Thursday, April 28, 2005

Oh, yeah

This is an oh yeah another thing on Capitalist Lion's naive rebuttal post, the one where he says if we weren't too lazy to work all Americans would be rich enough to buy great health care --

-- because, of course, as I wanted to add, the problem Mr. Lion is missing with that neat bit of logic is that it isn't not working that's making us poor, it's buying health care under our current health care system, which is actually broken: not urben-legend broken, as your idea of the Canadian system is (one of his commenters trotted out the "in Canada patients have to wait a year to get an abortion!" myth, oh, it was very funny, and he's got one about patients in Canada having to wait up to a year for elective surgery -- hey, Mr. Lion? My father has been on a waiting list over six months for heart surgery. And that's right here in the U.S.A., with the greatest health care system in the world, and yep, he has insurance, and really good insurance at that).

Take my case, Mr. Lion. I'm not a minimum wage worker. I make decent money -- might even call me middle-class. Our household is in the 50-100,000 a year range. But last year we declared bankruptcy. Why?

Here's why: medical bills.

We pay six hundred a month for insurance. We pay, over and above that six hundred a month for insurance, a twenty dollar co-pay every time we actually see a doctor. Then, after we have seen the doctor, our insurance only covers %80 of the actual cost, of anything, and some things, like mr. delagar's sleep apnea, it does not cover at all.

When we moved, as academics do, we had to make giant COBRA payments to keep our health insurance active (what's that, you say? Do without health insurance, if your COBRA payments are too high? Well, yes, I tried that once, when I was young and an idiot, like you: I got cancer, without insurance -- that contributed to the medical bankruptcy I recently declared, quite a bit). That happened twice. COBRA is such a boon -- oh yes. Do you have any idea how high COBRA payments are for families? Ours was nine hundred a month. This was when we were bringing in, together, barely two thousand a month.

I also had a baby and major medical care in states in which the hospitals were allowed to charge interest on the money patients owed them: one hospital charged me twenty-one percent interest(Louisiana). The other charged me fourteen percent interest (Idaho). I had surgery in a state (North Carolina) where the hospital could turn patients over to collect agencies.

So Mr. Lion's little fantasy, about how anyone can get wonderful medical care in this country, no matter how much money they make, and paying for it won't be a problem -- well, Mr. Lion needs to get out in the real world and look around a bit. Or, here's an idea, do some research. Find out what he's actually talking about before he opens his big mouth.

Hey, what a concept.

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