Can you afford to get sick?

Posted by Leticia, 14 Aug 07

With the release of Michael Moore's new documentary Sicko, we are once again reminded that the health care system in America is severely under the weather. It seems that you're only as healthy as your coverage. The thing that really made me go "WTF?" wasn't how many American's are without insurance, but how many that do have it are still being under-serviced or over charged or just being sold an umbrella with a hole in it.

Have you seen the movie Sicko yet? Recently, Michael Moore was on Oprah and I got the chance to see a little clip and hear him speak about his new controversial movie about the health care system here in the United States and abroad. For as long as I can remember, I've always been covered. There were a few lapses when I was changing jobs, but for the most part, I've had medical insurance.

There was the time that a bill wasn't paid by my insurance company that should have been. Usually, I would just pay it or ignore it. This particular time I decided to call and ask a few questions. Imagine my surprise to find out that this bill from my doctor's office; if I were to pay it would cost me around $139 US dollars. However, if my insurance company were to pay it, they would only have to pay $14. WTF? How is that fair? How does this make any kind of sense?

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Even though as a child getting medical treatment was never a problem, it seems that getting certain medications was. I remember conversations my parents had with other adults about how messed up the system was that they were paying for other people (welfare), to get free medical help and their parents couldn't even afford to buy generic medication for themselves.

It's funny how long before I really knew about or understood socialized medicine, I was a student in England. I remember getting really sick and having to go see a doctor while there. The diagnosis was bronchitis. The treatment was some really nasty medicine that came in this very large ugly bottle. The shock was that it didn't take me a long time to see the doctor or pick up my medicine. Was the doctor that I saw the most excellent in jolly old England? Was the prescription the best known to man? Probably not. But, it worked and I got better and it didn't cost this college student one single pound.

So, what is the big argument today over socialized medicine in America? It seems to be working in other countries. Of course we'll always have the pros and cons for anything. I just happen to think that a healthy nation is a more productive nation. The reality is that we're going to pay for it one way or another. I'm trying hard not to get into my big brother, big corporation conspiracy theories again.

For as long as I can remember, supporters of a government run or provided program, has held Europe up as the example to follow. Even the movie Sicko, makes the point that America is the only industrialized country without a national health care system.

We have also heard about recent cutbacks in countries that provide care. Those apposed to socialized care claim that if "something is perceived as free, people will consume more than they would if they had to pay for it". Therefore, we should not provide a socialized program. However, we do offer other benefits, like public libraries, fire and police protection, etc. Why not health care?

What do you think? How about free health care to for our children, the elderly and/or people with a job? How about less profit to our insurance companies? How about something?

38 responses to "Can you afford to get sick?"

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  1.   Ken says:
    Posted: 11 Nov 07

    I was without healthcare for nearly two years due to the high cost of insuring myself due to diabetes. My meds came from India ordered over the internet. Interestingly enough, when I finally got coverage back my diabetes was under better control than it ever was when I had coverage. Seems I took better care of myself when I didn't have coverage. I think the government should provide a "safety net" and there should probably be a catastrophic coverage for things like cancer but that, for the most part, coverage should be provided through private insurers.

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  2.   hoganfan says:
    Posted: 30 Oct 07

    No one can aford to get sick in these days! And our elected officials seem not to care! Truly a time for change, but who?

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  3.   outpass35 says:
    Posted: 14 Oct 07

    Now and days you have to be coveraged by insurance but the insurance company figuare out ways not to pay the claims andstill you are left with a lot of medical bills.

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  4.   Fala says:
    Posted: 12 Oct 07

    LOL@Mossimo good point! ;-)

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  5.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 03 Oct 07

    I came for a webzine and a hockey game broke out. Why are these conservatives posting on an interracial site? Didn't they want segregation forever?

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  6.   Fala says:
    Posted: 27 Sep 07

    Bush is set to veto a bill to continue funding The State Children's Health Insurance Program, cutting off health insurance for needy children all over the US. Only in America.

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  7.   Fala says:
    Posted: 18 Sep 07

    Well, Glock the primary motivation behind Howard County, MD providing health insurance to the uninsured is because they cost everyone else so much money. Insured or not insured - one way or another we all pay.

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  8.   Glock says:
    Posted: 18 Sep 07

    Opps, I forgot to mention that your teenage son is covered by YOUR insurance but as far as the government is concerned, he is uninsured by his employer. Mrs. Smith next door who works part time at Walmart and doesn't have insurance through them, she's covered by her husband. And the countless other people out there, particularly the young who don't make alot of money don't want to pay for the added cost of insurance becuse they're healthy. Should they be forced to have it anyway? Do they have a say in it? If socialized medicine ever comes to fruition in America you are going to see an ENORMOUS nightmare. Then you are going to have the two main parties fighting back and forth to get more and more funding every year.

