Having a rotten cold is never fun, but if you’ll allow me to be complainy for a second, having a rotten cold while also enormously pregnant is sucky to the extreme. Being felled by some rampaging virus (thank you RILEY) in the third trimester takes your average everyday discomfort and cranks things up to the Pray For Relief And/Or Death level, and I’m officially nostalgic for the days when jimmy legs and sciatic flareups were the most annoying physical symptom I had to deal with.

Also, I am just going to go ahead and say this: I now fully understand the benefit of doing one’s Kegels on a regular basis. It’s got to be better than grabbing your crotch like Michael Jackson each time you feel a sneeze or cough coming on.

On the subject of health, have you seen Sicko yet? I’m not the world’s most rabid Michael Moore fan, but I recommend renting this movie if you haven’t already. It isn’t a perfect documentary, but it is infuriating and disturbing and yes, depressing.

JB and I are phenomenally lucky in that his workplace offers one of the best healthcare benefits programs I’ve ever encountered. We don’t take this for granted, it is every bit as important as salary to us. I take medication to manage a health issue (not mental, I don’t know why I feel the need to clarify that but I do) and recently I looked up what those drugs would cost us out of pocket: $50 a day. Over 18K per year in medications alone, never mind periodic doctor’s visits, and of course everything related to pregnancy (over 25K for that last c-section!), etc.

With JB’s insurance, I don’t have copays, and at least so far I haven’t encountered any HMO hassles over seeing specialists that may or may not be preferred providers. The only limitation I’ve run into to date is that Regence doesn’t want me to get ahead with the medications—they won’t refill a prescription until the current prescription is in theory 75% depleted, even though we’re not talking about controlled substances here. But obviously on the problem scale that one is way over in the Nearly Painless zone, because hell, at least they’re paying for the drugs.

I don’t have any kind of knowledge on whether or not the way Moore represented healthcare in other countries is a fair and accurate portrayal, that’s not really what impacted me most about the movie. Instead, it was the woman whose little girl died because the hospital she brought her to wasn’t covered in her insurance plan, and the HMO executive physician who testified that she was actively and repeatedly encouraged to deny coverage to sick patients. These things I believe happen all the time in our healthcare system.

I have family members who currently have ‘catastrophic’ insurance because they can’t afford comprehensive coverage; their regular visits, preventative care and medications are not paid for. Some of you probably don’t have insurance, or your coverage is stingy as fuck. I guess none of us want to subsidize healthcare for people who deliberately destroy their health, or pay higher taxes so everyone who wants a boob job can get one, but when it comes to basic care and treating illness, it doesn’t seem like it should be a privilege to have access to our country’s health resources. It seems like it should be a right.

Anyway, see the movie if you have a chance, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Comments

60 Responses to “Sickly, Sicko”

  1. Lindy on November 30th, 2007 9:42 am

    I’m an expat living in England and so I have experience from both sides. The NHS has a lot of faults (waiting times to see a specialist being the one people gripe about the most) but when I was pregnant w/ Squidge I never ever had to think about costs. My mom was here for the birth and she took one look at the hospital and thought it was a bit dated. I explained to her that it was costing me NADA! ZIP! ZILTCH! to have Squidge. She suddenly thought that the not so shiney and new machines didn’t really matter. I can pop in and see our GP any time and birthcontrol is free. I think it’s shameful that one of the riches countries in the world has such a poor record of taking care of people medically. Healthcare should be a basic human right full stop.

  2. sundry on November 30th, 2007 9:42 am

    Jenn: sorry my comment made you feel that way. I wasn’t trying to say anything disparaging about antidepressants.

  3. GoingLoopy on November 30th, 2007 9:53 am

    First, I’d have to agree with the commenter on depression. I’ve struggled with it for years, and it is a VERY real illness – I know a lot of people assume, oh, prozac, she’s crazy, but the real truth is that I’m crazy WITHOUT it.

    Which provides a segue into talking about health insurance. At this point, prozac is available as a generic and is $4 at Wal-Mart. However, when I was working for a small company with no benefits and an equally low salary, it was $150 a month. A number of health plans pick and choose what depression drugs they cover – prozac is usually a choice, but some of the newer ones are not. My current insurance doesn’t pay for shit in the way of preventive care, copays are $30, and a lot of medications are not covered or are only partially covered (I sometimes have to take an antibiotic for a skin condition, and the shit is $119 even as a generic with a 30% of the cost covered). And they don’t cover most birth control, either.

