Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I need to vent!!

Healthcare is one cause that is near and dear to my heart. I believe that everyone should have it. And, I think there is a way that gov't can help provide it without "being in control" of your healthcare. Many countries have various versions of universal health care. When you have an entity that is as large as the government, it can cut costs by bulk buying.

My company is great to work for. However, they struggle just like every other company. Every year they scout out the best deal for health insurance. This means they will switch to a whole new company if they have to. My first year here, we had United HealthCare and my Primary doctor didn't take it. It was okay because I am healthy and will go for a physical or cold every once and awhile. But then I got pregnant. And that changed everything. The next year we switched to Blue cross, blue shield.. which worked out wonderfully. It covered all maternity visits and I only had to pay $250 for my hospitalization when I had my beautiful son. And we were able to get my son into the office where our PCP is because they take BCBS, and I'd like to keep the doctor who knows my son and has seen him his entire life. For two years we've had this insurance.

Well, it's the end of the year and the shopping begins again. The cost of our policy is going up 10% and the owners don't want to absorb those costs. So, they are thinking of going to a HSA with a high deductible health insurance. Now, to be honest, I don't know all that much about it... But what I do know is that it works out well if you never go to the doctor, which really defeats the purpose. Most companies are going to start leaning this way, I'm told. So, you have a savings acct and your payments will come out of there. Naturally at the beginning of the year, you better hope nothing happens, because you haven't put anything into your acct yet.

This makes me angry. What if your a person who takes good care of yourself, but you have an "accident", fall and break your leg or something? Or what if you simply have a larger sized family? And in my case, if I want to have another child... it will be very costly as I likely will have to have a Csection. So, where is the justice in that? Anyone with kids knows that unpredictable things happen. No one should have to worry about providing for their family or not getting the care they need to restore their health.

So, yeah.. .Universal Healthcare is looking pretty good. Heck, I pay a huge premium right now out of my check... and I don't mind because at least I know that all I am responsible for is a copay here and there. I don't want FREE health insurance, I want AFFORDABLE health insurance.

All that nonsense about how you don't get to pick your doctor.... Well... if most people have a govt plan, doctors will take it. Waiting a long time to have a surgery? Ask most people from Canada or other countries, it's simply not true.

So... I will be waiting to see what President Obama can come up with. I'll be hoping that someday, my children won't be forced with a tough decision of trying to figure out how to get affordable health insurance.

18 comments:

cancer mommy said...

As a former cancer patient, I spend over $12,000/yr for me and my kids' insurance. That's outrageous! And if I don't keep it, I'll never be able to get "affordable" coverage again. Like what I pay now is affordable. I hope this administration can get something done about it, but the GOP is so vengeful, they might kill it. If so, they'll basically kill their chances at running our country for a while, though.
BTW, love your blog. I've finally found a lovely liberal like me.

patrick said...

What is a Health Savings Account (“HSA”)?
A Health Savings Account is an alternative to traditional health insurance; it is a savings product that offers a different way for consumers to pay for their health care. HSAs enable you to pay for current health expenses and save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis.

You must be covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to be able to take advantage of HSAs. An HDHP generally costs less than what traditional health care coverage costs, so the money that you save on insurance can therefore be put into the Health Savings Account.

You own and you control the money in your HSA. Decisions on how to spend the money are made by you without relying on a third party or a health insurer. You will also decide what types of investments to make with the money in the account in order to make it grow.

http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/public-affairs/hsa/faq_basics.shtml

cynthiaa said...

i need to say nothing...i love your blog. and agree with everything you say.

patrick said...

HSA's are not horrible by any means. As to Universal Health care as they have in Canada--no thanks!
I know tons on folks in Canada and guess where they come for treatments --the US.

monkey girl said...

