I am alive today and will be alive going forward because I have great health insurance — Medicare with a (free in California) supplemental plan. Though Helaine and I saved up a significant nest egg over 30+ years it would have been wiped out in one fell swoop by my cancer.
Though I pay some money for drugs my medical treatments and visits have cost zero dollars! I’ve had a half dozen ‘procedures’ plus major surgery, spent six days in the hospital, gotten 28 radiation treatments plus eight weeks of chemo with eight more to come. Zero dollars!
My worries started one night after dinner. One of my spicy favorite meals uncontrollably began exiting my body. It was everything gross you can imagine. It followed a few months of low level stomach upset. That night I decided I’d see my doctor in the morning.
My cancer was found while looking for the reason my stomach was upset. It took thousand of dollars of tests to make the diagnosis. Would I have proceeded had the money been coming out of my pocket? Maybe not. Probably not.
Like I said, we’re lucky. We were able to put money away over time. Most people cannot.
Without insurance my cancer would have been a death sentence. It wouldn’t have been found until my symptoms were more classically those of pancreatic cancer. By then it would be too late.
All around the globe in every other “first world” nation healthcare is something you get, like an education or police protection. It is coordinated and often provided by the government. That’s one reason our healthcare system is so lacking and expensive. Your health is constantly being weighed against an insurance company’s profit.
Congressional Republicans are finding Americans scared of the “every man for himself” system they’ve been promising for years. It’s 2017. Medical care doesn’t seem like it should be optional anymore.