Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I wanted to write a positive post about a recent event concerning my health care, but I feel it's time to put my cards on the proverbial table.

I feel few things are as morally bankrupt as the US healthcare system. The simplest way I can say it is that the care you receive (if any) correlates directly with your income and the degree to which your employer values your health in comparison to their profits.

When Louise was born we received a bill from our insurance company for approximately $300. That amount was to cover the deductible with our insurance company, while our insurance company paid the remainder of our costly visit.

Three years prior, when I was employed elsewhere and covered by less comprehensive insurance, we received a bill in excess of $2500 to cover the deductible for Cora's birth.

Now consider someone with a basic high school education and a job that doesn't provide health insurance...

Since my retirement in November I spent six months -- technically, still as an employee -- on short term disability. At the end of that period, much to the credit of my wife who filed the paperwork, my health insurance is now covered by Medicare. For the uninitiated, Medicare is a federal program that provides health insurance for retirees or people with a permanent disability. A percentage of your earnings are paid into this and other programs throughout your working career.

I am very thankful that Medicare covered the vast majority of the $20,000+ bill we have to pay to enable me to communicate in the future. Today, we placed an order for an eye-operated computer that has been designed for the sole purpose of helping people like me communicate. Additionally, our local ALSA chapter awarded us a grant to cover over two thirds of the remaining cost.

We successfully finished all the paperwork for a Tobii device today. That's my good piece of healthcare news.

Still, my good news today doesn't change the fact that Amanda must seek her own private health insurance.  And it doesn't shave off one ounce of the anxiety Amanda and I spent trying to figure out how to get our girls health insurance... did I mention moral bankruptcy?

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