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Allow me to point something out to some of you.

I can’t count the number of people who are being just absolute assholes about the ObamaCare situation right now.

It’s mostly those who count themselves as liberal or “progressive,” which is unfortunate for several reasons.  The general tone of voice is, “The world didn’t end, conservatives!  How do you like us NOW, bitches?”

Seriously.  The assumption is that we (Conservatives…I count myself as one of them, for fiscal reasons, though I consider myself to be pretty liberal, socially) are wailing, gnashing our teeth, and wringing our hands, expecting scores of people to be put to death immediately upon this bill being passed into law.

Thanks for using up some of your brainspace on us, but we’re not retarded.  Well, okay, I can’t speak for everyone, but I, at least, am not retarded.

_____

If you’ve been following my blog AT ALL in the past several months, you’ve seen just how completely fucked up the health care of a person can be, even if that person is, like me, a veritable stockpile of health trivia.  I read medical articles and books for fun, guys.  If it wasn’t for chemistry (I can’t for the life of me get past some sort of mental block with it…I got a C in high school chemistry out of pity, but passed biology with one of the highest grades in my class), I might have tried to go to medical school.  In the past, this has led to a  lot of O MY GOD U GUYS I HAS A FEVER AND I’M PUKING I MIGHT HAVE MENINGITIS, but now that I’m in “chronic” territory, I use this interest to re-assure myself that more sinister things are NOT afoot.  And I’ll freely admit when I have no clue even while I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.  I’ve done it in here.  You’ve all seen it recently, with the “what the FUCK is wrong with my thyroid results?!?” incident.

My point is, I’m not your average consumer.

I don’t have insurance, which means I pay out-of-pocket for everything.  When I visit the doctor, I pay $40 up front for the office visit, and if any tests are run, I pay for those either on my way out the door, or at the beginning of my next visit.  My prescriptions are all generic, and if they’re not, I get them for free from the company directly (Cymbalta does this – it’s a need-based charity thing, and since a month’s prescription costs $250, I’m all over that).  In all, I pay about $75 per month for my health care, when I’m not having seriously fucked up side effects that require special care.

By contrast, JB has health insurance (he’s had longstanding heart problems, and it was absolutely necessary for him to have insurance), and he pays a $25 co-pay per visit.

I looked at one of his statements from BCBS once, and the same office visit that I pay $40 for?  His insurance company is charged over $200.  JB’s coverage costs about $150 per month, and his Rx deductible is $500.  Basically, he pays $175 every time he goes to the doctor (with his monthly costs and his monthly visit for refills and checkups), and then his prescriptions are another $50 or so…there’s pretty much no way he’s going to reach his Rx deductible by the end of the fiscal year.

Let’s review.  I don’t have insurance, and I pay around $75 per month.  JB has health insurance, and he pays around $225 per month.

If something terrible were to happen requiring a hospital stay for either one of us, I have no doubt that I would come out on the better end of things, financially, because a lot of places will only charge the base cost of supplies for me rather than charging for supplies, procedures, and paperwork (it’s like going to a mechanic and only getting charged for the part instead of parts, labor, and ball-scratching).  I wasn’t asked to pay anything at Stern Cardiovascular last week when I checked out (I was prepared to pay at least $300), and I have a feeling that, IF I get a bill in the mail, it’s not going to be nearly that much.  JB, on the other hand, will show his insurance card, and the assumption will be that all bets are off, and he’s taken care of, so he’d be charged the $300 office fee, and however many thousands of dollars the stress test cost.

Out of that, I honestly have no idea how much his insurance would cover, but with how shitty his prescription coverage is, I’m not hopeful about the outcome of that.

_____

I am seeing first-hand how an improvement is needed, but have you seen me say anything about government involvement?  Nope.

Do I think insurance companies are completely fucked?  Yep.

Do I understand why they are that way nowadays?  Yep.

Do I think we need to re-evaluate the situation and try to figure out a solution that would allow the greatest number of benefit for the greatest number of people?  Nope.

Why?  Because you’re NEVER going to find ONE solution that will work for everyone.  That’s what a free market is for.  Let people find their own solutions, and let companies work for their clients…or work to find a client base.

Again, I have a chronic condition, and holy shit, does it suck.  I freely admit to having days where I thought I would rather die than continue to feel the way I did.  I’ve always suffered a bit from depression, but if I thought I knew was true depression was before, well, I was wrong.  THIS is depression – this, that I’m living, right now, as a result of stress and illness.  I have lots of reasons to be very unhappy with the results of my treatment, but I also recognize that there’s only so much I can do right now.

There are other people in my position who are convinced that if they visit enough doctors, participate in enough experimental treatments, and make enough noise, they’ll be cured.

And there are still others who don’t really care, but won’t turn down the pain pills…once they find a doctor who will acquiesce, they’re not likely to leave that office.

Others go ER-hopping (and bill-skipping), and are either legitimately too poor to afford the care they actually need, or are lying in an attempt to get pain killers or muscle relaxers.

Those are four different viewpoints from one situation.  Think about how many diseases are out there, and how many patients suffer from each of those diseases, even if only temporarily.

Okay, now just look up at my four examples again.

Can you find ONE solution that will work for all four of those people?

If you answered “yes,” then you might be very optimistic, but you might also be wrong.

No one solution will work, or make all of them happy.  The closest solution is to let them shop for their care how they wish (yes, I’m aware of the abuse inherent in that system – I watch Intervention all the time), and allow the caretakers they wish to visit to barter on prices and services.

You know how I got my $40 rate?  I asked how much it would be after the initial get-you-in-the-system costs.  I got a deer-in-headlights look, a hurried huddle between a few office assistants, and an offer of “$40, okay?”

