The Price of Health by Manny Frishberg

October 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

Sometimes things happen that so shake a person’s world that nothing ever appears the same again. A few years ago, something like that happened to me — I almost died from a lack of health insurance. (and a burst appendix.) This story is far from unique to me. It is, more and more, what those of us who count ourselves among the bottom 99 percent have to deal with. Medicaid is being cut as states struggle to balance their budgets, while people facing layoffs lose not just their livelihood but the insurance they count on to pay their family’s doctor bills.

Delaying care is one reason  why people of color have worse chances of a good outcome with a number of diseases (but that’s another story). I know the cost of my delay in going to see the doctor. My adventure in emergency surgery ended up costing the system close to $90,000.

Probably 95 percent of that, and the fact that I nearly died, could have been avoided if I’d gone in when I first felt ill. But I couldn’t buy health insurance at the time and I did not think I was that sick. I’m grateful to the selfless people who saved my life. But the system paid because I couldn’t.

So for me it is personal  when the politicians’ plans to save money by making it even harder for people who are losing their jobs to get the only health insurance they might be able to afford,. When I hear of them making such nickel-and-dime wise/dollar bone-jarringly stupid proposals. I want to open up my window and scream.

But I don’t. I write about it instead. And as a journalist I am trained to keep my own feelings out of the story. I ask questions that other people don’t have the time or the opportunity to ask, report the answers and try, where possible, fill in the blanks with some background information for context. Then I sit back and wait for it to appear on the website – and for you to open your windows and scream.

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§ One Response to The Price of Health by Manny Frishberg

  • […] Face it, high numbers of uninsured increase mortality. The risk for uninsured people is 1.2 to 1.6 times greater according to Moneycentral. Our county’s infant mortality rate is an abysmal 27th among 30 industrialized countries in part because more than 800,000 pregnant women are uninsured. The major insurer, Aetna, states that uninsured also shift costs when they access healthcare pushing up healthcare costs and premiums for others and a recent survey, Women and Men Living on the Edge: Economic Insecurity After The Great Recession, suggests that many uninsured don’t access healthcare…. until it’s a crisis.  […]

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