I work for a big huge corporation, and while my monthly insurance bill isn't high my deductible is $2000. Apparently, I need an educated insurance person to read this stuff for me...I do not understand the lingo and I just get pissed off while trying to understand. Insurance has and always will baffle me.

AlieMalie said...


Thank you so much for writing this, Tolly.

I'll leave it at that. I wrote out a longer comment about why I agree with you and thought of including the stories of the friends I've lost to lack of health care because of a lack of insurance, but this is neither the time nor place to tell those stories again.

Long story short, I agree with your post 100000% and I refuse to apologize to those who disagree with health care reform anymore. When it comes to the point that people are DYING because they don't have access to health care because they don't make enough money/aren't eligible for a company plan/have a pre-fucking-existing condition/etc, the people who say they want to repeal the bill/don't want to pay for another person's health care (hey hey hey, you already do if they don't pay, helllllo taxes!)/or whatever redonkulous excuse happens to come out of their mouths I just have to turn and walk away.

We fought the battle, we won, we got health care reform and we'll continue to tweak it to make it BETTER, not to allow insurance companies to continue to operate as the death panels the right so dearly wants to pin on those of us who simply want to make things better for all of us.

Thanks for writing this. Sorry that I got a little emotional and ended up LYING about keeping my comment short.

You rock! Thanks a million!

kellynD said...


I'm on my mother's insurance through her job, and it's the crappiest insurance known to man. We're only allowed one doctor's visit a year. They don't pay for lab work. They don't pay for any tests. They don't pay for prescriptions. They don't pay for emergency room visits. What's really lame is my sister and I both have been treated for pre-cervical cancer. We are required to go to the doctor twice a year for check-ups and the insurance refuses to take care of the second visit. The doctor we go to offers a discount to patients without insurance but we don't qualify because we have a plan, even though the insurance won't pay for the visit. They also didn't pay for any of our biopsies (I had three and my sister had two). Nor did they pay for the surgery that my sister had to have to remove the cancer cells. The doctors wouldn't perform the surgery until 75% of the cost was paid up front. My mom had to take a loan out to cover the cost of the surgery, and she's still getting billed for more and more.

We need a better health care system NOW. I would like to be able to go to the doctor and not have to worry about forking over half my paycheck!

Thanks for this post, Tolly!

Heather Howell said...

Giiiiiiiiirl! I'm a medical coder and have worked in medical billing for about 6+ years so I see both sides of it all. I hate talking politics so I'm going to leave my opinion out of it for the most part, but it is ridiculous how much a simple office visit can cost. I hope you get to feeling better!

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Anonymous and @Anonymous: I expected some feedback like yours, so let's talk. I'm glad to have a variety of opinions weigh in here, and thank you in advance for yours.

@Anonymous #1: Oh, I have no illusions that it is. But I'm certainly ready to try something different than what we have right now. When Bush proposed the Guest Worker Program for immigrants several years ago, I thought that was a refreshing and creative way to address our immigration issue. So what I admire here is that someone took an innovative approach to fixing a large problem. I don't think it will be perfect, but I'm glad someone is making changes to health care, and at least trying to improve it.

@Anonymous #2: Right now, the punishment is (as you mention) a fine. The taking away people's homes/thrown in jail part sounds a little draconian ... do you have a source for that? If so, I'm happy to read it.

As for deductibles: Oh, I totally agree with you there! I don't think deductibles are dumb at all. But I would like to have more options. For example, if I lived in Massachusetts, I could opt to pay a higher monthly premium than I do right now, in exchange for a much lower deductible. I don't think anyone is talking about taking deductibles completely away; health care is expensive, after all. But I do support having more choices in payment plans. Does that make sense?

@Katie -- You're not the only one. ;) Like I said ... pre-having-to-shop-for-my-own-insurance, I was extremely hazy on terms like "premium" and "deductible" and whatever. I just learned out of necessity!

@AlieMalie -- You are so welcome! I almost didn't post it because it's so atypical Austin Eavesdropper fare, but my mom encouraged me too. :) (I emailed it to her and my dad first).

Anyway ... thank you for writing, Alexandra. You are exactly right when you say, "we'll continue to tweak it to make it BETTER." Yes. We've had to tweak social security before, too, we've had to tweak public education; health care is no different. If parts of it are just not working for people then let's make improvements. In the meantime, at least we're trying something else out.

@KellynD -- OH MY GOSH! First of all, I am so sorry you and your sister have had to deal with such a serious medical issue at such a young age! Your mom sounds like a hero and a trooper.