Honestly if we get one good thing out of the next four years let in be Universal Healthcare. This country truly needs to change. It shouldn't be common that people go bankrupt or homeless because they can't pay their medical bills. This is outrageous. I'm six months into treatment for lyme disease and let me tell you, United Healthcare doesn't want to pay for a damn thing. Nothing. When I go to the pharmacy and the nice lady behind the counter says, "I'm sorry they won't pay for it" I want to scream. When I call the insurance rep. they don't have to even give me a reason why anymore. Our deductable is huge and my husband's company pays $1,000/month for a family of four. And that's supposed to be "good" healthcare. No one wants to take United because they pay less than Medicaid/Medicare. People need to change their way of thinking.

HEALTH CARE SHOULDN'T BE A 'FOR-PROFIT' INDUSTRY. Companies shouldn't be able to get rich on sick people. Health care is a right for ALL.

There that's my venting for today.

Jen said...

It IS ridiculous. The people who make decisions about how healthcare is run are government officials who have GREAT health insurance and don't have to worry about anything. And if they do, they've got the money to pay for it.

HSA's are fine and good, if you don't go to the doctor, and what is the point then? Esp if you have a catastrophic thing happen in the beginning of the year, when there is no money in your "account". It's probably a find health insurance for a healthy couple, but I just can't see it for a family with kids.

Most people assume that because you are sick.. you "asked for it" or did something of your own free will to cause it and that is not the case. With all the bacteria, viruses and superbugs around... antibacterial soaps that are contributing to stronger organisms... these types of illnesses are going to be harder to beat.

At least the President Elect, has the experience of watching his mother struggle, so he can at least relate with the average person.

patrick said...

At least the President Elect, has the experience of watching his mother struggle, so he can at least relate with the average person.

Did his mother not have insurance? Also as a side note while he made it to his grandmothers death bead (so to speak) he could not make it to his own mothers (rather odd--if you ask me).

patrick said...

As to monkey girls proclamation that Universal Healthcare is wonderful and we should have it here...

http://www.angelfire.com/pa/sergeman/issues/healthcare/socialized.html

Read the above--full of horror stories from Canada and Europe! If you are so gung ho about UH then please move to Canada!

Jen said...

Well, his mother did have insurance, but she had to fight with them in order for them to cover her cancer treatments.

And the reason he was adamant about going to see his grandmother is because he was unable to spend final moments with his mother.

Do you know much about Cancer Patrick? Have you ever seen anyone suffer from it? Because if you have you would know that they can have a downturn in a moment's notice when everything was going fine.

How you or anyone can argue against affordable health insurance is so confusing to me. I watch people struggle every day. It's disgusting. And then when they have to worry about giving up their homes, or being able to receive life saving treatments... .There's a freakin' problem with that. We are the richest country and we should be able to find a way to take care of people.

monkey girl said...

Patrick,

I'd take a flawed universal health care plan any day of the week, if it meant EVERYBODY had health care. Whenever I hear cracks about how horrible Canada's and the UK's health care is...it's always coming from someone who already has health care. Ask any Canadian or Brit if they'd trade in their health care for the American kind. And where is exactly is my 'proclamation' that Universal Health care is wonderful? WE DON'T HAVE universal health care yet, I'M SAYING any coverage for EVERYBODY is better than what we have now.
Just like I said before...people need to change their way of thinking. Start by trying to understand what it must be like for families/people who have NO INSURANCE and their child is sick and they have to choose between going to the doctor or putting food on the table/or paying the electric bill, yet they make to much for medicaid.
My family has what is considered 'good' health insurance coverage and it's crap. It's ok if you never get sick, however if you get sick, have an emergency, get cancer, etc...you'd be sick out of luck.
Do you really want to argue with your insurance carrier about paying a medical bill when you're going through chemotherapy? Just like Cancer Mommy said...if her insurance company drops her, she'll never get health insurance coverage again.
I just get livid when I here people say we don't need universal health care.

cancer mommy said...

