Healthcare America: Obama's real battleground?

It is one story that can be repeated all over the US – and, still, for the life in me I cannot understand why – in the most wealthy nation on this planet people still have to chose between life and death because they have no coverage.

“Two or three hundred dollars goes a long way,” Pegram said. Especially when you are living on unemployment benefits.

Simple math, and a huge gamble: Pegram has a rare disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, that in some patients can be life-threatening.
“If anything happens, that’s another story,” Pegram told us. “But you have to do what you have to do sometimes, and you just hope for the best. And do it.”

But for the love of God why?

His monthly visit costs $150 — and patients like Pegram who are without insurance are asked to pay up front. His medications run about $126 at a discount pharmacy. Pegram has old bills showing that when he was at Hanes and insured, the same medication cost the insurance company $68 because of its discount. His doctor also accepted a lower negotiated rate from the insurer.

“So everything is inflated,” he said of his medical costs now.

He could have signed up for the COBRA health coverage available to workers as they lose their jobs. It was that policy Pegram said would have cost him $550 or “almost half of what you get every month” in jobless benefits and leave him “not able to pay for a place to live, and food, and all that.”

If the US government, and not the insurer, made that kind of discount for all the population – can you just imagine how far health costs would come down. It is a matter that the insurer can get these kinds of discounts that they can – and do – make such profits. If the government ran the show they wouldn’t need to make profit so the cost saving would automatically be passed, via lower payments by the tax payer, to the tax payer themselves.

Why is it that even the most Conservative of Republicans are against such a cost saving to the very people they are supposed to represent?

King: In tough times, health care considered a luxury – CNN.com.

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About Bolshy

Blogging in the ether to see if that elusive literary agent or publisher wants some new talent.
This entry was posted in Bias, Blah!, Blogroll, Comment, Conservatives, Economy, Media, Money, Personal philosophy, Politics, Republicans, United States of America and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Healthcare America: Obama's real battleground?

  1. Liberty says:

    I smell something foul here. CNN newsweek ,time mag and all other liberal rags all running articles about helathcare to support Obama- can you say in cahoots with Obama. How bout this guy going and getting a job- wash windows cars or something for the 550 montly cost. If he is so poor he cannot afford healthcare then why isn’t he on Medicaid- prob. becasue he is lying aobout how much income he brings in monthly- I would like to see his tax receipts. They already have medicaid for people that truly need it. Socialized healthcare will only result in much poorer quality of care for the same price with the difference going to government workers and politicians back pockets.

  2. Reality says:

    How about a different perspective? Once, before the advent of health insurance, people negotiated with health care providers. Were a physician to present you will a bill of $250 for 15 minutes of his time, you’d have told him he was out of his mind and refuse to pay it. Drug companies understood that they couldn’t charge $120 for a week’s supply of an antibiotic. Most hospitals were publicly owned and there fees for services were to cover their costs, not turn a profit. Now we have third party payers and this separates the consumer from the economic reality of health care. Health insurance is inflationary, becaue it provides a mechanism for a lot of people – insurers, providers, drug and equipment suppliers, etc. – to chase an ever growing pool of money.

    Our way of thinking about health care in America must change. It has never been a right, nor should it be, just as a guarantee of a long and healthy live is not a right. One of the problems is that because the consumer is disconnected from the economic reality of health care, he tends to run to doctors for everything. Back in the 1960s, no one would have dreamed of going to a physician because they had a cold or the flu. Then a physician had no problem with telling a patient with a chronic illness that he could manage the disease and make the patient comfortable, but the disease was incurable and that the patient needed to make lifestyle changes. Not so today. Everyone wants a cure and everyone wants to live forever. This simply isn’t reasonable and the result is that we have an increasingly aged population that costs a fortune to keep alive long beyond our species normal lifespan. Not only can our economy not sustain this, the ecology of the planet can’t either. We cannot continue to devote so many natural resources to keeping our least productive citizens alive. That sounds cruel and heartless, but it is the way life has worked from the beginning.

    I’m 52 and I have great health insurance. I rarely use it; for me it’s to cover something catastrophic, not as a convenience. I understand that at my age things are going to start going wrong and I see no need to do as my physician would insist, and run to a doctor for every trivial ache and pain. Eventually, I’ll develop some chronic disease (or two) and one of them will eventually take me out of the game. That’s life and I accept that. I’ll enjoy my life to its fullest and not worry so much about when I’m going to die or waste money and resources in an attempt to stave off the inevitable.

  3. Curmudgeon10 says:

    Here is a typical example of a young guy who probably has zero savings and spent every nickel that ever appeared on a paycheck on a car or a vacation or who knows what. Does he have six months of living expenses in the bank? I doubt it, since he apparently plans of managing his life around unemployment.

    This notion among almost everyone who is 50 or under that they need not prepare themselves for their own support in the face of adverse economic times is what keeps Obama’s popularity so high. He’s promised that you don’t have to worry about it — the government will be there for you.

    My sympathy for this guy (unless CNN can followup with some other details that make a compelling case for his situation): approaching zero.

  4. RoseR says:

    I am seeing so many personal stories of people lacking health care. There is an agenda here, but I’m not buying it.
    One story of a gym employee, twenty something Bree Honey. No health insurance. She cannot be on her parents policy, she makes too much to get public health care and cannot afford private health coverage. She pays for her own RX.
    She is making choices here. The one choice she should be making is getting two more roommates and buying the private coverage. It doesn’t take that much money to buy a small policy to avoid financial disaster in the future. What if she had an onset of a cronic illness? A DX on her record would mean that insurance companies would deny her coverage forever.
    And she says: What about me?? Where’s mine?