Secondly, it's so helpful to have a real-life perspective on this issue (with a medical example a little more serious than, say, the stomach flu). I'm shocked the surgeries/biopsies weren't covered -- was that a pre-existing condition clause?

@Heather -- Actually, you probably have the healthiest perspective of all, since you can see both sides. :) But I hear you on hating to talk politics. I know this is such a weird post for Austin Eavesdropper. Oh well, the good news is, I DO feel better! Just ate something other than saltine crackers, so I think stomach is on the mend!! I'm debating whether or not whether to make myself some coffee...probably creating my own funeral there.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a british citizen, I am so thankful for our NHS. It's not a perfect system, and our newspapers are always complaining about it, but despite x out of y cancers being missed etc. there are tonnes of people that are being helped who wouldn't have been able to.

When I was a first year university student I literally stood up funny and dislocated my knee. The last thing you want to have to worry about when your kneecap is sticking out at an odd angle and you are in a lot of pain and shock is how you are going to be able to afford a trip to the hospital! And I've been for checkups for all kinds of things, from lumps in my breasts to cancer screening to fainting spells. And each time I have been so thankful that I can just book an appointment and have the peace of mind that someone is trying to look after me. I'm earning £10,000 a year, I wouldn't be able to afford private healthcare ever!

I don't understand the view point of refusing to pay for someone's hospital treatment. If one really thinks about it, there's someone out there suffering from something as scary as cancer, and they don't deserve help for that purely because they are unemployed or just plain poor? It seems to me a lot of people in this country at least are just struggling by, so that puts a hell of a lot of people in that situation.

I really hope to God that there is some kind of health reform over in America because it's too well developed a country to have it's people suffering needlessly from illnesses that can be easily fixed with a little bit of collective money from it's people.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@JustAnotherRobot -- I mentally read your whole comment in a British accent. :) And, I just want to HUG YOU for the "last thing you want to have to worry about when your kneecap is sticking out at an odd angle" bit. *Grin!*

Anyway, I am THRILLED to have a British citizen weigh in on this debate! Opponents of health care reform frequently point to the NHS, saying, oh no we're going to become just like that. So it's really refreshing to hear from someone who has actually lived in both countries (the UK and the US) offer their point of view.

Lela said...

Tolly. Right there with you ALL. THE. F*CKING. WAY! I can't tell you how many times, over the years, I've thought that our health care system was so unfair. I was fully employed, paid my bills, and voted and did my civic duty, yet I could not afford basic health insurance. Plus I also have a hearing impairment which means I've been having to pay out of pocket whenever I've had to buy new hearing aid equipment(and also for a doctor's visit in order to get my hearing aids serviced)--in other words, just to be able to hear, I've had to go deep in debt. I get so angry when I read the opposing view because it really seems like most of the people who oppose health care reform are the ones who don't know what it's like to not have health insurance or only have a lousy private health care plan with a deductible so high you might as well be uninsured. I'm sure I'm generalizing, but still, I think I have a point there. And I'm not even going to get started on the new Planned Parenthood-bashing bill. *Enough* :) Glad you're feeling better; T once had stomach flu for three weeks and didn't go to the doctor due to no insurance. He lost a lot of weight. Feel better!

Court said...


I don't understand these anonymous comments about making things "free"...I am fairly certain we aren't talking about anything being free. Just making it possible for all of us to afford decent health insurance!

I used to work for the state and had amazing coverage, but now that I am working retail I have none. I am paying off a multi-thousand dollar ER bill as we speak because I didn't get a simple UTI taken care of (thought I could fix it myself) and it turned into a severe kidney infection with 103+ temps, etc. Pretty awful, and really ridiculous considering I was afraid to go to the Austin Regional Clinic because it was going to cost $200+ for a simple visit.

And don't even get me started on the cost of birth control when you don't have insurance. Mine is $80/month. Awful.

So thanks for this post! I feel your pain. 2014...hurry up and get here!

Alexandra said...

Sorry, I have to chime in one more time - specifically in response to the "free" comments - and then I'm putting myself on internet mute.

I did my taxes this weekend and just for the hell of it, decided to see what my effective tax rate was for 2010. For the record: 11%, and I make a more than respectable salary for someone my age. I would happily fork over 40% if it meant we had decent health care for every. single. person. in this country.

Anonymous said...

Good Golly Miss Molly! I really want to hear what the side of Ms. Heather Howell. I love a good objective opinion every now and again.

I have made many efforts to make my opinion count on this matter. We can hoot and howl all we want. It's when you put pen to paper and you write to the people who can make the difference. Vote in every election. Let that voice be heard!