My doctor’s office has the freedom to choose whether to offer me a price for care, and I have the choice whether to accept it.  Considering that I’ve been to offices where $95 was considered inexpensive, you bet your ass I accepted a $40 fee.

Will we be able to do that when the government is trying to enact a “One Plan to Rule Them All” policy on healthcare?

Don’t bet on it.

_____

Health care is not a right.  It’s a privilege.  Once you start treating it as a right, you start getting people trying to “protect” the right by forcing everyone to comply.

Here’s a hint:  Anything that has to be forced upon people is not a right.  It is a compulsory regulation, i.e. a “rule.”

Things that you do, anyway?  Like speak your mind?  Gather in groups of like-minded people?  Choose who to let stay in your house, and for what reason?  Defend your life and that of others when you’re attacked?  Not “telling on” yourself?  THOSE are rights.

It sounds so simple, but so many people don’t understand.

We’re not afraid of the world ending suddenly, with a bang.

We’re more afraid of our country’s surrender to socialist mediocrity with no more fanfare than the noises you hear on your daily commute.

What is good for me is not necessarily good for you, so I don’t expect you to do what I do.  If I did, I’d be in the wrong.

Do you see what the issue is with ObamaCare?  They don’t believe they’re in the wrong for expecting everyone to comply to one system for which we’ll all be charged a tax, whether we want to or not.

This isn’t charity, folks.  It’s compulsory taxation.  It’s a giant redistribution plan, a’la Robin Hood, to appeal to those who may not have any idea that they do have other options besides the ones they’re currently using.

But thanks to the lack of education on the topic, they won’t have a choice to exercise those options.  From here on out, unless a repeal can be made after this next election cycle, we’re all under the same umbrella, and it’s full of holes.

7 comments to Allow me to point something out to some of you.

  • In the end JB’s visit costs so much more because while for you, you walk in, get the product, and pay for it, walk out. Its essentially you, the doctor, and a little bit of interaction with the receptionist.

    For JB, he walks in, pays his co pay, walks out. Then somebody in the office (likely somebody who’s full-time job is to do this) fills out required paperwork and submits a claim. Then there is some degree of haggling back-and-forth between what is covered and what isn’t, and what the insurance company and the doctor feel are the going rate for xyz, plus of course the cost of the time spent arguing over this minutiae.

    Like everything involving haggling, the price is set artificially high, so that the “Seller” (doctor) will have room to go down to the “Buyer” (insurance company) agreed price, without having to actually loose money in the process.

    The huge number of doctors that refuse to take medicare/Medicaid should show how much worse it is if the .gov is running the show than the “Greedy Insurance Companies”.

    And in the end, you’re living proof that a lot of this expense isn’t even needed. Hell just look at the price of liposuction, or a boob-job, or laser eye surgery. They are generally not covered by insurance, and the price of the product is constantly going down because people actually CARE what they’re paying, vs. just what the copay is.

    Of course things like drug development, surgery, emergency care, medical equipment, ect ect are VERY expensive because they take skilled individuals, and expensive certification and testing to get them to market, but much of the stuff we have insurance handle is VERY affordable. Teeth cleanings, basic Checkups, routine tests all don’t cost much, and also aren’t done on a frequency that anybody above the poverty line can squirrel away enough to save for it.

    So instead of me choosing which mechanic to go to for repair and maintenance work on my truck, I’m going to the first place I see, and not even looking at the bill because I only have to pay my delectable to my auto insurance company. Can you imagine auto insurance rates if we could claim “Oil Change and Tire Rotation” on our insurance, and then forced our mechanic (or the newly hired secretary) to argue with the company over the cost and labor of such a procedure?

  • Oh FYI, Health care sure-as-shit is a right and NOT a privilege. But like every other right, it is only the right to seek and attain heath care, not a right for somebody to GIVE you anything. You can’t say “hey, you! You can’t go see the doctor!”

    But you also can’t say “Hey Doctor, you MUST see this patient, no matter if they pay you or not!”

    • I disagree. If we have a right to health care, then it stands to reason that we should also have the right to not be offended, to not be made upset, and to not have to put up with anything else that might be detrimental to our physical or mental health. That’s simply not the case.

  • But you also can’t say “Hey Doctor, you MUST see this patient, no matter if they pay you or not!”

    Weer’d, that’s not true, at least at Emergency Rooms. But your other comments are spot on.

    Squeeky, this is a great post. I’m afraid that I’m terribly pessimistic about how this will all play out in 15 or 20 years. Despite all the grandiose talk about “fairness” and “rights”, the little guy always gets screwed by the nanny state, and the economics of health care – particularly of chronic mental health care – are unavoidable. I think that this will lead to society’s most vulnerable members getting kicked to the curb.

    • Oh, trust me – I’m really pessimistic about this, too. I just know that being violent and/or dickish about it isn’t going to help, any.

      Someone told me that I should be happy about this bill because I’m one of the people it’s “trying” to help. I said I’d rather keep going the path I’m on than be forced to rely on other people for my doctor visits and medication. Funny, but I haven’t heard back from them.

  • Borepatch: While ER’s can’t turn you away, that is more intervention by the government and not necessarily a defined right. It is no more a defined right than the crap that just passed. Just because it is law doesn’t mean that it should be a right or is a right. You *shouldn’t* be able to tell a doctor “you must see this patient”. While it sucks for patients, where is the doctor’s right to say no? Where is his liberty? Most business has the right to refuse you service and if you have ever been in an ER (I’m sure you have) you know what kind of a-holes the customers can be.