I read David Broder's editorial in the Seattle Times this morning http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2001979607_broder15.html about the health care crisis. That has been one of the subplots of my week, with my own crummy insurance. My doctor has lost touch with the reality many people face now. The small business where I work is paying more and more for insurance while our copays and deductibles double every year. Our prescription costs are skyrocketing. I'm a reasonably healthy middle-aged woman, but I've maxed out the annual limit on one medication, so my Rx costs are now $100/mo. My doctor, whom I've known since 1990 and always respected, is ordering tests and procedures that put me deeper and deeper into debt, without clear need for those tests.
Seems to me that I became a health care junkie during the years when my family had excellent coverage and low out of pocket costs. I doubt I'm the only one. Our doctors became accustomed to patients (and parents of little patients) who would agree to any test, procedure, specialist, or medication with very few questions. Doctors who were already paying for expensive malpractice insurance became dependent on test results to cover their bizoooozis against liability. Sometimes there were even more pharmaceutical company reps in the waiting room than patients, with briefcases full of incentives for doctors to prescribe the newest, most costly drug available.
Once we were hooked on health care, the insurance companies could start jacking up prices and decreasing coverage. And they sure did, and they will keep doing it.
The US health care arrangement (system seems like a euphemism) needs radical change, but instead we are sending billions of dollars to Iraq. Has anyone noticed that Halliburton has two evil stepsisters in insurance and pharmaceuticals?
Where is the Twelve-Step rehab for health care junkies? I know I am ready to admit powerlessness over medical expenses, and my finances have become unmanageable.