This is the real reason most Americans file for bankruptcy
From the article:
While the high cost of health care has historically been a trigger for bankruptcy filings, the research shows that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has not improved things.
What most people do not realize, according to one researcher, is that their health insurance may not be enough to protect them.
To read more:
The US healthcare system is ranked 37th for a reason. Pretending otherwise, and pretending that what works in every other advanced democracy will somehow not work here is not a solution.
I'm far from being a Jeff Bezos, but I'm fortunate enough to work for a corporation that values its employees and provides exceptionally good health insurance. I'm not a CEO or a top executive, I'm low-level manager and yet I have some of the best insurance in the country at an affordable price.
Believe me, I know exactly how lucky I am. Five years ago I was quite ill and my only hope of getting better was undergoing open heart surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery did not go as planned and I ended up in ICU for a week, plus weeks of hospitalization and rehab. Once I got home, I stopped even looking at the insurance bill history because I can't count that high. I just assumed I would spend the rest of my life paying off close to a million dollar debt.
But nope. After paying a $2,000 deductible, the only bill that wasn't covered by my insurance was a $50 ambulance ride.
Having come thisclose to a financially ruinous medical episode, I'm even more convinced that we MUST extend this security to everyone in the country. As Pete Buttigieg says, THIS is true freedom. Freedom from fear of bankruptcy, freedom from fear of becoming to "weak" to survive in this capitalistic economy.
And Medicare for All is a solution for a medical bankruptcy problem that is unique to the US among developed countries.
My experience has made me MORE, not less, adamant that this country needs a comprehensive plan of some kind to extend medical care to everyone.
great health insurance.
But, why did you have to pay a $2000 deductible?
And why the $50 for the ambulance?
Whether or not I approve of them, deductibles are the norm for health insurance policies. If you're in good health and have few medical needs, that deductible really stings. In my case, compared to over a half-million dollars in medical expenses, a deductible of $2000 is the bargain of a lifetime. And yeah, that $50 ambulance ride that wasn't covered.... who the hell knows? But again, I'm still counting my blessings.
But as I've said repeatedly, my takeaway is to be more firmly convinced than ever that we need universal healthcare coverage. My experience should be the norm -- you get sick, you concentrate on getting well, and bills don't enter into the equation. No deductibles, no caps, no worries about pre-existing conditions, this should be the standard for everyone. I didn't do anything to deserve this good fortune, and no one deserves to have their life shattered.
I'm quite sure that the income tax I pay here in Canada is not an extra $2,000, and if what happened to you, happened to me, my only bill would have been $45 for the ambulance ride. Since we all contribute, our individual tax amount is less -- you know, the way "insurance" usually works.
Of course the amount deducted from your weekly/bi-weekly/monthly paycheque for your insurance (remember, your employer only covers a certain percentage) means your pay is considerably lower, and your $2,000 "only" doesn't take that into consideration.
If every other first world country can provide universal healthcare, there's absolutely NO EXCUSE (whatever you might come up with) that the US can't do it too.
Figure it out, for gawd's sake!!!
I very clearly said:
Having come thisclose to a financially ruinous medical episode, I'm even more convinced that we MUST extend this security to everyone in the country.
I had back surgery, so yes I now know it is good. Working for a good company is paramount. A company that knows people are the most important asset of the company.
40% of American households don't have $400 in the back to cover an emergency.
how Medicare for All, which works for seniors, will magically cease to work if it is strengthened and offered to all.
It is not. My husband and I pay premiums for Medicare, Prescription Drug coverage, and a supplemental plan. If all Americans were offered the opportunity to purchase Medicare insurance as we have, it would infuse the system with a lot of $$ (premiums) and it would add many younger, healthier people to the rolls which would reduce the per-person costs. Also, it would be nice if they could expand Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing aids!
Many decades ago, I knew a fellow whose family ran a contact lense factory. I found that those 140 dollar pair of contact lenses bought at the optometrist cost the factory about 2.40 each to make.
to various dementia problems. So if Medicare would cover hearing aids, they might reduce the severity of other more expensive conditions. I have been looking at hearing aids recently and they cost a bundle. The basic ones at Costco are $1,500 per pair. I haven't tried those yet, but the hearing center ones start at $3,000 per pair and on up to $8,000 per pair. Many seniors do not have that kind of money sitting around. Not sure how we are going to afford them ourselves.
... was a pair of Bose Hearphones. Hes recommended them to several people and theyre all thrilled with them too.
