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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Feet on either side of the line

A kiss from the rose on the grey?
As WTF host Marc Maron says, "Hey, it's life. Doesn't end well." Or as my husband says, on the days he can talk about it at all, "We're all dying honey. You're just doing it a little faster than the rest of us."

What I'm struggling to spit out is that planning around the hole you're going to leave is pretty much normal human behavior at any age. I'm younger than I would have expected, and will be leaving a sorrowfully bigger hole than I'd meant, but the challenges are similar to everyone else's. I don't need to plan for retirement, so what I've saved can go to college funds, at least. As long as I die fairly soon, I can do so secure in the knowledge that the kids will be taken care of. 

Whose future is it anyway?
Which brings me to the gigantic, self-righteous elephant humped in the middle of my American living room: The American Health Insurance System. Most expensive in the world, with oftentimes mediocre outcomes, medical bills are by far the most common cause of bankruptcy in the US.

I can't afford to bankrupt our family. But that's what the state of US health care means to someone living with a fatal illness today. No one talks about how, in the pay-to-live system we have in America, co-pays alone can wipe out a family's financial security forever. I think people would be shocked at the number of times the ill choose between living and living as long as is financially possible for themselves and their families.

I called MD Andersonhome of the edgiest cancer-fighting gadgets on the planetand they want $200,000 up front to sign up for their fancy photon therapy. They're certainly not taking any chances on our insurance company spontaneously leaping to do the right thing.

We're fighting this uphill battle, draining my family's financial resources just as my kids are getting ready to enter college and my husband tries to ready for retirement. We have the kind of medical insurance to which health care workers are entitled, so we're atypical in some ways. I'm receiving good treatment.

But this could still bankrupt us. And ours is a universal story.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear this. I don't really understand how it works. I have definitely NOT paid doctors in the past and never had a problem with it later. I guess if the bills are really big then they come after you legally? It's crazy that you can pay all that money into insurance all your life and then when you really need it you're still screwed.