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!


1 comment:

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

I'm sorry to hear of your health problems ~ and hope that you are improving and having relief from your discomfort. Your dad sounds like such a wonderful and caring man who took care of you.

There is so much need everywhere. Another aspect of health care is nursing home care for the elderly/infirm. When Steve's father (35 years ago) went into a nursing home with Alzheimer's disease he was 10 years in a facility without health coverage and left his wife (Steve's mother) indigent. Steve paid all bills for both and cared for his mother until she passed 3 years ago at age 90.

It is a complex problem because to provide the type of health care that is the best there is a cost and I'm not sure that taxpayors are willing to pay what it would take and therefore costs will have to be controlled and that will impact the availability and quality of the health care.

I don't know the answer ~ wish I did :)