I think he paid about $500 for his setup about a year ago, so whichever microphone that would be. Expensive, but he was paying thousands for every new pair of hearing aids he would try.
Without his Hearphones hes very very deaf. Theyve really changed his life. Highly recommended.
I had poor hearing in my right year in mid-40's age. During a routine visit to doc, he said I had lot of wax build up. His nurse tried to flush it out, with no success. The wax was old and hardened. Doc told me to use Debrox wax softener for 3 days and then try to flush it out with warm water.
I could not believe how much wax came out! And my hearing improved tons.
I had the wax removed fairly recently. I'm 66 and hearing loss us in my family.
My insurance, a a Federal worker for 37 years and for 6 years as an annuitant, never included dental or vision benefits.
dental, vision, and hearing aids at no extra cost. Employers can also choose to offer MFA to their employees.
I admit, I'm trying hard to figure this out. One website run by doctors made a powerful argument for Medicare for All. But there's so much pushback. It's making me dizzy trying to figure out how we should run on this issue.
I try to read every thread having to do with health care.
I've seen a lot of those comments here too. I thought we knew back in 2008 when Obama ran on fixing the system that is was broken. Yet some still here are still praising private insurance while attacking Medicare.
what their insurance will cover unless or until they become ill.
You have to remember that most of those advanced countries are in Europe, and most of them suffered through two horrific wars in the span of 40 years that almost literally burned their societies to the ground. They had to figure out a better way in which the governments and people were going to interact around basic needs. They had to make changes that would provide some kind of security by their populations to avoid wars and uprisings. Most of them operate under some type of Social Democracy, where Capitalism is still the primary economic system, but it is regulated and bent toward providing some basic well being to the population.
In the US, although we made our own sacrifices during the wars, we were never really touched by the devastation, and thus we never learned the lesson of collective action to provide for our people. For us Capitalism won the war. Industry and individuals pulling together for mutual benefit. That heady feeling and economic boom from having to help rebuild the world, led to the US rejecting Social Democracy in favor of free market solutions. Whereas European countries had full blown leftist movements which helped to shape social policy, the US was busy laughing out Henry Wallace once Roosevelt died. Roosevelt had intended to institute a Second Bill of Rights which included a more Social Democratic ideal of providing for people before his death. What happened after that was a right wing reaction that began pushing back on all of the gains made during FDR's terms in office. While the Democrats managed to stay in office and in power throughout most of the time after WWII any agenda toward a more Social Democratic ideal was pushed out by the Red Scare and the various problems throughout the Cold War.
I watch the debates and can't help thinking it's a waste of time getting dragged into the weeds over the different health care proposals. Health care is simply too technical and complex for a general audience given the very limited amount of debate time. Bernie sometimes mentions all the other countries with successful M4A type systems that are cheaper and have better outcomes but I don't recall the other candidates bringing that up.
I would tell them to forget wasting too much debate time on the details and hammer home the fact that all those other countries are doing much better and Americans could, too, but it will require overcoming the anti-government/anti-taxation/profits-over-people propaganda of what FDR called the "economic royalists," AKA "predatory capitalists"--AKA the Republican Party.
might actually try to get Democratic candidates bogged down in a big fight over the agonizing details of implementing a health care transformation just so viewers will tune them out.
But to simplify it, the GOP has no plan other than the pre-ACA America.
And the Democrats are trying to make things better.
simply don't go to the doctor unless it is an emergency, because insurance covers so little and the minimum out of pocket tends to be so high.
Having to pay 3-5K before the insurance will even begin to cover most things is a great racket for the insurance companies. They get premiums but have to pay out very little and the rates go up every year...the out of pocket expenses go up every year too. Most people just hope they never get sick enough to need to go to a doctor.
coverage. I would suggest that only those who have never experienced a chronic health issue are satisfied.
I speak from experience, having had open heart surgery (plus untold very expensive complications afterwards). My insurance policy paid for everything except a $2,000 deductible and a $50 ambulance ride.
The societal problem is that it is mostly top tier corporations that treat their employees this well, offering great insurance at affordable prices. If you're lucky enough to secure a job with a Fortune 500 company, you reap these benefits even if your salary is modest. Everyone else is shit out of luck.
I was dubious about working for a corporation (the company I worked for was acquired, so I was inherited rather than hired), and there are drawbacks in terms of multi-layered bureaucracy, but the benefits were a god-send.
