In 2011 my daughters and I went to Spain for a week. During that visit, my older daughter fell down some stairs, severely cut her head, and had to ride in an ambulance to the emergency room. She was stitched up and given all her care products and prescriptions by the doctor at the hospital. As a non European citizen, the visit cost us $64 American dollars. For everything. For the ambulance ride, the visit, the stitching, the care products and drugs. A similar visit in the US would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $6000, if not more. And since the ACA went into effect, it’s only gotten worse.
The ACA is not a boon to Americans. It’s not. Do you know that it’s virtually impossible to get a plan on low or moderate income that doesn’t have a multi-thousand dollar deductible? Somehow, in over 2000 pages as a law, someone didn’t think to tell insurers to cap deductibles. It’s insane. Pretend to be an average American. Go to the “marketplace.” Look at the options there. You’ll see that all the plans have insane deductibles. The only plans that don’t are too high priced for people in lower income brackets. It’s a joke.
The ACA isn’t a boon. It’s a legislative nightmare. It’s a paperwork nightmare. It’s raised costs, not lowered them. Emergency plans available before the ACA that covered essentially the same thing were cheaper than the plans under the ACA. The ACA operating in reality is anything but an example of success unless you’re an insurance company executive. What would be a real success would be getting rid of the for-profit middle man in healthcare. Then when someone needs to go the doctor, it would cost what it should instead of lining the pockets of everyone along the way while the person in need of care suffers financially in addition to suffering with their health.
What the ACA has done is to take public dollars and use them for privatized profit. People whose health insurance is “subsidized” get their insane premiums paid for by tax dollars. So greedy ass insurance company charges $740 a month for their crappy plan (that’s $8880 a year!) and the government pays part of that premium out of tax dollars. The shitty insurance company theoretically can’t profit more than a certain percentage, but that doesn’t mean they can’t pay their executives more and have less in “profit.” It’s all a big game, but it works out the same: public tax dollars paying a greedy middle man to skim profit off before providing subpar healthcare. And people are worried about socialized medicine because they don’t want to pay higher taxes? The logic escapes me. Really the problem is that the greedy bastards who lobby for the insurance companies have all the “lawmakers” in their pockets. It’s a giant, shambling scam.
We never asked for our daughter’s insurance company to reimburse the $64 spent in Spain the day she was injured. We paid for it because we could because that kind of healthcare is truly affordable. The Affordable Care Act? Not so much.
Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary committee, John Conyers, is planning to introduce a bill called HR 676. This simple plan would create a version of Medicare where every US citizen is eligible for healthcare. The plan, if passed, would effectively put private insurers out of business. Considering I believe private insurance companies are largely responsible for the healthcare mess in this country, I think such a system would be a boon.
Naysayers claim such a system would put all those insurance employees out of business. Not necessarily. Their experience can be transferred to the new US system. The bill creates such a provision. Specifically, “The Program shall provide that clerical, administrative, and billing personnel in insurance companies, doctors offices, hospitals, nursing facilities, and other facilities whose jobs are eliminated due to reduced administration (1) should have first priority in retraining and job placement in the new system; and (2) shall be eligible to receive 2 years of unemployment benefits.”
The bill has been introduced before. It went to die in committee. We have a new group in Congress today and a new president. Let’s hope this bill will receive the consideration it deserves.
Paul Krugman notes that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) published an article on his health care plan in the current issue of Contingencies — the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries. In his article, McCain attempts to make his case for deregulating the health insurance industry by extolling the benefits of the last decade of deregulation in the banking sector. He writes:
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.
As Yglesias writes, McCain is “such an enthusiast about financial market deregulation that he was bragging about his plan to make the health care system as awesome as the financial system.”
Hi, I is Lara. I is kina dum. Why? I is pore. If you is pore, you is dum. I went to the docter today. That there docter gamme sum paper for them pills people. Them pills people woonent gimme them pills cuz I is on that Oregun Helth Plan. Itsa plan for people tah pay fer them pills and stuff. So I went to the pills place and gavem my paper frum the docter tellin me I cud get sum pills. So they sed no. They sed my paper can get changed, and cuz I is pore, I’m gonna messen with the paper so theys gonna ax the docter if I rally gotta have pills cuz they thank I made up the pills paper. Kin you balave that? So they woonent gimme any pills for my bladder. Dang me. An the Oregun Helth Plan also wants to no why tis I want eleven dollar pills. They gotta call the docter and ax why I gotta get antibodies. Why I take antibodies? Cuz, I is pore and I muss be a druggie who makes up the pill paper. Itsa shame fer me cuz the docter was close up wen the pills people callem up. Them pills people coonent ax the docter if I made up the paper and coonent ax the docter if I is a druggie tryin tah get sum antibodies. Sheesh.
In honor of America naming its top 7 wonders, I have decided to offer a top 7 wonders list of my own. These are things so quintisentially American, it would be shameful not to offer them their own place in infamy. Drum roll please…
Walmart: A wonder in sheer, unabashed corporate greed.
George Bush: It’s a wonder that someone this complicatedly messed up is the president of the US.
Strip Malls: A wonder at the absolute lack of any sense of aestheticism.
Sound bites: A wonder that it is possible to boil any complicated issue down to a few seconds and make it appear black and white.
Mcmansions: A wonder of greed, lack of necessity, and waste.
Fast food: A wonder for its ability to combine obesity, magnificent deterioration of health, and sheer ugliness, all under one roof.
Insurance: A wonder because it manages to convince people it is protecting them while simultaneously ripping them off.
So there you go, my top 7 wonders of America. Ain’t it grand?
So my mom is a member of Kaiser. American Cancer Society guidelines recommend a mammogram and an MRI for women whose mothers, sisters, or daughters have had breast cancer. I had breast cancer. Her sister had breast cancer. Her mother had breast cancer. Yet her docter at Kaiser told her an MRI was not warranted. On what planet does this doctor live? Where is his brain? Who does he work for? Duh. Kaiser. He wants to keep from costing Kaiser money. Who gives a shit if my mom gets cancer and DIES. That’s cheaper for them than paying for a fucking MRI. Damn insurance companies.
Well, too bad for them that Mom’s daughter called up and figured out how to go around Mr. Hippocratic Oath (not!). We’re going to appeal AND get a second opinion. So there. Dumbass. Would have cost less just to get her the MRI.
“First do no harm.” Yeah, unless it costs some fucking insurance company money. Do no harm to insurance companies. We’ll change the oath to “Thou shalt protect thy insurance company’s ass at all costs, even if a human being dies.”