indeed

taibbi responds to maria bartiromo, both from his appearance on morning joe and the clip posted earlier:

Fuck a fancy boutique drug like Erbitux — I have a very expensive private plan and I can’t even go to a doctor, not even to ask a simple question, unless it’s an emergency. I can’t get a routine checkup, can’t find out what that weird lump in my left foot is, can’t have the pleasure of a routine proctological exam unless I want to pay cash for it, and, well, forget about getting a filling replaced or seeing a therapist to deal with my incipient nervous collapse/burgeoning mid-life crisis. Hell, forget about paying for Erbitux, if I wanted to get a colonoscopy to find out if Ineeded Erbitux, I wouldn’t be able to — I’d probably have to wait until I was a fully symptomatic cancer patient before I could even have that conversation on my insurer’s dime. And I’m one of the lucky ones, I actually have money to pay for care out of pocket, if I had to. No country in the world rations care more than the U.S. There are whole generations of Americans (20-40 year-olds in particular) who don’t know what it is to be able to go to a doctor for preventive care or routine checkups.

indeed – the real debate is not about the quality of care, which is excellent in this country. the real debate is about access to care, and the fact that whole swaths of people can’t get coverage and can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket for our excellent american health care. 

a story for you. my younger brother is epileptic and has been since middle school. for a few years, he was too old to be on my mom’s insurance, but he was only a part-time employee and a part-time student at a community college, so he wasn’t eligible for health care through either work or school. he made just slightly too much to be on medicare, and no private insurer would touch him because of the epilepsy. he had a prescription for a new(ish) epilepsy drug that didn’t have a generic alternative and cost $200 each month, which he had to pay out-of-pocket. this went on for months, until his neurologist found him a prescription program through the drug company that he could participate in which would reduce his costs considerably.

without these pills, my brother wouldn’t have been able to do things like go to work and live a fairly normal life. with them, he was spending a huge percentage of his income on pills every month. and his doctor – who presumably has other things to do, like caring for patients – ended up spending a bunch helping him find a way to actually pay for his medication.

my brother works full time now at a place that gives him good benefits, which is great. but it also means that he can’t really afford to leave or lose this job – something to think about considering the current state of our economy. and yet wealthy people with excellent health care are arguing that somehow the public option will make health care more rationed? wtf.

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2 comments
  1. fauxpopuli said:

    Well. We do have problems with some of the most basic stuff, ie. life expectancy and infant mortality where we lag behind any other major countries. By these measures our peers are Cuba, Croatia, Guam, etc. rather than Europe or Canada.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infant_mortality_rate

    From what I understand we do well with advanced/hi-tech treatments for cancer and things of that nature – when people have access to them of course. There’s also the issue of rescission, where people with a policy think they’re covered up until the HMO goes back over their paperwork with a fine-toothed comb, looking for an excuse to cancel it when it’s time for a costly procedure.

    And you get at one of the biggest reasons our economy is in the shitter: all the inefficiencies and lost hours and lost productivity that comes from dealing with our bullshit health care system – or going to work at below-optimal capacity when you can’t make it work – not to mention the mental cost of sitting around worrying that you might someday lose it. How much time the average American spends being preoccupied with this is hard to quantify but we can say that by definition it’s more than someone in the UK or Canada.

    ps. you’re thinking of medicaid (aka medical) not medicare. Medicaid’s for broke people, Medicare’s for old people, the disabled, etc.

  2. fauxpopuli said:

    And Bartiromo is… just… my god. That woman is evil. If the news isn’t going to be worthwhile could it at least stick to reporting on celebrity hairstyles and doing thinly-veiled ads for the parent corp’s latest albums and movies rather than taking an active and joyous part is deceiving us further about the way things actually work?

    I mean I get that people have a responsibility to inform themselves but it doesn’t happen spontaneously. Bullshit in, bullshit out.

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