Friday, April 16, 2010

A Sad - and Infuriating - Statement on our Health Care System

Last Monday, at the hotel in Seattle, my friend and I were riding the elevator down to the lobby to eat breakfast. A young couple joined us in the elevator. I don't think they were married. He was in sweats - she was in jeans and a shirt. He looked relatively healthy. They were in their late 20s, certainly no more than their low-30s; to me, he looked about 25.

Anyway, she mentioned how his father seemed like he was in a bad mood. Then she said, "I don't know how you're going to pay all your medical bills."

He replied, "Don't worry about it. We'll figure it out [I presumed "we" meant his family]."

She said, "Are you going to file for bankruptcy? That way, you don't have to pay your medical bills."

He again replied, "It'll work out. Don't worry about the expenses." (or something like that - basically, I don't think he wanted to talk about it - maybe because he and she were in front of strangers and he didn't want to talk about finances in front of us)

She pressed on, "But if you file for Medicaid, then they will have to liquidate your retirement and savings accounts."

I can't remember what he replied. All I remember thinking was "Jeeez, what a choice! Filing for bankruptcy, on the one hand, or liquidating all one's savings, on the other, just because of a catastrophic illness!"

I don't know what kind of illness he had. But obviously, the bills were piling up.

I hope this health care bill, once its fully implemented, helps in cases like this. I mean, a person's already worried about their health and the prospect of treatment or dying or whatever. Who needs to worry about finances on top of it? Stress, in general, is a risk factor for cancer - and complicates the outcomes of many other diseases.

Poor kids.

1 comment:

Cat, Jeremiah, Finn and baby limpet said...

I'll keep them in my prayers. Every time I hear someone rail against Obama's health care plan I think of that young man who died on the side of the road along the Rogue River. The look on my mothers face as she gave him CPR...knowing he would die...all because he couldn't afford the medication to stop his seizures because he'd lost his job due to the seizures. How can we deny folks basic health care...have we become that selfish? Okay I'll get off my soap box..thanks for bringing this up...we need to keep reminding people why we need basic health care for everyone.