Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Our so-called health care system

57 year old woman loses her retirement savings, home due to treatment for rattlesnake bite. She was billed for $160,000. When she liquidated all her assets, including her retirement account, she came up with $60,000. The hospital accepted it as full payment for her account, thus showing you just how hospitals work today -- they bill the uninsured much higher than they bill the insured.

As for the idiots who said that it was her own fault for not being insured -- individual health coverage is basically unobtainable if you're over 50 years old. The health insurance companies don't want to cover you, and if they can find some excuse, any excuse, they won't. They just want you to go away and die quietly far, far away from them. Especially if you're someone in a low-paying profession like teaching dance at a dance studio, which pays $20K/year, paying $840 per month with a $5K deductible through the state high risk plan simply isn't going to work.

Y'know, I have a thought. Let's screw the insurance companies. Let's all get together and create our own insurance fund. We'll pay something reasonable into it -- say, maybe $300 per month for every man, woman and child -- say, that'd be $90 billion dollars a month to share amongst ourself for our health care! Naturally we'd keep an eagle eye out to make sure nobody free-loaded off our health care or tried to use more health care than they needed, but we wouldn't have any of these insurance company people saying "I don't want to insure you, go off and die" anymore. Of course, we'd need an organization to collect and disburse the money for this health care fund. What can we call this organization? Oh, I know, we could call it, uh, GOVERNMENT! Oh wait, I forgot, that name is already taken for some hostile dictatorship that rules us at gunpoint or something, if I listen to the right-wingers' talking points that's what I hear anyhow... gosh darn it, I'll call it "government" anyhow, f*ck the right-wingers!

-- Badtux the Health Care Penguin


  1. tux, the week before i appeared on jeopardy i was in my kitchen, doing some truffle trimming. there i was working my knife, thinking about what i would say to alex and bam, stabbed my finger.

    a few hours, and three stitches later, the hospital billed my insurance company for nearly 3k.

    a grand per stitch. this has gotten insane.

    luckily i have insurance coverage for life through the musician's union. otherwise, the dream of the truffle business would be unattainable.

  2. F*ckin' A the government should do it. If a slack-arse (albeit basically nice) nation like Aus-freaking-stralia can manage a medical system like that, why can't the U.S.? Except for that hostile dictatorship of dunces bit...

  3. Sometimes it's not the uninsured that get screwed. My local hospital gives a 25% discount for tests when you don't have insurance. Like me.
    I say screw all those rich pundit bastards who don't want "socialist" government. I want health care. I NEED health care. And I'm only one of what is it now 45+ million? What does it say about a country that can't provide basic needs of it's citizens?

  4. Yeah, MB, there's a lot of people who would start their own businesses if it were possible for them to get affordable health insurance. Many of these people could do far more productive stuff with their own business and add far more to our economy. Instead they're stuck doing unproductive things for larger businesses.

    James: Yep.

    Bukko: Every other modern industrialized nation manages to provide universal health coverage for all their citizens. Some of them, like France, surpass the U.S. on every measure of health care availability, provision, and outcomes, whether it's number of doctors, access to advanced medical treatments, or outcomes. Nationalized health insurance works. We have proof it works. The only reason not to do it is ideology. There is a term to describe nations where ideology trumps pragmatic reality: "Has-beens." Just ask the USSR. Oh wait, you can't...

    Ruckus, clearly you don't live in a state that has a Medicaid crisis. Here in California, Medicaid payments have been cut so far that the only way hospitals can stay in business is by ripping off everybody else. Thing is, the insurance companies refuse to be ripped off. They pay what they think is appropriate, and that's that. So that means ripping off the un-insured instead...

    - Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

  5. Actually I do live in CA.
    And I'm on the short end of the stick all the way around:
    1. Self employed small biz
    2. Can't afford health care because...
    3. Biz is directly affected by heath of economy


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