I got up early to watch the Sunday News shows and what I heard was the same blah, blah, blah about the deficit and how Health Care Reform is not an effective solution etc. What they didn’t say is that as long as we allow the kind of corruption we have seen in the last several years, no one party or one individual will be able to fix it. I wondered if they had been brainwashed by a Capitalist cult? What happened to what we always referred to as true American values? Though I don’t agree that they belong only to America. I believe goodness, honesty and helping those less fortunate belong to humankind in its evolutionary form. Anything less just takes us back to the caves and gives us back our wooden clubs.
Each of the experts kept saying, “I am representing the American People” and all I could think of was, “Not me, you’re not!”
Through two hours of 2 shows which was like sitting in a dentist’s chair, I didn’t hear one word from all the “experts” or “representatives” about the truth as I know it: The prices that the Drug companies, insurance companies, and medical supply companies charge is one of the big factors in bankrupting the nation.
Finally there was a single cry in the dark from Arianna Huffington. She said it, but some new Congressman who was insisting that Medicare was going bankrupt anyway overshadowed her opinion.
Bankrupt? Not because of me. My Medicare is using all my social security income. The government could just write the check to the pharmacy and Medicare direct. It sure keeps me from blowing all the money I worked for on frivolous things to help the economy recover.
Don’t get me wrong, I get Capitalism. No one wants to interfere with private enterprise, but when does stealing from individuals or the government become business as usual rather than a crime?
Let me try to explain. I mean this subject is not sexy, it’s mired in ridiculous contradictions and if I were a better writer, I could make it a real comedy. Except for most people today, it’s a tragedy.
One example from my own experience with no exaggeration:
In 2008, I paid $139.00 for the same prescription drug for which I now pay $448.00. For the generic, it’s $49.00 –except that I can’t take generics. I hemorrhage, or pass out, or break out. And it’s not like I’m a name brand freak, it’s not snobbery for me, it’s survival.
Yet on Medicare, the insurance companies turned me down for three years. Even after several appeals and the 5 steps to grievances etc. with three different health care companies. Three of the biggest.
How can that be justified? I know those in the know say the ‘active ingredients’ in generics are the same as in the brand names, but I’m allergic to the fillers or the dyes. Though different manufacturers use different dyes and fillers, after 30 years of terrible allergic reactions and hospital stays because of them, I finally came up with 6 brand name pills that I can take. But now that I’m on Medicare, those drugs are not on the formulary. Why? The FDA approved them, my doctor who is a real MD ordered them, I pay $600 a month in premiums for MEDICARE plus a $71 dollar co-pay for any brand name drug that my insurance company finally does approve.
It can’t be a losing proposition for insurance companies, yet over the last years both my doctors have spent hour upon hour writing appeal letters, grievances etc. explaining all the allergic reactions, like hemorrhaging, shock, falling blood pressure. I mean, things I can’t live with, or can’t live through.
Any doctor who is willing to have me as a patient would have to hire a full time staff in order to keep up with the paperwork Medicare requires so the scripts he gives me make me well, and don’t kill me. If he or she doesn’t monitor everything carefully, the insurance companies can give me a drug that makes me sicker or maybe even kills me. Talk about a killer app! The insurance companies FORMULARIES are the perfect example of an application that can kill. If I wanted someone dead, I wouldn’t contact the Mafia, I’d call their insurance company-much easier and more effective.
Don’t misunderstand. I do believe in free enterprise. But I also believe that a corporation should not be allowed to charge the government twice as much as they would charge a person without insurance. I mean this I get. I don’t agree with it, I just get it. It’s sort of like stealing from a store instead of from a friend. Agencies and businesses have little conscience about overbilling the government (Medicare and Medicaid) because Government is faceless, except when we’re making it an enemy.
Yet that’s what they do. When I had no insurance and was on self pay, I was charged half the hospital bill that I would have been charged had I had insurance. That’s how it goes.
But to summarize…There is no fixing Medicare, the economy or anything else without first putting some limitation on the profits that insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies etc. charge. There needs to be free enterprise that doesn’t steal from its people.
Because there is nothing to stop us from going down like Egypt and Rome, if we can’t see the golden calf for what it is.