This, from The New York Times business pages:
For example, Hillary St. Pierre, a 28-year-old former registered nurse who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had expected to reach her insurance plan’s $2 million limit this year. Under the new law, the cap was eliminated when the policy she gets through her husband’s employer was renewed this year.
Ms. St. Pierre, who has already come close once before to losing her coverage because she had reached the plan’s maximum, says she does not know what she will do if the cap is reinstated. “I will be forced to stop treatment or to alter my treatment,” Ms. St. Pierre, who lives in Charlestown, N.H., with her husband and son, said in an e-mail. “I will find a way to continue and survive, but who is going to pay?”
As judges and lawmakers debate the fate of the new health care law, patients like Ms. St. Pierre or Alex Ell, a 22-year-old with hemophilia who lives in Portland, Ore., fear losing one of the law’s key protections. Like Ms. St. Pierre, Mr. Ell expected to reach the limits of his coverage this year if the law had not passed. In 2010, the bill for the clotting factor medicine he needs was $800,000, and his policy has a $1.5 million cap. “It is a close call,” he said.
It is an obscenity, plain and simple in my view, that every American who pays taxes cannot rely on a seamless, safe, affordable way to stay healthy and, when they become ill, have access to excellent care. Because, you know, they’ve got that all figured out in virtually every other nation on earth.
I am acutely aware of what a sham this “system” is because I grew up in Canada and lived there until I was 30. And my friends and family remain there, using a health care system that is so profoundly different in every respect that it is hard to believe sometimes.
My mother, 76, had surgery yesterday in a major Canadian city hospital. Because her condition , while horrible and uncomfortable, was not life-threatening, she had to wait weeks for it. That was lousy for her and for me. But that is how Canada (and other nations) control their health-care costs.
But by the time she had the surgery, she had already been in the hospital since early November, attended to by a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a variety of physicians.
There are no bills.
There will be no sudden, surprising charges we did not anticipate. We will not have to face medical bills of five or six figures, or bankruptcy because — like most people — we would not be able to pay them.
It is wearying in every possible way to deal with a relative who is ill with multiple conditions, some chronic. It is even more terrifying if that illness is potentially life-threatening.
But to have to worry about paying for it?
What else is there worth having in this life but our health?
What will it take for American politicians to find the most useful organ in the body politic, and physical — a heart?
- How Much Does a Healthy Year of Your Life Cost? (brighthub.com)
- Chuck Grassley Slams Individual Health Care Mandate He Once Supported As Unconstitutional (huffingtonpost.com)