Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Reform

Been thinking a lot lately about Health Reform and the legislation that has passed and was signed into law today. Senate now ironing out some additional wrinkles to make sure all is a fit.

My thoughts were about 2009. What if I did not have health insurance? My medical bills were astronomical. Six figures to be exact. Lower back surgery, injections, heart tests, etc. all racked up a pretty steep bill. If I had to pay this bill, I would have had to file for bankruptcy. I don't believe any middle class American has six figures just laying around in their checkbook to readily write that big of a check. At least none that I know of personally.

Also, would the doctors, hospitals and medical facilities negotiate prices with me like they do with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to make it equitable. You know that "reasonable and customary" language. I don't think so. I would have been responsible for the full price of the services rendered -- six figures.

Overall, I am blessed to have health insurance even if I had to pay deductibles and co-pays in 2009. The prescriptions were costly too. Thank goodness for my health insurance that lets me only pay a small portion of the overall cost of the medicine.

But I do think back to a time when I was a little girl when I had to have three surgeries. Who paid the doctors and the hospitals? My Dad did. He paid for it over a period of years until it was paid in full. That was a challenge when you have a family of six that included four children. The expenses and incomes 50 years ago are not nearly what they are today, but the cost of unexpected medical expenses still put a hurt on my parents budget. They did without to make sure I was healthy. Thank you Mom and Dad. They could have used good health insurance.

So speeding forward again to the present and maybe the last 20 years. I ask myself this question: What would it have been like for my parents to be without Medicare? Who would have helped when my Dad had cancer treatments? Who would have helped when he broke his hip? Who would have paid for their medicines? Would all four of the children been able to have put all their funds together to pay for cancer treatment, broken hip and medicines. Would we (four children) have been able to afford the nursing home that cared for my Dad when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and had to have constant care 24/7? Would we have been able to have taken care of the expenses when my Mom fell and broke her pelvic bone?

What about Social Security? What would my parents have done without this monthly check? They would have had to live with one of the four children because without an income, you don't survive in this day and age. Kind of reminds you of how it use to be years ago when entire families shared houses -- Mom, Dad, kids, Grandma and Grandpa and the occasional Aunt or Uncle. Understand now why houses where so big at the turn of the century. I would have made room for my parents. Kind of role reversal when you're in your golden years -- kids taking care of parents like parents once did for kids.

Then I think about all those who have lost jobs, who no longer have Cobra benefits, who have lost health insurance, who are not eligible, who can not afford health insurance, who have pre-existing conditions, and the list goes on and on. What about all these people? I could have been one of those people in 2009, but I was fortunate to have Health insurance and an employer who has built this into my benefit package. My blessing! I am thankful each and every day for the treatment I received in 2009 and the medicine I am taking daily to keep my heart health in check. I want others to have blessings too! I want others to be thankful too!

Well, I could write a book on this, but I save my thoughts for another time.

I am truly blessed! I thank God for all you have given me! Please bless others who are in need!


Friday, March 12, 2010


Today would have been my parents 61st wedding anniversary. Both have passed. I miss them a lot. Have thought about them on and off all day today. My thoughts today have been about many of their anniversaries in the past. My Dad always with the perfect gift for my Mom. He had the best taste in jewelry. My Mom had so many nice pieces personally selected by my Dad. Mom always liked practical and her gifts to my Dad reflected that on their anniversaries.

On Easter this year, my Dad will have been gone for five years. On May 5th, my Mom will be gone for one year. It doesn't seem possible. I know if she had lived, she would be worried about my health. I probably would not have told her about my heart condition. She would have worried incessantly. It was her death that made me get a physical. It's amazing the things we do when we lose a loved one. I would never have jumped through the medical hoops if it had not been for my Mother's death.

I miss you Mom and Dad. My hope is that you are enjoying your new home and celebrating big time! Please dance together again, on this your 61st wedding anniversary, like you use to do while you were here.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

AHA and Coffee Drinkers

Interesting little article I read on coffee drinkers today and a conference held in California by the American Heart Association. I have always read the pros and cons about coffee drinking and heart health. This article set my mind at ease -- Coffee is Generally Heart-Healthy.

In part, the article stated:

Another study that has followed more than 3,000 men and women for 20 years found no association between coffee consumption and atherosclerosis for just about every demographic group -- men and women, blacks and whites, smokers and nonsmokers. Participants in the study included people whose coffee consumption ranged from none to more than four cups a day. "Based on these data, there does not appear to be any substantial association between coffee drinking and increased or decreased odds of developing atherosclerosis or its progression over time."

Wonderful I said to myself because I should have bought stock in coffee. I have consumed more than my share over the years. So what has caused my advanced atherosclerosis at the young age of 54? Pure genetics. No high cholesterol or trigylcerides. Just pure ole genetics. It's the "gene pool" at work. Should have seen the harbinger years ago with all the older relatives and the heart disease showing up. Just knew it wouldn't skip a generation or two or three. Thank you "gene pool".

At least I can sit comfortably and enjoy my wonderful cups of coffee every day and not worry about the health benefits. Maybe its the non-dairy creamer? That's it. Read the ingredients. That's cause for worry. Back to good ole "moo juice". Can't beat Mother Nature and straight from a "contented cow" to flavor that cup of coffee.

There is a cup of coffee at Starbucks just waiting for me tomorrow with my name on it.......