[cancer|politics] Insurance

According to my health insurance carrier, the total costs of my excellent cancer adventure will come to somewhee between $75,000 and $80,000, including the ER admit, subsequent hospitalization, the surgery and the post-op hospitalization, along with all the doctor’s fees, testing costs and so forth. This doesn’t include the several dozen appointments and eight or so colonoscopies I’ll have for follow up over the next five years.

Also according to my health insurance carrier, my out of pocket will be in the neighborhood of $1,400.

Now, $1,400 is a lot of money. And health insurance is quite expensive, even with an employer subsidy. But the alternatives — either owing $75,000 right now, or living (not much longer) with cancer — are far more expensive.

That our American system of healthcare financing is so patchwork, so crazy quilt, is one of the great shames of our society. Decades of cynical obfuscation from the GOP and the AMA about the horrors of “socialized medicine” have frightened millions of voters into blindly believing our system is the best (and only) answer.

I am one of the lucky ones, but I’m willing to bet a meaningful percentage of you guys reading here are not so lucky. Certainly tens of millions of uninsured or underinsured Americans are not so lucky.

If you think socialized medicine means healthcare rationing and reduction in standards of care and outcomes, let me ask you two simple questions. Do you know the difference between “single payer” and “single provider”? Are you aware that HMOs are based on healthcare rationing? If you don’t understand both those questions clearly, then your understanding of healthcare financing is significantly underinformed.

Remember, in the United States where the vast majority of health coverage is financed through employer-sponsored group health insurance, you’re only as lucky as your next layoff.