Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Why I believe in Health Care Reform

This blog post is both an explanation of why I believe in Health Care Reform and also an explanation of why I haven't posted to my blog for a long time. 9 days before Thanksgiving I got very ill - the doctors weren't sure whether it was food poisoning, a virus or something else. Ill enough that we had to call my doctor and go to the emergency room at 9 at night. Ill enough that if I hadn't gotten treatment I could potentially have died. Ill enough that we were in the Emergency Room until 3:30 in the morning when I was finally released rehydrated, no longer delirious and myself again.

So why do I write about this today? I just go the bill from the hospital last night for the roughly 6 hours I spent in the ER. The Total Charges - $19,053.12. When I opened the bill my eyes were immediately drawn to that number since it was actually more than what I paid for my brand new car 4 years ago. How is this possible? I could just not imagine it. After sitting down and catching my breath, upon reading the bill more closely I saw that the amount I actually owe the hospital is - $35. Yes, I have health insurance that rocks. I may even send them a Christmas card this year along with a big box of See's Candy. Seriously - from 19,053.12 to $35 is a miracle.

So do I need healthcare reform? No I don't. But there are people out there, people who are living paycheck to paycheck. People on minimum wage jobs that get no insurance, or who are self insured (as I once was and my coverage was not good). People who at the end of the month are living on spaghetti because they are waiting for their paycheck to come in two days. Those people who don't have health insurance would be destroyed by that bill. I can't imagine someone seeing $19,000 on a bill in the amount due column when they only bring home $7.25 per hour - which is the minimum wage.

No health insurance can destroy someone's life in an instant. Or worse, the fear of such a hospital bill can kill them. I absolutely needed treatment that night And because I had insurance it never occurred to me to say no to going to the ER when my doctor ordered it. And because I have insurance I had a primary care doctor I could call to tell me I had to go.

So I don't need healthcare reform - but for those 1 out of 3 Americans out there without insurance something does need to be done.

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