Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Rationing

Let's talk health rationing. That is how conservatives are trying to scare the public about health reform. What the conservatives neglect to mention is the health rationing that they approve of, the system we have now.

The system we have now rations on the ability to pay. I am a perfect example. I have several pre-existing conditions that keep me from getting health insurance except in the state health risk pool. There I pay $807/mo for a policy that has a $2500 deductible and a separate $3000 co-pay. The result is all I have is catastrophic coverage. Oh, I have a low income thanks to the economic down turn.

My insurance has another fabulous provision. If you try to commit suicide, there is no coverage. That means if you survive your suicide attempt, then you are left with all the medical charges: ambulance, emergency room, etc. So when you return home, you are inundated by bill collectors. If you weren't depressed to start with, you will be afterward. I think the insurance pool is telling you not to attempt suicide, but just do it right and die.

Back to rationing. I have a bad knee right now. I actually pushed something solid back into place under the knee cap a couple of weeks ago. I have no money, so I cannot go to the doctor because I can't pay for an office visit and X-rays. The pain has been so bad that it makes me nauseous. Luckily, the knee is slowly improving. I just have to be sure not to bend it going up or down steps.

In addition to my knee pain, my blood pressure is dropping. I stopped taking one of my medications that lowers it. This has stabilized my blood pressure although occasionally it really drops. My heart rate is slowing, too. I should go to my doctor, but, guess what, no money. I will wait until I cannot function. I know from a previous diagnosis that there is a finite chance that the nerve from my brain to my heart is being compressed interrupting the signals to my heart. I certainly don't have money for tests or to see a neurologist. I struggle on hoping my finances improve to the point where I can seek medical care. No money, no medical care. This is rationing.

How many people are like me? How many have insurance that is almost worthless? How many have none? None of us can afford our system. The President of the AMA, J. James Rohack, agrees we have health care rationing now.

People without insurance and those like me plug along until we land in the emergency room or dead. You'll ask why do I bother with insurance? Because the insurance company has negotiated a lower pay rate with doctors and hospitals, so I pay much less than I would without insurance. Of course, when you are broke most of the time, you can't do much.

This system does have an advantage for Republics. Lower income voters tend to vote Democratic. A system that supplies less medical care to the poor and low income increases their death rate. This removes these people and their votes for Democrats. No wonder Republics want to maintain the status quo.

Photo by soopahgrover

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