Without Insurance A Death Sentence

US Department of Health and Human Services and Medicare logos.

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.

6 thoughts on “Without Insurance A Death Sentence”

  1. Amen to that Geoff! We are so afraid of what Trump is doing in this country! We have Medicaid but, if those services were cut we’d be dead. I have diabetes, bipolar depression, and psoriatic arthritis. My husband has several illnesses also. Without doctors and medications we wouldn’t last very long.

  2. I believe is socialized medicine – government does what it has to do to do it – PERIOD. Health is TOP PRIORITY and nothing short of equal access to medical treatment by all the people is guaranteed however. Money is there to do it. Do it. What’s the problem. Capitalism? I don’t think so. Special interests groups = YES. STOP IT. Pharmaceutical companies are bankrupting AMERICA and that must be stopped PERIOD. Medical colleges must be free for entering students and hospitals must be controlled by government to guarantee equal access for all the people. PERIOD.

  3. Geoff, I also have Medicare and a free supplement here in CT through BCBS where I only show their card and they get from Medicare. I no longer show my Medicare card. I also have Medicaid as I am disabled. So whatever BCBS doesn’t cover Medicaid does. I have been playing catch up with my medical treatment as I moved and didn’t find a PCP for about a year. So far everything test and procedure has been covered. I lived disability check to check and don’t have much of a nest egg. Some of it is in a policy that can’t be touched at the moment. I still have a few more procedures to go through and I’d be lost without the insurance I have. We have to get the trolls out of the White House!

  4. And Geoff god forbid your disease should return as you would be placed in that awful ‘Pre existing condition’ category. This Republican plan will gut that provision no matter what Trump claims.

  5. “I am alive today and will be alive going forward because I have great health insurance”

    Your health insurance has nothing to do with it.
    What you have is great health care.

    We, as a country, need to stop talking about health insurance and focus on the health care side of the discussion.

  6. I still remember when my dad didn’t get his medications because we didn’t have insurance – and he was employed full time by a major CT manufacturer. (Late 50s, early 60s) Then, we were all covered. My father probably lived 10-15 years longer than he would have otherwise. WHY are we still discussing this? Single Payer should be the norm. Medicare for all, basically. Cover the basics; cover the necessities. You want a cosmetic procedure? Wait in line, and pay for it. But NO ONE should have to wait to see a doctor or be treated because they don’t have the right insurance or a ton of cash on hand.

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