Patrick,

I'm sure you're here commenting as a non-liberal. I don't know too many people in Europe or Canada that would trade their healthcare for ours, once they learn how much we pay. Even with insurance. A HSA would kill me financially. In countries with UH, people do not go bankrupt due to medical bills. In the richest country on Earth, that is the #1 reason for bankruptcy. Why is that, if our healthcare system is the best in the world?

As for Obama not seeing his mother before she passed, she was fighting cancer. It is a horrible disease that steals so much from you. I should know. Although, thankfully, I'm still here to talk about it. It was a sudden passing for her, and very sad. No one should have to fight with their insurance company while fighting cancer or any other disease. Illness should be covered, period.

I would never wish anything like cancer on anyone, so I hope you never have to experience the frustration, anger, and horrific sadness that accompanies that journey. If you did put yourself in my shoes (or Obama's mother's), you'd realize that your rants are offensive. Please keep an open mind about change. It's not always a bad thing.

patrick said...

UH is not the answer for all, sorry Cancer Mommy.

I would never wish anything like cancer on anyone, so I hope you never have to experience the frustration, anger, and horrific sadness that accompanies that journey. If you did put yourself in my shoes (or Obama's mother's), you'd realize that your rants are offensive. Please keep an open mind about change. It's not always a bad thing.

LOL! My own father died of cancer, Cancer Mommy. And yes I agree with your assessment of the disease. I have lost my grandmother who lived in Europe to the disease too..somehow I managed to make it to both of these peoples death beds, but then they meant the world to me so I made the effort and took the time.
And just what was so offensive in my comment? It is a fact that he was not at his mothers death bed and wasn't it him that made a point of saying that he felt bad that he could not say good bye to her?
I am sorry but I do not think that UH is the answer to the problem. Just how is the program going to get funded? Are people that use it more going to pay more? what about all of those people that pay nothing in taxes each year, how are they going to fund this?

patrick said...

hat Do We Really Know About the Uninsured?
We should find out before Obama turns our health care upside-down.

Next year, when Barack Obama becomes president, he will almost certainly move quickly toward some form of government-provided -- and possibly government-mandated -- health insurance. A principal reason for this is the oft-cited figure of 46 million uninsured Americans.

But what does this number mean? And do we really need to remake our entire health-care system to protect the uninsured? Most people have an incomplete understanding of the uninsured population, which can lead to bad policy choices.

Many Americans believe that the uninsured are too poor to purchase coverage and that government programs aren't available to them. But a study published in Health Affairs in November 2006 estimated that 25% of the uninsured were in fact eligible for public coverage, and another 20% probably could afford coverage on their own. If we apply those percentages to today's uninsured population, roughly 25 million people would need assistance in order to get health insurance.

That's a major concern. But the notion that there are 46 million Americans who can't get the health care they need for lack of money or public assistance is a myth.

The other two common misperceptions are that the uninsured don't get health care, and that when they do they're "free riders," i.e., they don't pay for the care they get.

A study published by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) in April 2000 found that, of the uninsured California residents whose household income was at least twice the poverty level, 50% (about 1.3 million) had received care in the last year for which they were charged, and another 8% had received care for which they weren't charged. The study also found that 89% of these people were either somewhat or very satisfied with the care they received, and that only 15% went to the emergency room versus a doctor's office or clinic when they got sick.

Another recent study, published in Health Affairs in August, had similar findings, and estimated that uninsured Americans will receive $86 billion worth of health care in 2008.

These two studies also provide evidence that disputes the free-rider myth. The CHCF study found that of the 1.3 million uninsured who received care for which they were charged, 80% had paid for it, and almost half of the remaining 20% were paying in installments. The study published in Health Affairs estimated that the uninsured would pay for $30 billion of their health-care costs this year -- more than one-third -- out of pocket.

For the millions of the uninsured, then, who are getting and paying for satisfactory care on their own, foregoing needed care and sticking the public with huge ER bills is a myth.

