Friday, July 20, 2012

The cost of staying healthy.

Tonight we received the explanation of benefits for my surgery to have benign tumors removed in June. $12,566.55 is what it would have cost us, but thanks to health insurance we only have to pay $150.00.

For that price, I could have driven my tumor off the lot.

I feel incredibly blessed, and overwhelmingly thankful that Ryan was promoted this past October. A year ago today, we did not have health insurance. I thank God these tumors developed after we gained insurance and not during the two years when we lived without. I am grateful I only had to be in pain for 3-4 months, we don't have to be $12,500 in debt, and that they were benign. 

I share this because we came seriously close to some major financial turmoil just because I've got an organ that loves to grow tumors. That seems unfair to me (as far as I'm concerned, the pain cost enough). When you hear people arguing about health insurance in the coming election, remember how close I came to being $12.5k in the hole (seven months close. It's scary). Use me as an example of someone you know who was really lucky. I don't mind, I would like you to, it gives a purpose to the whole ordeal.

I don't like that I get tumors, I hate it. But it seems to be my lot in life, so what more can I do than rejoice when they're benign and get them cut out before they start elbowing my innards out of the way? 
I prayed often and hard that if the tumors were to grow back, please let it be once we had insurance. God seemed to hold them off for just about that long, and I thank the Big Guy heartily.

Before I used to get sick, I had a real hard headed way of seeing things like this. I probably would have been the first to tell you that the poor can get their own insurance, that capitalism was a great way to regulate the health system, that I was proud to have been raised Republican. (Oh yes, yes I was). I was a real asshole because I had never been sick or mortally frightened. There are people who have empathy for the sick and poor from birth, and they are amazing, incredible kind-hearted folk. I had to learn it along the way. I admit that now as a 
penance for the arrogant 19 year old I once was--but I am grateful. I'm a better person for the few bad things that have befallen me. They gave me perspective.

My husband and I are college educated, we work hard, we pay our bills, and yet we were seven months shy of beginning our marriage owing 12k to hospitals? (On top of the almost $60k in college loans we owe). I love our country, and the patriot in me says "Not in America. We can do better than that--We're America."

We never should have let medical care become big business. Death has a monopoly on healthcare, because people will do anything to avoid dying, including taking on hundreds of thousands in debt. Capitalism is great for goods and some services, but when the poor are afraid to get a check up because they can't afford the bill something is gravely wrong. Heart transplants and medications shouldn't be auctioned off to the highest bidders. They should be available to those who have the greatest need, regardless of their wallet. Anything else is evil.

The medical corporations and insurance companies have people believing that it's okay to leave the poor without access to healthcare because they're poor, but what a sociopathic kind of justification. It feels like some kind of 1984 doublethink. It's just following the piper playing the tune of the almighty dollar. Forget the golden calf, it's cutting out the calf altogether and just worshiping the gold. It's wrong. Christian conservatives seem to beat this drum the loudest, but that's not what Jesus would do. Jesus wasn't only healing the wealthy lepers. He threw the merchants out of the temple. He'd be throwing the insurance lobbyists out of congress. He'd be throwing the politicians who have failed the meek out of office. He'd be the most bad ass man of the people we've ever seen.

Anyway, that's everything that swelled up in my heart when I read my explanation of benefits. Gratitude that I have benefits. Fear for those who don't. Regret that I once felt differently. And a need to share my thoughts with you.


  1. Hello there, Georgia! So glad you've come through your battle with the lumps! Also that you've changed your views. Sorry not to have apparently been in touch: alas, Peter my loved husband, suddenly died in May (at least he's now out of the pain he suffered for 23 years) and then my daughter fell, while walking her dog, and fractured her leg. Mum was needed to do that job and look after her. Life has a habit of taking us on very unforeseen journeys, does it not?

    Hope you continue your recovery and look forward to keeping in touch better soon. Isobel

  2. Hello Isobel! I am very happy to 'see' you again. I am so sorry for the loss of your husband Peter. You've often spoke beautifully of your life together, and I'm glad he is not in pain anymore, but saddened to hear of his passing for your sake. And I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's leg, hopefully it shall be on the mend quickly!

    I look forward to keeping in touch with you too! I hope you are having a wonderful day!


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