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.