Most of the proposals under discussion today involve a significant expansion of government programs, a legal requirement for everyone to carry insurance, or a combination of the two. But if millions of people have found ways to access and pay for satisfactory health care without involving an insurance company, is forcing them to buy traditional insurance an effective solution?

Perhaps we should look for ways to encourage the millions of people who are currently eligible for existing government programs to enroll before we expand programs to include people that may not need assistance.

Providing and funding care for those who have truly fallen through the cracks should be an urgent priority. But given the demands on state and federal budgets today, it's more important than ever to tailor solutions so limited resources can provide the most relief possible.

Come Jan. 20, President Obama and Congress should do all they can to separate myth from fact before tackling America's health-care problems.

Mr. Snyder is a policy adviser to the Heartland Institute.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122722921596746391.html

cancer mommy said...

Patrick,

I can certainly appreciate all the statistics and numbers you've put forth in your response. And I don't think everyone that is for healthcare reform is necessarily for the UH that you are talking about. For many people, the idea of Universal Healthcare is just having everyone covered medically speaking. Not necessarily by the insurance complanies, and their rules, that exist today.

While I understand your view that Obama should have made it to his mother's deathbed, stating that it was worth your time and I guess implying that it wasn't worth his, you do not know the circumstances behind the situation. There are many cases when even the doctors are unaware of how close to death their patients are, and to degrade someone for missing that opportunity without all the information is judgemental at best.

I would love to hear any solutions you have for keeping healthcare costs down, and allowing citizens to get the services they need when they need them. I do not usually hear any solutions coming from critics, just complaints. There needs to be a way to cut costs and keep a needed service available to every citizen. This is a fundamental issue that everyone should be entitled to quality healthcare. We've already socialized police protection, fire protection, and education. Why is this so different? And should insurance companies be allowed to make such huge profits, while needed treatments for even those insured go uncovered?

Thank you for your response. I know reading a post, it is hard to know the tone of the "speaker". I should have chosen my words more carefully. I do think, however, that unless you've walked that path yourself, you can never truly understand the fears and frustrations involved in fighting for coverage for treatment that will save your life. And knowing that without said treatment, you will most likely die. My point was that no one should have to think about that at all.

I love a good debate!

Jen said...

Patrick - You seem to have a lot of statistics, yet the numbers don't show everything. The fact that 47 mil people take chances with their lives everyday b/c they can't afford insurance and to be able to support their families is ridiculous.

You won't be changing my mind on this... although I'm not necessarily for Universal Healthcare as much as I'm for affordable QUALITY healthcare for everyone.

And with someone's health, you never know what to expect. My MIL had cancer, went into the hospital for a routine back surgery and she hemmorrhaged and died. We were unable to be at her death bed. I'm guessing that probably makes me a bad person just like Obama.

patrick said...

OK let me clarify...I am not for UH as Europe and Canada have but I would be for something like Cancer Mommy has suggested or even better Jen has suggested..

We've already socialized police protection, fire protection, and education. Why is this so different?

Leaving the FD and PF outta it the socialization of education is a failure. the public school education system in this country is a joke compared to other countries for the billions put into it each year we really should have a much better system!!

Jen said...

I definately agree on the education mark. I tried to help my 8 year old nephew do math. What was wrong with the math, times tables, and all that? Now they have some box, makes no sense to me. No child left behind didn't work, we need a new plan.

Tom Daschle wrote a book... I didn't read it so I'm paraphrasing... about a proposal of a health bureau similar to the Federal Reserve. I find that interesting.

We need to take the greedy insurance companies out of it.

patrick said...

I definately agree on the education mark. I tried to help my 8 year old nephew do math. What was wrong with the math, times tables, and all that? Now they have some box, makes no sense to me. No child left behind didn't work, we need a new plan.


so why not teach him the old fashioned way, they way you and I learned (seemed to work way back then :)

But yes I do agree that the system needs an overhaul and it was suffering long before NCLB.