Going For Broke

…..one co-pay at a time

Healthcare is not the same as sick care; a fact that is lost on those in the reform business. Someone started to get the idea when the word wellness was introduced into the disease prevention discussion, but then of course a new sheriff came to town and it was back to the drawing board. Anyone who is a parent of a child with any type of illness or anyone who is an adult child of an elderly parent knows all about the state of the so-called healthcare system. Senior citizens who sit at the kitchen table on Sunday afternoons counting out their meds for the week worrying about falling through the doughnut hole understand that the system is designed for the A players, not for those with Part B.

As a general rule I don’t go to the doctor, I don’t take antibiotics and I don’t like having my breasts smashed between cold plates of steel once a year (or twice if the mammogram tech is unskilled).  If I had the insurance premiums for all of the months I haven’t seen a doctor, I could fill my closet with Jimmy Choo and Ferragamo and …..oh who am I kidding. You get the idea.

Avoiding unhealthy foods and staying active are a big head start to caring for one’s health. Sure I have had my share of flu symptoms that have sent me to the drug store to ward off death so I could show up for work. For some reason when I turned forty my body started to get a bit unruly, but for the most part I have enjoyed good health. If you have seen any of my recent posts you may be mildly aware that I am having issues. They are being properly treated, so not to worry. Here’s a quick run down so far. 

Visit to primary care physician $30

Visit to neurologist $40

One MRI $40

Follow up with neurologist $40

Visits to physical therapy $80

Visit to spine specialist $40

Outpatient procedure, physical therapy and follow-up visit costs TBD.

Seeing the actual charges billed & what insurance pays on the statement of benefits….priceless.

Getting angry about the cost of healthcare may fuel debate. It will not correct the hundreds of underlying causes of escalating costs that touch the lives of every single human being who draws breath whether they pay taxes or not, whether they were born here or not, whether they make healthy choices or not. Certainly there is plenty of irresponsible behavior in the healthcare industry itself; otherwise it wouldn’t be called an industry. Treating the sick, whether we like it or not is a business, and as long as it is there will be a cost of doing that business. Who pays? The same people who make their mortgage payments on time every month, the same people who work two jobs to put food on the table and send their kids to college. The same people who pay more than their fair share of the money that is mismanaged by those people who have the best healthcare money can buy.

Oddly enough every one of us knows that quitting smoking reduces serious health risks of heart disease and cancer. We all know drunk driving (& texting while driving) kills and is of course, just plain stupid. There are people who believe they are being taken for a ride and if they want to smoke and drink and eat junk food they’re gonna damn well do it no matter the risk because that is their way of stickin it to the man!

All I know is this, the problems are systemic and the solutions change from day-to-day. There is great value in small successes. If perfection is the goal, we will always fall short.

(Oh yeah, and we are being taken for a ride.)