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  9.   Glock says:
    Posted: 17 Sep 07

    Ok, I know I will be severely attacked for this but then again I'm used to it. There are problems in regards to the medical system in America, the problem is called the Federal Government. With the incredibly heavy regulatory burdens that goverment places on the medical field, those additonal expenditures are always passed to the customer. That's business. Ok, we hear about the "uninsured" in America. Do you know who the "uninsured" are? It's your teenage son who gets a partime job at the grocery store, it's Mrs. Smith who recently retired and wants a part time job. But also it's the thousands if not millions of citizens who don't want OR need medical insurance. Do you want to pay for Bill Gates or LaBron James medical insurance? Health care, contrary to popular belief is not a "right" in this country. The only way to have socialized health care is to force other Americans to pay for it for you. You talk about MASSIVE taxes and not having any money to buy anything! Not to mention, do you really want to federal government to manage your health care? Do you want them to tell you what Doctors you can see, if a precedure is authorized or not? This IS what you're asking for. It will not be as easy as just going to the Doctor and getting an examination or procedure. It is medical care run by the government people. Just like Cuba, just like Russia and Canada. You think that is good? Do you think THEY have the best care? Would you rather be seen and treated in America or Cuba? Yes the political candidates ARE talking and advocating this "universal" health care but it will be nothing like what you think. Health care run by the government is not a good thing..ever! There is a problem, it's the government regulating healthcare. Ok, go ahead, attack!! LOL

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  10.   Fala says:
    Posted: 15 Sep 07

    Some good news, the county where I live in MD has decided to provide free health insurance to the uninsured. They're hoping it will become a model for local governments across the USA. And the following day, this was announced, "Mayor Gavin Newsom wants San Francisco to become the first city in the nation to provide coverage for a growing and increasingly costly segment of the population: adults with no health insurance or other means of paying for doctor visits, surgeries, catastrophic illness and prescription drugs." So maybe there's some hope out there on the horizon.

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  11.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 13 Sep 07

    Maybe we should put more pressure on our governments because insurance given by the corporations is just getting higher and higher. It seems there simply are no good solutions out there.

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  12.   Fala says:
    Posted: 13 Sep 07

    I know Jade and I thank my lucky stars everyday that I have good and affordable healthcare. I don't know what I'd do without it.

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  13. Posted: 12 Sep 07

    HMO insurances now a days are terrible.

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  14.   Jade74 says:
    Posted: 12 Sep 07

    Thanks Fala,Unme,Cocokisses.We all have much to be thankful for.Some don't have the income to afford healthcare.

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  15.   Jade74 says:
    Posted: 11 Sep 07

    This is so true Ann.

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  16. Posted: 11 Sep 07

    great article to read, thanks.

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  17.   Ann says:
    Posted: 10 Sep 07

    Then there is a lost group of people who are not eligible for disability, have no spouse with insurance to cover them and they have a high rate of death for every disease because they don't seek medical attention for their illnesses. And this is America!!!!

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  18.   Fala says:
    Posted: 06 Sep 07

    It sure is Sweetness. It can mean the difference between life and death.

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  19.   SWEETNES20 says:
    Posted: 01 Sep 07

    boy is insurance so important to have these days.

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  20.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 27 Aug 07

    i must say that i am lucky too, that i have great insurance.

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  21.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 27 Aug 07

    Right Unme23...sometimes we need a 3rd party to remind us how good we have it sometimes. Reminders like that keep me humble.

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  22.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 25 Aug 07

    thats so great to hear coco, its something we all need.

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  23.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 24 Aug 07

    Jade and Fala, in all of my complaining, thank you both for giving me something to be greatful for. I DO have health insurance, and I CAN afford it. Thanks for keeping it real for me ladies...I really appreciate your insight.

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  24.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 24 Aug 07

    great point fala.

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  25.   Fala says:
    Posted: 24 Aug 07

    That's the most disgraceful part Jade, companies go out of their way to make sure they don't have to offer or pay for health insurance for their employees. It's all about greed and money and the US should be ashamed.

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  26.   Jade74 says:
    Posted: 23 Aug 07

    There are many people that work and can't afford health care or the companies don't have medical care.Some companies only have coverage avail for full time employees and some try not to keep others from being full time employees by working below what is considered full time so the employee can't qualify for benefits.Then you have employers that just barely pay just a little above minumim wages.Its not affordable for many and these are the working and working poor.