    Pegram is another story. He cannot afford COBRA? He is on unemployment benefits. He needs to find another source of income to cover the gap or cutback on his day to day expenses.

    I have ALWAYS carried my own private health coverage. I would consider being on COBRA a relief.
    Try my situation on for size:
    At age 39: DX or Rheumatoid arthritis.
    Self employed. (no unemployment options)
    Even though I am making less money than in years past, my health coverage keeps on going up by 10-15% a year.
    Currently I pay : $863 a month (for myself alone) That is approximately 50% of my monthly income.
    I cannot get an individual policy, I would be denied for my preexisting condition.

    These people just recently find themselves in this position, and they are on HLN. I’ve been dealing with this situation for years and years now. And when the economy improves, they will be back on their merry way. And I will still be dealing with this.
    One DX is all it takes. And I always HAD insurance.

    RoseR

  5. IntelligentDesign says:

    HealthCare is a luxury. I’m sorry if you are in a bad situation and you can’t afford help. Medical work is a creation of man, you have to pay for it, its not a giving right. You should decide if health care fits your budget. Don’t buy more car than you need (if you even NEED a car), certainly don’t take a 30 year loan in which you’ll pay back more than you borrowed then complain about not being able to afford healthcare and don;t tell me its an investment because no one would borrow money to buy a money market security for 30 years and pay back that outrages interest.
    I’m a 25 year old male, white, believes in Jesus and comes from a wealthy area. I go to college, I don’t work so I can study. I have no health coverage. I promise when I get in to a bind, I won’t look to others for a hand out that I feel entitled to. I preparing myself for the future so I have no one to blame but myself. If you have to blame others for your situation, your pathetic.
    Stop demanding more from others, start demanding more from yourself. Stop watching tv all day, try studying so you are more intelligent and you can keep your job. If you want success and the luxuries of life, work for it.

  6. Kim says:

    Okay, I understand healthcare is expensive. However, socialized medicine isn’t the answer. Just ask anyone in England or most other European countries that have socialized medicine. Taxes are very high, and the wait for a doctor’s appointment can be months unless you want to pay out of pocket for a private clinic (and we’re not talking a $20 co-pay, but thousands of dollars). Just as an example: A friend of mine from England’s mom was having uterine pain and issues. She would have to wait 2 months for a doctor’s appointment at the local clinic. If she paid $2000, she could go to a private clinic for an appointment to find out what was wrong. She ended up having uterine cancer, and that two month wait for an appointment could have cost her her life. Before we all jump on the socialized medicine bandwagon, we need to realize that it won’t be the same as just making an appointment with your doctor and going in the next day or week, it’ll mean waiting for an opening then taking what you get. Those that are all for it need to do a little research into other countries that have the same type of system, what their income tax rates are, and what their unemployment/underemployment rates are. Then they need to really think about it before jumping back on that bandwagon.

  7. PiedType says:

    My old editor-in-chief/mentor, a family physician approaching retirement, predicted 20 years ago that the chaos in healthcare would continue to spiral out of control, with patients paying more and more for less and less, while bureaucrats, not doctors, dictate what health care, if any, is available to the them. He predicted that eventually the whole system would implode and we’d find ourselves back to where the practice of medicine began — a one-on-one doctor-patient relationship, with payment negotiated between the two parties. All the third-party entities were exactly that. They didn’t enter the picture at all unless and until a patient or doctor chose to contract with them for additional payment of some kind. Watching the change from that to today’s system, where insurance companies and maybe the government dictate everything from access to cost to what’s permitted at all, has been one of the most frightening things in my lifetime.

    @ Reality: I wonder if you’ll still be boycotting modern medicine in about 15 years or so, when you might have a painful or terminal condition that a doctor could alleviate or cure. “Thanks, but no thanks, Doc. I’d rather go ahead and suffer and die because that’s nature’s way.”??? Yeah, right. Tell him that because you’ve become one of our least productive citizens, you don’t want him wasting any resources on you. Or maybe you’d rather have the government tell you, “Sorry, you’re over 65. You no longer qualify for any health care because it wouldn’t be cost effective.”

  8. Timothy says:

    As a physician who has seen what goes on in healthcare I would make the following comments. I have seen how government operates in the medicare system and it frightens me severely to think that my healthcare will be dictated and regulated by government. The government is so inefficient and government workers are so unmotivated. Secondly, there is so much cost shifting in the system, it is naive to think that we can simply move from the current payor system where much of the costs of medicare patients is paid by private insurance, to a one-payor government (low-pay) system without very significant drop in quality of equipment, and healthcare providers. Also, there will be a significant decrease in healthcare businesses which will put up with the hassle and headache in dealing with the government, or simply cannot afford to operate at a lower reimbursement rate of government. Bottom line, expect lower quality, less availability, and lower efficiency under government controlled healthcare.

  9. RoseR says:

    Will-

    My neighbor is from the UK and spends the summer living in Italy. Although they never complain about the UK health system or wait time, the general protocols could have cost her her life. While at a Dr in Italy she was asked when her last mammogram was, and she said two years ago, it’s not due again for another year. (According to UK practices) The Italian Dr. told her to go and get one anyway. They found breast cancer. Breast cancer that had been there at least a year undetected, and would have grown another year with the UK’s social medicine.
    She does rave about the Italian medical system however, and they are socialized as well, as far as I know.
    I still say: no thanks, comrade.

    Rose R

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