In addition to having the most expensive and by inference the most inefficient health care on earth, ours is the most heartless. As noted in the experiences of this young woman, when you are desperately ill you are forced to spend an inordinate amount of time figuring our your coverage, worrying about life time maximums, finances, and copays and deductibles.
If you have a chronic illness in America, there’s a good chance you also hold a degree in Health Insurance 101, whether you want to or not. The first thing I learned was how lucky I was to have health insurance at all. (An estimated 49 million Americans, and nearly one-third of Americans 18 to 24 years old, are uninsured.) I was on my parents’ insurance, a plan provided through my father’s employer. It’s a comprehensive plan that will cover me until age 26 — two years from now.
I’ve been fortunate to be treated by excellent doctors at world-class hospitals. In the last year alone, my insurance has covered over a million dollars in medical expenses, including a bone marrow transplant and 10 hospitalizations amounting to a combined five months of inpatient care. It all sounds straightforward when I explain it like that. But even if you have insurance, the cost of health care — in dollars as well as in time and stress — is incredibly high.
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Medicynical Note: If Mitt gets his way insurers will be free to discriminate against this young woman and others with serious and debilitating illness and not offer them insurance or price it out of their range. She is a poster person for health reform in that her coverage through her parents was not allowed prior to the passage of that act.
Regarding the millionaire owner of Papa John’s Pizza moaning about increasing the cost of an order .15-.20 cents, he should be thankful to be able to offer such coverage to his employees. Who, but for their good luck, could be facing similar catastrophic illnesses. Would he have preferred no coverage for his valued workers and the government paying directly through Medicaid for their care or having them become financially bankrupt or even worse not having access to care because of lack of insurance or funds. Apparently Mr. Schatter is a Romney supporter, so who knows what he thinks.
The U.S.is the only industrialized country in the world without a national health plan assuring coverage to all citizens. How exceptional is that?!