Whilst waiting to see whether John Roberts will prove to be the worst Chief Justice since Roger B. Taney
, let's amuse ourselves with actual and speculative health care reality checks.
A relative of the Generation X variety recently explored the limits of her health care coverage. She had just moved, and the settling down process hadn't yet included finding a primary care physician. She was struck suddenly by piercing, RLQ
abdominal pain. Appendicitis came to mind at once, and having no alternative, she went to the nearest ER. The source of the pain proved to be something besides appendicitis, and it took two visits to find out what it was and whether it was life-threatening. These diversions not only blew a perfectly good weekend, they cost upwards of $1500...with insurance.
Children, take note. With or without the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare industry more and more frowns on the use of the ER for primary care. Follow the advice of my nurse in-law: don't go to the ER unless you're bleeding profusely. (People with obvious fractures or obvious cardiovascular distress get a pass on this rule.) Also heed my rule: never go to the ER for follow-up care. Use the hospital's outpatient clinic instead. In fact, demand it.
Next, let us take Rick Santorum at his word, and assume that the chief reason he dropped out of the presidential race was the health of his daughter Bella
. This is the man who said that people should pay for their own health care; that friends, relatives, neighbours, fellow church-goers, and the like would be sufficient resources for long-term or palliative care, and government didn't need to get involved. Nice theory, if you have the cushy resources of a former Senator and Congressman. In reality, people who have children this ill, requiring 24/7 care, who are unlikely ever to grow up, soon discover how few friends they really have. To be blunt, it's easy
to be theoretical when your child is unlikely to reach age 5. If your child needs 24/7 care and may live to adulthood, that's a different matter. The longer Santorum's daughter lives, the more of a lesson she may be in today's health care costs. She might actually bring the man out of the 14th century.
We're in the process of pricing retirement health insurance. For those of us in the 99%, this also means concurrently checking out food pantries etc., as health care, with
Medicare, is likely to eat up a significant percentage of our retirement income. Both of us are utterly opposed to the all-American rush to strain the system to enable us to live as long as possible, and are unlikely to take even ordinary, pocket-draining measures, much less extraordinary measures, when what should be the last illness comes.
There may be more on this as the farce continues.