Also treatment for prostate cancer, and other major gastrointestinal issues. His copay was $0, his deductible was $0, his contribution was his National Insurance Contributions that every working adult in the UK has to pay. This isn't top tier or bottom tier insurance. It's what everyone has in the UK. Oh, and the ambulance ride was $0. Or £0...
I know we're talking American healthcare but the UK can be held up as a model that the USA can learn from and adopt parts of it. We do need an American solution to an American problem... Medicare for All is IMO the right vehicle. Private insurance companies can still play a part (I think Sander's and Warren's idea of having 100% government is the wrong way to go) but Medicare for All can give all Americans access to healthcare and have private choices too.
and that everyone else is out of luck. So my statement stands.
I'm just pointing out that absolutes of that kind don't hold water. Don't undercut an argument that is valid and necessary and urgent by painting everything in stark binary terms. I don't happen to fit your either/or division, and thousands of other people don't either; our existence doesn't invalidate the need for universal healthcare, so there's no need to try to erase us by claiming we don't exist.
I think that we both agree on the need for change, and in my view, Medicare for All is the solution.
"I would suggest that only those who have never experienced a chronic health issue are satisfied."
That sounded like it was dismissing my experience, but we both agree on the main point: All Americans deserve a good experience.
is thrilled with her health care coverage.
She pays roughly $45/month, has a $2,000 deductible/max out of pocket. If she opens up an HSA with her employer and kicks in $1500 they kick in the rest. Her job pays barely above minimum wage - and as long as she works an average of 32 weeks a year they are required to cover her. She would not have this insurance, but for the ACA.
I have a much better job, my coverage costs more and pays less, but I also have chronic health issues.
No - I don't think that "most Americans" are happy with their coverage - the Republicans sabotaged enough of the ACA that it generally costs far more and covers far less than it would have had it not been subject to death by a 1000 paper cuts. But it is far better than what existed before the ACA - when my daughter, and people like her, would be dead (and I'd now be penniless, having spent everything I'd saved for half a century to buy her as much care as we could afford).
37th is not very good. Not at all. As a country, I hope we can grow up, someday.
Here in Germany, they deny coverage for many expensive dental procedures, and have a class system for getting appointments. The top 10% gets an appointment whenever they need it, and the rest are put into a waiting line that can mean months before you see a doctor. When my wife took early retirement, I had to jump in for about 450 a month so she would be covered at all until she hit age 65. I checked about getting German health insurance when I moved here, but due to a pre-existing condition, I was quoted 2500 a month ($33,000 a year at today's rates). Not exactly cheap.
The flip side here is that IF you are covered, you are REALLY covered. My wife came down with a second round of cancer when she was 64. She spent a month in the hospital after a brutal surgery and nearly 100 biopsies to see if the cancer (a really vicious, fast-spreading kind) had spread. She was that one in a thousand that got discovered early and was cured. Her form of cancer is called "der Mörder (the murderer)" here because it is almost always fatal by the time it is discovered. Cancer treatment here in Germany includes a month's stay in a rehab spa, and they have rehab spas around the country dedicated to various kinds of cancer. Cost to he/usr: less than $250. It would have ruined many people back home. We are lucky she is a German citizen with German residence.
You can have a good job making good money and get the double whammy that comes with major medical issues, can happen to most anyone.
I'd love to retire when I turn 65, which is only a few months away. Getting through the day, much less the week, is a strain due to my medical issues. And frankly, I'm not entirely sure just how many years I've got left to enjoy retirement. But I keep working for the medical benefits because my wife has even more serious health issues than I do.
People don't go broke when they get sick and most have no idea what a deductible is.
My aunt would - when my granddad was still alive - routinely walk out the pharmacy each month with about two big plastic bags full of medicines (the big bulky things were for his emphysema treatment hence big carrier bags) and not part with a single penny for them; she paid more for parking her car...
My health took a quantum leap towards better by playing golf 5 times a week at age 58 when I retired.
5 rounds of 18 is approximately 30 miles of walking lugging your golf cart.
In no other country there are so many golf courses and golf is as affordable as here. And good quality air and water is available in so many places in USA. And so many parks and open spaces everywhere in USA.
And Gym facilities are everywhere. Seniors get cheap access to silver sneakers gym. But I see very few seniors in the Gym.
In USA, obesity is a huge problem.
And so is alcohol consumption.
Add smoking, drugs and lack of exercise.
If people stayed within their desirable weight range, did not drink or smoke,
and exercised regularly, majority of health problems will be diminished.