Glad to hear you are feeling well!

Anonymous said...

recently denied health insurance for being too fat. i have plenty of money to pay for Blue Cross Blue Shield through a broker, but unless you land in their bell curve they will not insure you. 6' tall? better weigh 216 to get the lowest rate. no more than 275 or you get nothing. boo.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Lela -- OH we won't even get started with Planned Parenthood! But Lela, my gosh -- I had no idea you had to go into debt for your hearing aids and equipment. Unbelievable!!

@Court -- What a horror story about your UTI! And hey, re: your birth control, this might be too much information but maybe it will be helpful for you. Three years ago, I got an IUD, and it's saved me a lot of money. That was back when I had employer-based insurance, granted, but even out-of-pocket I BELIEVE it ends up being much cheaper than monthly birth control options. I got the cooper kind, and mine lasts for 10 years unless I get it taken out sooner. Email me if you'd like to talk about that.

@Alexandra -- You are such a generous soul. I wish everyone thought like you.

@Anonymous -- I know, I wanna hear Heather's thoughts too! Like I said, she probably has one of the healthiest viewpoints on the matter, being able to see both sides.

@Anonymous -- Oh, friend! That is so demoralizing, I'm sorry you had to go through that. If it's of any help, I'm insured (privately) through United Healthcare. As I mentioned, my deductible is a little ridiculous but if you have the means you could probably get something better! (I.e., higher monthly premiums, better deductible).

Guys, I have to tell you it feels so weird to type the words "premiums" and "deductible" on MY BLOG.

renee kristine said...

I'm Renee and a new follower of your blog! Just thought I'd say hello, rather than be one of those creepy people that lurks around on your page haha

anyhoot, i love what you've got going here, very cute!

Feel free to take a look at mine [you know, just so you know who's reading yours :)]

Renee xo

N. said...

this is great! love, an appreciative and comment-wary lurker from ny

kitten roar said...

See, I am very conflicted on this issue. I do think that everyone has the right to health insurance and that it shouldn't be something that people have to worry about. If someone is sick, it is just plain negligence for a doctor's office to turn someone away because they don't have the best plan or can't afford to have a plan in the first place. However, I don't like the idea that people should be FORCED into buying a health care plan. I know a few people who rely more on natural and alternative medicine, things insurance wouldn't cover anyways, but they would be forced into buying a plan that wasn't for them.

Hot topic.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Renee -- Welcome, new friend! I'm gonna go check out yours now.

@N. -- Thanks so much for stopping by. I love new commenters! And I also love NY.

@Kitten Roar -- You know, that is an excellent point and one I actually did not consider AT ALL (the fact that some people might prefer natural/alternative treatments, and that's the reason they don't want to have to buy traditional health insurance). I guess I look at it this way: Right now, you and I both have to pay for things we don't like, via federal taxes (the War in Iraq for example). And, the president could have paid for this health care plan, and guaranteed that everyone has access to health insurance, by raising taxes. In return, we'd all get a single government health care plan.

But this way, when we buy in, we at least get a choice of our coverage. Higher income? You can pay more and get a kickass plan (maybe even one with alternative meds/therapies!). Middle class? You can get an ok-to-great plan, which doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but will at least ensure you don't get turned away at the doctor's office.

So, to ensure everyone gets health care, we need to create a pool of funds. Taxing is one way, but mandated buy-in is the other. At the end of the day most people don't like either. ;) But at least we get more choices with the buy-in option.

I hope that makes sense?

Anonymous said...

People who don't pay their taxes DO face potential prison time or a fine, and if they can't pay the fine, they could have a lien placed on their home. Ultimately, if the fine is not paid, their home could be seized by the government even if they have no where else to live. This is fact, look up tax evasion and tax liens.

Think about it: If you tell people who don't buy the insurance that they'll have to pay a fine, how do you get them to pay the fine? Send them mean letters until they pay? There's a reason people who can't or don't pay taxes can face prison time or having their homes taken. If you just ask that they pay a fine, well, they probably won't or can't pay that either.

Anonymous said...

For each year a taxpayer willfully fails to timely file an income tax return, the taxpayer can be sentenced to one year in prison.[47]

When the question comes up of how we should "force" people to buy health insurance (or pay fines) who don't want it, many have suggested we impose the same punishments that we impose on tax evaders. As someone with friends who prefer to avoid the healthcare system entirely, I am fiercely against punishing people IN ANY WAY if they choose not to purchase health insurance, for whatever their personal reasons are.