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  27.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 23 Aug 07

    I know exactly what you guys mean. It's insane how much I pay a year on insurance. They take out a couple hundred a month, then I have a $2100 deductible that I have to fulfill first, then I have to pay $35 for prescriptions, add to that my daughters medical bills and I end up paying $8-9K a year because on top of all that, I am a diabetic with high blood pressure and heart issues! By the way...I work for the top Telecom provider in the country, and this is the best that they can do???

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  28.   Fala says:
    Posted: 22 Aug 07

    Unme, PPO = Prefered Provider Organization. It's similar to an HMO. You can see any doctor within your network, but if you go outside the network you usually need a referral or have to pay more out of pocket.

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  29.   Joe says:
    Posted: 21 Aug 07

    Come to europe america is all about talk. As a matter of fact America is bankrupted. Hush don't tell anybody

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  30.   TheDude says:
    Posted: 21 Aug 07

    Hey comrades let's all move to Cuba and get free medicine - there's an example of a booming economy! Michael Moore should emigrate there, I'd say he's due for a quadruple anyday now... When are people in the western world going to realise that government is almost never the answer to a problem? In Australia, as for Canada & the UK I suppose, we've had socialist medicine since the 80's. We spend about 8%+ plus of our GDP which is lower than the USA and it shows. I take my son to a public hospital here in Sydney and it takes hours for anyone to see to him - and then it's some trainee doctor who still has acne. The stories of incompetence and lack of service abound downunder. Where's Michael Moore when you need him... The best hospitals here are, funnily enough, those private ones run by companies (for profit) and also those run by not-for-profits like churchs. In other words anything not run by Government. Easily the best hospital in my area is owned and run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Even though no-one in Australia _needs_ to buy private health insurance or _use_ private hospitals many of us do despite still paying taxes for an inefficient state run system. Enjoy the tax hikes, insurance premium increases and 'soviet/cuban style' customer service at your local hospital if the Dems win in '08.

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  31.   Fala says:
    Posted: 20 Aug 07

    You are so right Nap. If people knew how many folks have to declare bankruptcy because they can't pay their health bills - even with insurance - I'm sure they would be shocked and outraged. It's a real shame.

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  32.   LV2TRAVEL says:
    Posted: 19 Aug 07

    I have been self employed since graduating college in 1983 and have paid for my own health insurance. Fortunately I have had good health and have not had to use it until I was in an accident a few years ago. I had some minor injuries that caused me to seek medical attention. Though not serious at this time, I have had to alter my lifestyle and will have pain the rest of my life. Anthem doubled my premium over a 3 year period until I finally chose to increase my deductable from $500 to $2,500 to keep the premium affordable. After I raised my deductable I was issued a new policy and I was then told by Anthem, the same company I have had my entire life, that my condition was pre-existing to the new policy therefore it would no longer be covered. After paying my premiums for 27 years it's nice to know that the company I have trusted has just left me holding the bill. This happens every day to good hard working people that struggle to pay their bills and our government does nothing about it while giving free handout's to those that make no effort to help themselves not to mention the billions given away every year to other countries. It's time for our citizens to stand up to our government and demand justice for OUR CITIZENS. The only way this will happen is WHEN we finally vote all of them out of office.

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  33.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 19 Aug 07

    whats a ppo???

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  34.   diva says:
    Posted: 18 Aug 07

    The health care system here sucks. Everything is fine if you only need a basic check up or dental exam but when you get seriously hurt or have a condition then all of a sudden nothing's covered. And that's even when you have a PPO!!

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  35.   unme23 says:
    Posted: 18 Aug 07

    its hard now a days to have great coverage.

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  36.   Naptrlbti says:
    Posted: 18 Aug 07

    I've seen this movie twice and use to work for a health insurance company. No one is safe with their own insurance. I can't tell you how many people I've known who've had to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills. The way the medical insurance industry has treated it's citizens thanks to the goverment officials who are in bed with corporations is disgusting. To witness the transformation within the medical industry over the last 30 years went from helping those who need care to becoming a corporation. In the richest country in the entire world, americans have the WORST healthcare. The USA government should be embarassed as well as ashamed by the state of our healthcare industry. The citizens have no other recourse than to start actively demand reform. It is the government officials who are receiving HUGE kickbacks from insurance companies while americans are dying for quality healthcare. Having access to the best medical care and treatment should be our basic, most fundamental right as Americans.

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  37.   Jeff says:
    Posted: 18 Aug 07

    Who's Really 'Sicko' In Canada, dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week. Humans can wait two to three years.

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  38.   Fala says:
    Posted: 18 Aug 07

    I hope the issue of universal health coverage is taken seriously by this latest crop of presidential candidates. It's a shame and an embarrassment that in a country like the USA people have to choose between declaring bankruptcy and losing everything they own or paying for medically necessary treatment. There are 3rd world countries that treat their citizens better.

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