Monday, March 17, 2014

The Despair Class

Sliding on the fast track to old, overweight, dementia impaired, single-dom is not very inspiring. It appears that middle class independence is the level of anticipated hope I’m entitled to.  

What I’ve learned in my many, many years of healthcare employment is independence is a negatively correlated condition between physical ability and finances.

Let me present two little factoids. Recall July and the major emergency surgery that I required to like, you know, keep living? 

I am very, very lucky to have good health insurance.  All the bills paid up, including an enormous hospital bill  that was “out of network” and I’m out about five grand. Pretty damn amazing considering the initial total billed was a trifling Three Hundred Thousand dollars.   

It turns out I didn’t quite do the side-step I thought I had.  Six months post surgery, I get a bill from the surgical assistant.  To frame this in the right way, the surgeon billed me $4,900, insurance paid $1,240 and I paid $135. 

The assistant billed me the same, the insurance paid the same but because the assistant is out of network, the assistant isn’t obligated to take any discount and since I was unconscious at the time and not in a position to check network status I couldn’t really voice an objection.

I’m thinking it isn’t really equitable that the assistant is paid about 3.5 times more than the actual surgeon. (Put it this way, the surgeon isn’t there when I get cracked open and I’m in the morgue. The assistant isn’t around and there is probably some fumbling and longer time on the table but ultimately I’m Frankensteined back together and still breathing in and out.) 

Factoid number two, I have crummy dental genes and an obsessive, compulsive tooth brushing nature and therefore I have receding gums. In the past month, one section has rapidly disintegrated. (Three periodontal specialist later and they don’t know why.) But the bill is going to be ten to fifteen thousand dollars. I do have dental insurance but it maxes out at two grand a year. 

So, locate ten grand and I get to keep my teeth. 

You see where I’m going with this, right? Many, many, oh so many issues in the health care industry make it inequitable, slow to respond and completely moronic in the way that money is spent.

Alright, I’ll take back moronic if instead we change it to financially expedient to the CEO’s of the top pharmaceutical manufacturers and big insurance companies. That takes health care out of the area of imbecile and puts it in the area of immoral. That is fairly apt.

Being a proud member of the middle class (remember for me middle class is synonymous with the concept of independence) and watching that stability erode,is the cause of significant despair.   

I chose health care limitations because that is what I’m most familiar with but inequity in the criminal justice system or in the financial market can also annihilate any middle class breadwinner. 

This has been a cheery little post! 

If I had any idea where the path to equity started, trust me, I would pass that on. While I’m waiting for that to happen I’ll be figuring out where 10 grand is going to shake lose from my budget.

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