    PS – What Michael Moore demonstrates in the movie about pre-existing conditions and private insurance is true. When we tried, at the small employer, to get a small-group plan, they won’t cover 12 months of treatment, and with the cheap ass-ness of the employer, they wouldn’t pay for the premiums. Basically, I would have had to pay $250 a month PLUS the $150 prescription, and I couldn’t afford it – so I was uninsured. In addition, the company quoted us a rate of $125 a month, but when they found out I was fat, my co-worker had had cancer, and the other co-worker had a chronic intestinal problem – the premiums doubled.

    Ugh.

  4. sundry on November 30th, 2007 10:21 am

    Crap crap crap. Honestly, I know depression is real and meds are just as necessary for that condition as anything else. I mostly made my comment because I didn’t want people emailing me to tell me that antidepressants are bad during pregnancy, I should have just kept quiet.

  5. trena on November 30th, 2007 10:50 am

    Eh, you can’t make all people happy all the time.
    Even though I’m not currently a passenger on antidepressant airways, I have been a frequent flier previously and your comment didn’t strike me as sucky towards those that are taking antidepressants.

    It’s amazing that *gasp* there might be other chronic conditions, other than depression, that require daily meds ;).

  6. Marolyn on November 30th, 2007 11:29 am

    I’ve been on both sides of the have and have not.
    After my divorce when my son was 6 months old I started out working at a hospital and had excellent medical bennies. I worked in healthcare at different clinics/hospitals for the next 12 years and have always been truely LUCKY to have my son and myself covered. Then my life turned upside down, everyone died, lost my job and moved to a new town. No insurance for myself but thankfully my son was covered by our state medicare. I work at a nationally known real estate company… but because they are franchises… the owner chooses to pay for medical or not… mine chooses not to! Then I met and married my husband and fortunately he his work has even better health care coverage, plus dental and vision too and so we are all three covered for a very minimal price! Thank god cause I’m headed for surgery next week!
    But get this… just a month ago I get a letter from, and decided to call Child Support Enforcement to find out WHY they were JUST NOW ( my son is now 18 ) insisting that my EX pay for medical… they told me that they can’t enforce child support (the boy is still in school) without enforceing medical coverage too…. because it was court ordered…. 17 years ago ! I just laughed and asked WHY it hadn’t been enforced for the last 17 years…. she stuttered and couldn’t tell me why… only that they were enforcing it NOW! I read in the paper about the big Audit the next week!

    VOTE FOR CHANGE!

  7. Brooke on November 30th, 2007 11:35 am

    Amen, sister!

    I have a cold too, and my OB grudgingly said I could take Sudafed to help me sleep. Soooo magical. Last night was the first night in two weeks I haven’t woken up with a hacking cough at 4 AM.

    I totally agree about health care. I have what I think is a great plan. We do have some copays, $15 for visits, $10 for drugs, but my prenatal is all free, and up until the baby is 1. My daughter takes brand-name asthma inhalers, and I am usually on birth control and a nasal spray all the time, so I love my drug coverage. Until we depleted our budget surplus recently, the benefits were the best reason for keeping my stinky job. ‘Course, now I need the paycheck too, but even that is ridiculously good considering how little work I actually do.

  8. Dawna on December 1st, 2007 1:53 pm

    **Shuts pie hole and thanks lucky stars about excellent medical coverage**

  9. Amy Q on December 1st, 2007 9:39 pm

    Ohhhh….I do feel for you. Move to Canada!!! What you pay is based on income, and then some companies have extra benefits like glasses, dental etc. Out bill is $200 a month for everything – prescriptions, chiro, massage, naturopath etc plus all the medical stuff. I lived in the US for awhile as a college student and I can relate to the person who said they are an example of healthcare in the 1800’s. Thank God I could come back to Canada or I would probably be …not good. I think the thing people mostly say about national medicare is that there are long waits, and thats true for some things, but when you really need it, they come through for you no matter who you are, unlike the private system in many cases. I completely believe that healthcare is a right, and I am sad that the love of money has put the medical system there into such a sorry state. I hope things change for you all in the future!

  10. kalisah on December 2nd, 2007 10:47 am

    I don’t think I can bring myself to watch that film. I’m already so in furiated by our healthcare system, I’m afraid the movie would send me over the edge.

    I’m lucky that we have decent coverage – nothing great but at least we’re not going broke over our medical costs.

    But I worked at a children’s cancer hospital for 8 years – one that covered ALL the costs for the families. And the horror stories I encountered from the families that happened back at their local hospitals. The kid needed a bone marrow transplant, but the hospital wanted $50K UP FRONT. Families that mortgaged their homes in hopes of saving their child’s life. It’s just so wrong.

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