At what cost

We, here in America, live in the only industrialized country in the world where you can lose everything to Medical Bills. Where getting healthy can make you bankrupt. Only us. Only (in the) US.

Part of the stimulus package our government has put in play involves a tax break for us working stiffs who make less than 250K a year - in the form of more take home money every paycheck.

My company has imposed a pay freeze this year. As a salaried individual, I don't get 'overtime' - I get the same paycheck (albeit a nice one) every two weeks. All that means is, I can compare this year's paycheck with last year's paycheck from the same period and see EXACTLY what the stimulus package is doing for me.

I saw the effect of the package for the first time, today. This is the first check reflecting the tax credit from Uncle Sam. This is money my Uncle wants me to go out and spend, put in play, so to speak. Stimulate the economy with my little contribution every two weeks.

I compared the check from this pay period with a check from a year ago. If you don't think that the Medical and Medical Insurance Industries have a stranglehold on our economy, then consider this. My insurance premiums have gone UP by 33% in the year - by an amount EQUAL to the amount I'm getting back from the government in the form of this tax break. WTF?

We pay more for Medicine and Medical Intervention in this country than anywhere else in the world, but we're sicker than any other industrialized country, and don't live as long. More of our babies die that any other industrialized country and we, only we, can wind up living in the street because of Medical Bills.

Something really, really, needs to change.



Hyphen Mama said...

You're right! Our system is broken, but I can't think of another one that's much better.

We don't have to have thousands of our internet friends from across the planet write a petition begging the government to release life-saving medicine to a 2 year-old, then continue to beg the government to continue that medicine every 6 months. WE can sell our soul to the devil and get that medical intervention on our own dime, hoping that we just happen to have a spare dime. We also don't have to wait 7 months to be seen by a psychiatrist while we're off from work on disability, not getting the intervention we need--because the government run system is so backed up it can't handle the numbers of patients (http://www.schmutzie.com/2009/02/patriarchy-got-in-way-of-good-time-at.html).

The US government has enough trouble, I don't see that they can take on health care as well.

There MUST be a happy medium. I'm not sure anybody knows what that might be.

maggie's mind said...

Yep. We're doing it wrong when even hard working folks can go bankrupt just because their bodies are human enough to get sick. I'm technically without health insurance, and it's scary.

Shadow said...

i think you should look at the sa stats. they're just as bad...

M+B said...

Our stimulus packages in Australia come by way of a lump sum... just the right amount for the electrical stores to discount a plasma or LCD television to equal the payment!

The US health system and insurance has always made me wonder just how many people miss out on good treatment as a result of inadequate or no insurance.

moneythoughts said...

I agree with every word you wrote, but I must admit, I don't have all the answers on this one. I agree that people should not lose their home because they get sick. On the other hand, much needs to be done to educate children, while they are impressionable, as to what are good health practices to include diet and exercise. We, as a nation, need to do more about educating children on a numbers of fronts, and how to stay healthy is just one of them. We probably need to turn out more doctors, nurses and med techs for a country of over 300 million and growing. That is buidling more or larger medical and nursing schools and the Federal Government can certainly make a difference here. While we have a system of great universities in the USA, I think we need to do more if we are going to meet the needs and challenges of the 21st century. I will now step down off the soap box and give someone else a chance to speak.

Ree said...

Even with health insurance, it's perfectly possible to go bankrupt due to a single major illness.

I agree, something has to change. I wish I had the answers as to how.

Tara R. said...

I'm even more worried about my financial future than I ever have been.

Cat said...

I agree about the medical insurance - and the drug companies and pharmicutical companies are making so much profit its insane as well - I hope it eases up soon... this economy is scary - now I need to look at my check - and compare...

Joyce-Anne said...

After seeing a documentary on healthcare just a week ago, my husband turned to me and said we're either moving to France or Canada. I wish I could remember the name of the film (or even the director's name), but, to me, it really drove home the fact the insurance companies and lobbyists are controlling everything in this country.

Loraine said...

We can only hope Obama's plan can do something about this, and that it's enough. But it's such a huge problem, I doubt it can be remedied in one fell swoop.

Momisodes said...

Couldn't agree more. We pay nearly a mortgage payment for our insurance every month, and are too afraid to even use it in fears of the bills that will come.

While working as a nurse, it was tragic to see families filing for divorce, ONLY because they could no longer afford their medical bills, and in hopes of receiving medicaid.

Things really do need to change.

LceeL said...

Hyphen Mama: Whatever the answer turns out to be - if there IS an answer - it's going to take leadership on the part of SOMEBODY. Isn't that what we expect our government to do - lead?

Maggie's Mind: Yeah, that's got to be scary.

Shadow: That's so sad.

M+B: Many, many people miss out and don't get treated for things that need treatment.

Moneythoughts: Absolutely right, Fred.

Ree: As do I, Ree.

Tara R: As AM I, Tara.

Cat: This economy is scary - it's important to hang on to what you've got.

Joyce-Anne: In Germany, they have had National Health Care since 1887. They're doin' okay.

Loraine: Baby steps, Loraine. It will take baby steps. We just need to start taking those steps.

Momisodes: But how - just what direction do those changes take?

Kelley said...

When I hear the stories about the US it makes me sad, and glad I live in Australia.

While our system is not great, I have yet to have to pay a cent for my medical treatment for my Marburg Sports Injury.

And giving birth (c-section x3) was free.

NicoleB said...

That's pretty screwed up :(
I honestly didn't believe much would change to the better, even if the guy in office really believes in what he preached.
Now, tell me one thing.
Why would the US want to pay 900million USD for reconstruction in Gaza while many of its citizens live on the streets and Louisiana for example is still not rebuilt completely?
Besides that they are shooting rockets again on both sides, which will do reconstruction a whole good,...
Neither do I understand why Europe will pay the same amount.
We are not much better of than the US, especially Eastern Europe.
I'm afraid this is not the last of it yet. The whole situation will go to shambles here soon.

Nan said...

If Sean pays taxes in the UK, It will be something like 45% or more of his salary. Scary! But I have always been impressed by the free medical I've had there. So I dunno. Would working Americans be willing to pay very high taxes so that unemployed persons can have free health care?

Indigo said...

I get disability due to my deafness. When I was first diagnosed with Emphysema I was asked if I wanted to upgrade my Medicaide to include prescriptions. I didn't - here's the kicker I could spend $150 a month on medication or let Medicaide do it. If they do they take more money out of the disability which amounts to far more than what I have to initial pay out. Sounds backwards doesn't it. But ever so true. Always read the fine print, your never getting as much of an insentive as you think you are. (Hugs)Indigo

Lady Language said...

Amen to that. We are on a small private health care plan and pay through the nose for extra or emergency visits. I am so tired of the doctor's fees surpassing the customary fees the ins company pays.