Monday, August 03, 2009

American Health Care

I don't know if you watch Bill Maher. He can get down my neck from time to time, as can his guests. He had Joe Queenan on this past Friday, spouting drool about American health care; Queenan's main thesis seemed to be I Got Mine, Jack.

So it's too bad, Queenan said, 50 million Americans don't have health insurance. The rest of us do. Do you really expect us to up our taxes to buy a system that will pay for those without? Please. What are we, altrustic? Bah.

This was when I started screaming tool at the screen.

Because, no, you fuckwit, that is not what we're doing with healthcare reform and not why we need it.

Yes, obviously, that so many citizens are without that basic need is an issue -- just not the biggest one.

The biggest one is that for most of us, the health care system is broken. (See Sarah Wildman, who, like Joe, has health insurance, and still ended up deeply in debt after childbirth. See Jesse Taylor, who has health insurance and still ended up deeply in debt after minor surgery. See me, who declared bankruptcy a few years ago, due to medical debts well in the hundred thousand dollar range, over half of which were incurred while I had health insurance.)

Nor does it have to be the scary major illness that shoves Americans into disaster -- for me, for my family? It's high blood pressure, it's a kid who has anxiety issues (the shrink is covered, but there's a $1500/year deductible), it's well child care that's not covered, vision care that's not covered, dental benefits that run out in July (only a thousand dollars a year per family, so, well, one root canal and you're fucked), prescription drug benefits that run out in October (I'm on five different meds, mr. delagar is on six, our insurance has a yearly cap for medications), it's how only 80% of the shoulder surgery is covered, and it's how this shit adds up, especially when at the same time the cost of fuel and everything else has doubled and wages?

Wages are flat.

So maybe Queenan, the tool, is doing fine. Maybe he's got his. But for the rest of us out here? It's a problem.

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