I have extremely strong political views that don’t really belong on a blog about fighting cancer, so I’ve kept them to myself. However, one thing on the political front has been going on in the last month or so that is very apropos to this blog, so I’m making a comment. A footnote, if you will, in the shouting match between those in favor and those against Obamacare.
Apparently many Republicans, in an effort to derail the implementation of Obamacare, have decided that the best way to ruin the program is to try to convince uninsured people that they don’t need health insurance. Their target is the most important group of people who need to be insured in order for the whole system to work: people who generally don’t get sick or otherwise need health care. For the most part, this means anyone from 18-35 and primarily men because they don’t get pregnant (and they already think they’re invincible, so it’s easy pickings). Their solution? “Just go to the emergency room.” Sure, you break an arm, you’re not insured, and you get a really expensive cast. And, bonus, they get a political win.
Regardless of your political inclination or your thoughts about any version of health care, this particular argument is absolute bullshit.
I’m here to tell you that it is not worth playing this particular game of roulette. At last count, my hospital stays, chemo treatments, prescriptions, scans, doctors, attempt to harvest eggs, surgery, clinic-visits, and God knows what else added up to just shy of $750,000. Three-quarters of a million dollars. I know, nobody, including the insurance company, actually paid that much (don’t get me started on how broken the “market” of health care is in this country), but insurance paid for a lot of it. And without insurance? Who knows? (One of the definitions of an economic “market” requires actual transparency into prices, which is why health care in the US is not a “market” in the useful or accurate sense of the word.) But I can safely assume that we would have been begging for at least $150,000 from family and friends. Or, even worse, but more likely, I probably wouldn’t have seen my doctor on June 28, 2012. Which means that I would have had a ruptured superior vena cava sometime in early July 2012. Which means that I would have bled out in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Which means that I would probably be dead right now.
And now you know why I want to strangle the folks behind this particular ad campaign. How dare they play roulette with other people’s lives for a political gain? You can be damn sure they all have health insurance (and, if they’re a member of Congress, really good health insurance).
Oh, Lydia, you’re just being dramatic. I’m not going to get SICK, sick, you’re just an aberration.
That may be true, but in the last three months, friends of mine, not “people I know from the cancer world,” but true, legit, pre-cancer friends have been diagnosed with the following:
Colon cancer (25, male).
Brain tumor (29, male).
Brain tumor (32, male).
Multiple Sclerosis (31, female).
Thyroid cancer (25, male).
Insurance is not something you buy because you’re parents always told you it was a good idea. Insurance is something you buy because the health care “market” is so broken in this country that insurance has become part of the cost of living (and when I say living, I actually mean “staying alive”).
If you’re not insured, get insured.