Yesterday, I shared the Assumptions people make about me based on their preconceived notions and health care expenses. Today, I’m expanding on that topic to Quality of Life.
Besides “knowing” all the money I obviously waste on doing my nails, having a fancy new car, buying iPhones, etc. people also have other “helpful” suggestions about cutting back on things in order to afford insurance and surgery. Things like cancelling cable, Netflix, cell phones, going out to dinner, buying anything and generally ever leaving your house. (Which again is full of assumptions that I do any or all of those things in the first place.)
But what else it is full of is quality of life issues. I’m not talking about living outside one’s means. I’m not talking about lobsters and steak for dinner every night of the week. I’m just talking about getting through the days with a tiny bit of creature comfort. Being able to come home and watch a little TV, or maybe see a movie once or twice a year. Getting a new shirt or some pants now and then when your old ones wear out. Normal, ordinary life things.
To listen to the naysayers if you do anything at all to make life not a relentless, brutal grind, then obviously you’re just a horrible person. They won’t be happy until you work 90 hours a week at 4 jobs, live in a cardboard box and eat whatever scraps you can find from the dumpster – all so you can save every last penny to pay for your healthcare. Because THAT is how you become a “responsible” member of society.
Isn’t there something wrong with this picture though? Is this really how we want our citizens to live? Hand-to-mouth with not a single moment of enjoyment or comfort, just so they can afford health care? Is that the ideal we should aspire to as a Nation? Is Whatever It Takes really a policy we ought to adopt?
Why is it so radical that I and others like me think a person should get to enjoy a little bit of life. Not to excess but not to living in poverty and virtual slavery either? Why is it so hard to grasp that maybe, if healthcare were not a for-profit business, if it were more affordable and if EVERYONE had access to it, it would truly be health care and not just another, bloated expensive burden to keep rich people rich on the backs of the uninsured poor?
Does not our very own Declaration of Independence say:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Should we really have to give up life, liberty and happiness just to make ends meet? Just to see a doctor when we are ill? (Or, better still, before we get ill to help prevent illness in the first place?) Wasn’t our entire country founded on the idea that we, as Americans are born imbued with a right to be happy? How is taking away all simple pleasures in life merely to afford healthcare in line with that idea?
So, I say it’s not just the assumptions that get in the way of personal struggle and understanding for those 51+ million Americans without health insurance, but also the mistakenly self-righteous notion that some people should just do without – without anything – and that is ok. Because it’s not ok. And realizing that is a small step in better Quality of Life for all.
6 thoughts on “Quality of Life”
Health care is a bit of challenge everywhere. It’s not cheap, anywhere. On the other hand, why do American’s think being born in America and having an average job should relegate a person to third world health care standards? The rest of the First World is doing very well with a variety of plans of social medicine, thank you. It’s unthinkable that an illnesses, go on so long because prevenative HC is too expensive for the average person, that surgery costs so much that hospitals cost so much. It’s nuts. An acute bed in a new modern hospital in NZ with everything you have in Florida and more than state hosiptal in MI costs only $600 a day. I pay $150 a month for private insurance that gets me any diagnosis that ends in surgery and follow up care for free with front of line private hospital care. The only real difference is in waiting times for elective surgery, everything acute or accidental is insurance covered via taxes. After you 10 Rx per year, you get a subsidy and the more meds you need the cheaper it is. Free if you are unemployed, disabled or sick. Our beloved Miss m would have been Dx years earlier, cost nothing for the Tx, surgery or follow up and maybe upto $600 in med charges. As acute as she was, even the public system wait would only have been weeks, or about what she waited anyway. Although she may have lost her job, she could have had income loss insurance, mortgage insurance and credit card insurance. At her last pay cheque, her Sickness Benefit would kick in at $320 + free meds a week plus a suppliment for rent if Love’s pay was below a threshold and her appointment travel costs would be covered. She might even have gotten a few hours a week of house cleaning support for free (though, only if Love can’t vacuum for a good reason). All for what 19% on your first 35K and 22% on your next 50K and 35% above, no state tax and 15% GST. In most of Canada, she would have done better on waiting without insurnace, but less on follow-up care but vastly bettter on regular medical care. Drug costs for working peeps without benefits would be higher. So, why does an American have the heatlh care of a Haitian?
The other end ofthe free market system is it supports driving up costs to insurance level demands (when only a select number of the middle class can afford insurance). Do you really believe that a keyhole hysterectomy costs $45,000US? It’s doable for $9,000NZ (about $5,000US). If Miss m had $20K hanging around, she could have come here for a month, had it done privately and spent some time relaxing around the shire (see medical tourism). Mind you, even the Kiwi’s fly off to Thialand for cheap facelifts in there facelift factory hospitals.
Stop picking on the patient, in a civialised country an illness does not break you, even if you are far from rich. To think that America can not look after the health of Americans is really Unamerican thinking. Get to it, these stories of your ehatlh care failures are too damn sad and the closed-mindeness that supports it is pure stupidity (you know, speaking for the rest of the world).
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Just a few of your experiences with getting healthly again, I really had a reaction to. I’m not suggesting things are perfect everywhere (anywhere) else, the costs of health care and its delivery are top of the charts problems everywhere it seems. I’m thrilled to hear Miss m is doing well, but holy cow, not like that was made easy for her. All the best.
I think the three key words you have ignored are “the pursuit of” .
I’m happy Obamacare helped you out. As you now know though, it hasn’t really done anything to bring actual costs of the healthcare itself down.
I wish they could figure out some way to handle that. 🙁
Good luck to you!
Also, I just tried donating through WePay. After I entered my c.c. info and clicking the button, an error referring to Adobe Acrobat popped up and it didn’t go through. You might want to try a test donation to make sure it is still working. You might be losing out on some donations. 🙁
That will come in 2014. When more people are insured, the prices go down for everyone. Also, in 2014, insurance companies will be required to spend no less than 80% on medical payouts which help doctors and facilities get more money and waste less on administrative tasks.
Sorry you had problems. I had a donation come in yesterday. 🙁
This the page: https://www.wepay.com/donations/hysterectomy-medical-bills
And if that is an issue, I also accept donations through PayPal as well (which doesn’t require an account either) http://tiny.cc/hysterectomy
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