My last visit to the doctor was more than six months ago and that’s a good thing in more ways than one. I’m feeling good. Also, I’m not sure I can ever afford to go again. The last trip was not necessitated by any type of sickness. I simply needed my doctor to write a prescription refill for a medicine I have been taking for several years – no big deal.
But, it was a big deal. My doctor does a good job and has always seemed reasonable. He had no concerns about writing the prescription but wanted to check my blood just to make sure everything is fine. I have the kind of blood vessels that try to elude needle pricks and his technician has never had any luck getting my blood, so they sent me next door to the hospital for a simple test.
The blood was taken, test performed, and I was informed there was no problem. With my new prescription in hand it appeared everything was set for another year. Then the bill arrived–more than $400 for the doctor visit and more than $700 for the lab work at the hospital. My insurance kicked in but they even cried “Uncle” at about fifty percent of the cost. So I’m stuck with a $600 tab on top of the outrageous amount I pay each month for insurance, even with a $5,000 deductible.
I don’t describe this situation because I want your sympathy; I know you have your own problems. I describe it because I don’t understand why anyone has a problem with a need for health care reform in this country.
I will be the first to admit my ignorance in how it should be reformed. Every President in my lifetime, Democrat and Republican, has given it a shot. We finally got a President to propose, a Congress to pass, and a Supreme Court to approve a plan to reform health care and about half the country is having apoplexy. With the announcement of the Supreme Court decision last week you would have thought Pearl Harbor was attacked once again. I don’t get it.
No doubt it is not a perfect plan (it might not even be a very good plan, I don’t know) but perhaps it can help a guy like me not be charged more than $1,300 to find out if my potassium levels are decent. There is some indication that more Americans will have improved health care, which is a good thing. Some folks will probably have to pay more. It is possible that some will be forced to pay for protection so the rest of us don’t have to pay their tab for them.
I am certainly not an economist but it seems to me the bottom line is that each of us pays for our own insurance anyway, regardless of how it is presented. For example, if your employer provides coverage, surely you realize they are not doing so out of the goodness of the heart. It is a cost for having you as an employee. It is money set aside, that if it were not for insurance, they could just give it to you. Let say you make $50,000 a year and your employer pays $10,000 for insurance for you. You actually cost the company $60,000. If they did not provide insurance, they could give you all that money, so essentially you are paying your own insurance. Sometimes they try to makes us feel good by pretending to “share the cost” with us.
If the government provides all our health care, they must do so with tax dollars, which once again, you pay for. They only ones who do not pay for their own health care are the poor who don’t have income or pay taxes. It’s no coincidence they get the worst health care.
I understand the way we pay for health care can certainly be a Democrat or Republican issue. However, providing for the poor is a Christian matter.
A source much smarter about economics than me writes – “The argument is, at root, about whether wealthy citizens should be required to pay for poor citizens to get health insurance, and about whether healthy people should be required to pay for sick people to get health care. There are some exceptions, but broadly speaking, people who wanted Obamacare struck down yesterday do not think that Americans should have a right to health insurance. People who wanted to see it upheld, do.” (The Economist, Democracy in America, 6-29-2012)
I don’t know if health insurance should be a legal right, but I am confident God expects us to take care of the poor. Perhaps it is time we stopped shouting at each other, come down from our soap boxes, and figure out a way to make that happen.