Your suggestion that they should be ok with this because they're already paying for a lot of stuff they don't like, like wars in the middle east, doesn't make sense to me. Is it a good thing that we're all paying for a war we don't like? Let's move away from that, not towards it. I personally feel that it would be great if every road were a toll road and drivers all had EZ passes that recorded their usage of the roads and taxed them accordingly. It's not fair that my friends who walk to work are forced to pay for the roads that I drive on 500 times per year. People like me should bear most or all of the burden of paying for roads designed for cars. People without cars shouldn't be forced to pay for a road I need for my car.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Anonymous -- Hi there. I am traveling right now, but I wanted to say that when I get home (Monday) I'll try to respond to you more thoroughly.

I know this is a heated topic and people have strong opinions on it. At the end of the day, it may simply be the case that you and I have different viewpoints on health care, and that is ok. I won't try to convince you to see things my way if you are patently against Obama's health care plan. I like hearing your ideas (like the one about all roads being toll roads); so, if you don't like Obama's plan, what specifically would you like to see for a better health care system? That's what I'm trying to get at here. I'm not patently against a Republican plan (or a Libertarian plan or a Green Party plan), one that excludes a mandated buy-in. I just haven't seen any other alternative plans drawn up yet.

So if you don't like Obama's, and have an idea of your own about a way to ensure the health of our citizenry, I would love to hear that, too. If we don't mandate buy-ins, what is a better way to provide health care for every person in our country?

Anastasia said...

I am "lucky" enough to have insurance through my job. But to add my kids and my husband it is half my paycheck. literally. But it's worth it. And I get frustrated with people who just assume that people want to live off of the govt. Like it's laziness or something. When neither of us had health insurance we had to put the girls on CHIP. because private insurance wouldn't accept us. So we tried to not use the govt but we had no choice. I'm not saying obama's plan is perfect. But it's a lot better then it was. And btw we already pay for other people's healthcare. Your taxes pay for your lawmakers health care. And they have a kick ass plan.

What I think really needs to happen is a crack down on insurance companies and the pharmacutical industry. They have little to no regulations and they are ruining health care. Not people on medicaid.

Ugh. I hate being an adult and having to deal with insurance. Rant rant rant. ;)

Patsy DeCline said...

Dear Anonymous, The problem with letting people refuse to get in a pool to create healthcare for everybody is that when that person who refused to get in gets poked in the eye with a tree branch, an accident that he never saw coming, and his cornea gets infected and he's gong to lose his eye, does society just say "sorry about your bad luck.. you made your choice so no sterio vision for you!" No, probably that guy would go to the emergency room and would get some help and wouldn't have to lose his eye. He would either pay for it $137,000 or so, or he would get it through some kind of public assistance if he couldn't afford it (other people's money), or he could go in debt. That's the choice. So the reason we need everybody to take part is that if you are adamently against paying for anybody else's, when something bad happens to you, this country is not going to make you go blind, or die of an infection, or lay screaming on the ground at the base of a tree. We're going to help you. United we stand. The reason one person can't just do it on his own is because our healthcare system is MESSED up! Obama is trying to start to improve it. It's not perfect because insurance companies were more than happy to spend a zillion dollars scaring people to death about single payer. But it's a start.

Anonymous said...

Hospitals already do treat every person who walks in the door. We already do have special programs to help the poor receive care (Medicaid and CHIP).

I still haven't heard what the plan is to punish those who don't want health insurance. Like I said, people who don't pay taxes are fined, but threatening a fine doesn't do much in a lot of cases. Ultimately, if the back taxes and fines are not paid, they can have their homes taken, or if they have no property to take, they are put in prison. If you support forcing people to buy health insurance even if they don't want to, you need to come up with a realistic plan for punishing them that involves more than just threatening a fine. So, what is it?

One thing that would help a lot right away would be allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines, which currently is illegal. However, health insurance companies don't like the idea of having to compete with insurance companies in other states so they pushed politicians to abandon that idea.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Anonymous -- Hello friend. If this is the same Anonymous we've been going and back and forth with, I want to invite you to email me personally and we can continue the discussion there: I kind of feel like we're beating a dead horse here in this comments section, but, I'm happy to keep on talking with you. So shoot me an email if you wanna talk.

Dan Cafaro said...

More power to you, sister, for tackling a meaty issue on your blog and dissecting it with the precision of a surgeon... said surgeon may balk at the idea of government interfering with his livelihood, but said surgeon needs to support the patient's inherent rights because said patient is a fellow member of the human race... and damn, if we can't help our own, then who on earth should we help? A high horse is better than a dead horse, so keep on preaching. Word.