Then all we would have to contend with is health problems beyond our control,
such as juvenile cancers, inherited serious diseases such as MS.
I am only an anecdote, but I do not smoke, do not drink, weigh 155 lbs on 5'-8" frame,
and exercise every other day on treadmill & lift light weights. Guess what, my medical
expenses are close to zero at age nearing 80. I even recall reading somewhere that exercise
helps reduce chance of getting cancer. I hope to go same way as my grandpa who passed away
in his sleep in his late 90's. He never had a health problem I can recall.
A LOT are.
Once I got my weight down, it solved a lot of issues.
Overweight is the leading contributory factor towards joint pains, heart disease, less energy,
and even some cancers. Those cancer cells love all that fat available to grow faster,
and I did say "majority", not all.
I was at my GP for my semi-annual check up and several numbers were concerning. I was asking him if a new medication he had prescribed a few months back could be causing weight gain. He told me it would be unusual and that he thought my weight gain was caused by a fork problem! Looking back, I appreciate the candor. So many Americans need that truth!
and big cities all around the globe. Every time my wife complains about grocery prices,
I respond with "hey so long we are not losing weight, we are OK with food prices".
Obesity is often related to poor dietary choices, which reflect a lack of education and/or lack of access to good food.
Smokers are addicts.
I weigh 170 at 5'-8", and lift weights, and walk every day. But many diseases are hereditary.
Last edited Sat Sep 14, 2019, 06:56 PM - Edit history (1)
all point to over-weight as a contributory factor. Of course smokers are addicts, so non-smokers to must share the burden of their healthcare costs. Smoking is a choice made by individuals. It is not hereditary disease. Ditto with excess alcohol consumption.
In my own case the difference between when I weighed 175 lbs and no exercise, and 155 lbs with exercise is orders of magnitude. Without exercise, I had high blood pressure, border line diabetic, hip joint pains, chest pains after eating a good beef meal, etc. I had heart racing and faint feelings at work. All that was before age 57.
Now at age 79 I got rid of ALL of that by focusing on exercise. I know it is only 1 example, but it is just amazing what difference regular exercise has made in my life.
people who work physical jobs, the lowest paid, get orthopedic problems from accidents at work or the repetitive use of the muscles involved.
Payton carried the Chicago Bears ground game all by himself.
He was tackled thousands of times, viciously.
Yet he never got injured! Do you know why?
Because He was an exercise fanatic. There was a hill near his house. Walter would run up backwards on that hill every day!
The people who work physical jobs need strengthening exercise even more than office workers.
Yet not many do that chore.
I got rid of heart racing, chest pains after eating a good meal, border line diabetic, high blood pressure, hip joint pain, and fainting spells at my office job, by giving up my well paying job at age 57, joined a cheap blue collar golf club and began playing 5 rounds of 18 every week weather permitting. That was 30 miles of walking every fricking week lugging my golf cart. It was very hard at first, but after 6 months, my health problems began to disappear! Now at age 79, I have normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar, no hip joint pain, and require no doctor visits! My diet is basically same when I had all those problems.
it is their own fault for not exercising enough after a day of work like that?
People get carpal tunnel due to repetitive actions on keyboarding. What exercises must they do to avoid being at fault for getting carpal tunnel?
and other injuries caused by work related situations. There are wrist supports which help minimize Carpal TS. There are better chairs to support lumbars.
During my 37 years work using computer keyboards, I wrote over a million lines of computer code.
I learned to use my left hand occasionally. I got better mouse pads to support the wrist. Now-a-days the technology even allows voice commands instead of keystrokes. I wish had that during my career.
I was born with bone deformities and cardiac disease runs in my family regardless of weight.
I've had severe arthritis and cardiac issues since the age of 40, due to my genetics.
Maybe you were blessed with great genetics, but most people are NOT.
My dad had angina problems since age 60, and died of heart attack at 71.
All 4 of my maternal uncles died of heart attacks before reaching age 65, one of them at 54!
When I was working full time, I had chest pains after eating a good meal in restaurant at age 55. I had elevated blood pressure, racing heart rate and faint feelings every morning at work.So what did I do? Stopped chasing the almighty buck, quit my secure and well paying job at age 57. Moved to a small town where housing was cheap and began walking 30 miles every week on the golf course. That saved my life! Now at age 79 I have such good heart performance, my doctor is confused how I can be so good at age 79. I visited a new ENT doc last month to check a growth inside my mouth for possible surgery. He was shocked that I was age 79! He asked me what is my secret? He said I looked more like in my early 60's! I told him it is no smoking, no alcohol and spending 45 minutes at the Gym every other day. He said that is what HE should be doing!
