Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There is no there there

I have hesitated to get into this debate because to me, it is much ado about nothing. We don't have an actual bill in the Senate yet. There are (last I heard) 5 different drafts in the House right now. The truth is, no one knows what we're talking about yet, so why get into the mud?

Because something has to be done.

I have been without health insurance. My children have gone without health insurance, and I considered that my biggest failure as a mother. We made too much to qualify for Medicaid (which is laughable, considering how little we made), and private insurance was just too expensive. Filling out registration forms for child care was embarrassing. To this day, my daughters' immunization records are each about 4 pages long, with various medical facilities filling in a blank here, a blank there. We also have moved quite a few different times, and rarely have my children seen the same doctor more than once.

Even though we have had insurance through my employer for quite a while now, I still act like an uninsured, rarely going to the doctor - only taking the girls when the schools require an updated health record.
Regardless of some of the rumors flying about, we do not have the best health system in the world. One survey ranks us 37th.

But I haven't lived in another country so I won't try and say I know a better one.

What I will say is, I have a predisposition to hate the medical industry as a whole.

I hate making an appointment for a certain time, getting there 15 minutes early as requested, and then sitting in the lobby for an hour. I hate that these appointments usually take time during the workday, and I'm paid on an hourly basis. I hate using sick time for these appointments because what if I need that sick time later in the year for a real medical problem? And I hate that after my appointment, we usually have to make a trip to the lab and wait around yet again. I hate that my time is treated with such disregard.

I hate that I can't figure out which id on my insurance card I should put down on the field trip forms (the card itself lists 4 different numbers). I hate that after I called my insurance company's hotline and went to the hospital that they directed me to, I got a bill later saying that hospital wasn't covered under my plan. And I hate that they sent that AFTER the year was up and I'd already used my PayFlex spending for that year, not knowing that this bill was coming.

I'm one of the lucky ones. My employer actually offers multiple plans. Yet, the only difference I can see between them is, do I pay an outrageous charge every month, or do I pay an outrageous charge if/when the inevitable emergency occurs?

And through all the hoopla over the last few weeks, I hate that the opponents don't offer any solutions. Yelling "you're lying!" or "You're a socialist!" doesn't actually do anything to improve health care.

What's so discouraging to me about all of this hysteria is it's taken away our opportunity to actually debate the merits of health care reform. I'm skeptical of putting our medical records online. I want to know as much as anyone how much this reform would cost me, both as a taxpayer and my own medical bills. I want to know if this will make my wait at the doctor's office longer or shorter. I want to know if I'm actually going to understand my coverage better or not.

What I do know is that I don't know any of those answers yet. Because there is no bill on the floor yet.

Originally posted on LA Moms. 


dadshouse said...

I've got a healthcare post up at SV Moms, too. Mine is more about the high cost of healthcare, rather than public policy, and what I'm doing for myself to stay healthy. Here's the intro: http://dadshouseblog.com/2009/08/18/healthcare-plan-diet-exercise-cocktails/

I'll go check out your LA moms post now!

Hotmamamia said...

Good post at LA Moms April...