I discovered the tremendous benefits of exercise in time. I see very few seniors in the Gym. It is mostly young people in great shape. So yeah, America's greatest senior problem is lack of vigorous exercise.
Now you aren't.
So which is it?
Exercise increases metabolism and the ability of body to burn off excess weight. Obesity is a known contributory factor is several chronic and serious diseases. Ask any doctor if you do not believe me.
In my working career my strongest attribute was ability to observe and reach conclusions based on keen observations. In that regard I have observed hundreds of relatives, friends and colleagues. Almost without exception, those who engaged in regular & vigorous exercise suffered less cardiac and other obesity related health problems.
Or famously, James Fixx.
Exercise does not undo hereditary conditions.
There are other factors such as genes, diet, stress levels in life, etc.
In my own case genes were of no help since so many male relatives died of heart disease.
And diet was no help since I am a gluttonous fan of Chicago style pan pizza & Indian cuisine lamb.
Stress levels were no help either due to my job as corporate manager of computer aided engineering and manufacturing, and 70 mile round trip commute in Chicago traffic. Add to that 175 lbs on a 5'-8" frame, not exactly athletic.
I made the wise decision to retire at age 57, and took up walking 30 miles every week on hilly terrain lugging my golf cart. It was very hard on my body at first but after 4-6 months of staying with it, my cardiac health began improving and kept on improving. I no longer belong to a golf club and now my exercise is 30 minutes on a treadmill walking 3 degrees up slope at 24 min/mile pace, and followed by 20 minutes of lifting 30 lb weights. Now at age 79, my echo cardiogram results belie my age.
Heredity is the biggest factor.
Exercise and all the rest can only mitigate.
Sounds similar to over-weight people blaming glandular problem.
Yes things like Parkinsons, MS, breast cancer etc do have sometimes a genetic cause.
But Obesity is rarely genetic. Smokers get lung cancer 500% more than non-smokers.
Obese people have many times more cardiac and bone joint problems.
But Thank you for your civil responses. Good night.
and at the time, they thought it might be cancer.
We had student insurance which did not cover squat but we didn't know that until after surgery
We had like one credit card that was $500 dollars that was also included but the rest was medical
It's hard to get approved for it, it took me almost a year but it was very, very worth it. Thank you California!
and have not missed it since! And I love going on cruises to eat.
was assigned to measure and analyze the effects of poverty on health. He said the overwhelmingly striking finding of his research was that it would have done better to focus on measuring the relation of health to poverty. So many of the poor people he interviewed turned out again and again to have been previously normally prosperous but rendered destitute by medical expenses, usually combined with loss of income.
We the poor middle class should consider it an honor to die for the good of the excessively wealthy. Ergo, it is right and proper that we pay for all health care -- doctors, hospitals, emergency rooms, EMTs, pharmaceuticals, etc. -- as well as giant, glamorous skyscraper office buildings, a large, standing army of physicians employed solely for the purpose of denying insurance claims, multiple vacation mansions, multiple copies of a giant corporate bureaucracy whose primary purpose is extraction of wealth, and an over-compensated class of white-collar parasites.
Maybe our current wealth care system should be transformed into a health care system.
response is always too damned slow. Nothing new about people not noticing or caring enough until things reach crisis point -- and then not doing anything for a while -- before we finally take action. When it hurts enough, we fix it.
What's not to understand about what government of, by and for the people means?
That's Nancy Pelosi as she quotes Justice Brandeis to the nation at the opening of the 116th congress. She'd like us to get off our collective asses, please, and give Democrats the power to fix that critical problem. Before they finish fixing us.
More than likely when you get sick and die your life savings with get sucked up into the medical industry vortex.
But again, I cannot understand the objection to a real solution that involves Medicare for All, or another form of single payer.
we prove that the Optometrist and the Dentist were medical providers for the purpose of our Health Care Flexible Spending account.
Yeah, insurance companies are awesome.
So, now we get to call, get shunted to six or seven different people, telling each the same thing, before they say "suck it up, we're not giving you the money you put into the account to pay for copays. YAY! Insurance.
Your own time spent on appeals, the frustration, and in my view, the deliberate denial in hopes that the patient will give up and go away.