The Illegitimate Makeshift HealthCare Plan of The Poor and Uninsured
It should be known before reading this, I don’t watch the news. I have no real opinion on Obamacare or whatever it is our current cancerous disaster of a President plans on doing as far as healthcare reform goes. This article isn’t about any of that.
It’s about the struggle millions of people in this country go through — unnecessarily might I add — when it comes to paying for their own professional medical care. And more importantly, the what I presume to be almost just as many people like myself who can’t realistically afford a decent legitimate healthcare plan and therefore haven’t seen a doctor outside of one or two medical emergencies, in years. No annual checkups or regular maintenance. It’s simply not in the budget.
Oh and those one or two medical emergencies I mentioned, I’d sit down when you open up the bill for one of those bad boys, as an uninsured American. Expect to be flabbergasted and remember to take deep breaths. Otherwise the amount of commas in the bill you get for your already bad enough emergency room visit could send you right back to the hospital due to a panic attack or mild cardiac or coronary event. However, rather than panic or allow fictitious numbers on a piece of paper to stress you out or send you into the poor(er) house, may I present a different approach? It’s a widely and commonly used means of acquiring medical attention by people as poor as me, all over this great nation of ours.
The Ol’ “Send Me The Bill For It” Technique
In 2009, I had my head and face split open by an overweight, deadbeat highschool dropout but that’s another story for another day I suppose. The point is, I needed medical attention and ended up in the emergency room of the same hospital I was born at. Here’s the thing, left to my own drunken recognizances, I wouldn’t have. After the incident occured, I thankfully was smart enough to call a cousin of mine to come get me. While my intention was to have him drive me home so I could “sleep it off”, I truly thank God I had him to talk me into going to the emergency room. Lacerations on your head and a nose that’s pouring blood out of it probably aren’t the type of injuries one’s meant to sleep through. Especially not drunk. But all I could think about when he mentioned the emergency room was what the bill would look like, as someone without insurance.
I suggested to my cousin that maybe I should give them a fake name, being as I would never be able to realistically afford the bill I’d surely be sent. He advised me not to, because he’s a better person than I am.
However, perhaps my approach would have been smarter, being after an hour and a half stay, the majority of which I spent on a cart in a hallway, with my face covered in my own blood because apparently nobody on staff thought to maybe clean me up — I was given some pain meds, had some glue slapped on the cut on my skull and was sent a bill for $9,000. A bill that never got paid because at that time, hospital bills in the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania didn’t go against your credit report and I didn’t have nine grand to give them. As unfortunate of a situation as it could have been, I was fortunate.
But I wonder how many uninsured Americans since, have found themselves in a situation similar to mine, except they actually had to pay such a comically outrageous bill because it does indeed now go against you in many other states, just like it does right here in Pennsylvania.
Bills like the one I got for the treatment I received that night back in 2009, have no shot of ever being realistically paid. And when they’re as ridiculously overpriced as the services and care I got was, they don’t deserve to be. Which leaves us with a very broken system and a very big problem on our hands.
The Self Diagnosis and Medicating Strategy
Another common approach used by myself and many others, I imagine anyway, is the very not doctor approved Self Diagnosis and Medicating Strategy. It’s very much what it sounds like — rather than go to a doctor or seek the medical attention of a professional with a degree, you just use the internet to take your best educated guess as to what may be wrong with you. Now the premium version of this plan, which I’m lucky enough to have, includes having friends in medical school and internships that you can go to for free advice, when diagnosing yourself. If you’re real lucky, they may even know someone who knows someone who has a few sample packets of the medicine you need. That’s about as good as affordable healthcare gets for us uninsured folks.
Where this plan gets sticky however, is in the mental health field. Those suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD and countless other mental health conditions, who have no idea they’re even suffering from the condition they’re afflicted with. They’re unaware there is a medication out there that could significantly improve the quality of their lives, so they drink or get high instead. Because it brings them the few hours of relief they so desperately seek, day in and day out. In turn, rather than solve the issue they originally sought to, they end up with one that’s just as bad — if not worse — in alcoholism or a physical narcotic addiction. It’s atrociously unnecessary, in a country where roughly a third of our paychecks go to the Government as is.
Around the same time as my emergency room visit, I went with my Mother who has been diagnosed with COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, to pick up her medicine. Her husband had just been laid off by Donald Trump himself, after over 30 years of service to Trump Plaza as a bartender. There seemed to be a mixup with their coverage and the pharmacist informed her, the medicine that was helping her breathe and live at least some semblance of a normal life at age 51, would no longer be covered by her insurance. The out of pocket cost now came to a total of eight hundred and some odd dollars. Needless to say, my Mom didn’t leave that pharmacy with the medicine she very much needed that day. She couldn’t afford to spend more than she pays in rent every month, at Rite-Aid on a Tuesday.
I’ve applied for help from the State, as far as insurance goes and have been denied. A woman who spends her days in one of the most miserable places within city limits, The Philadelphia Welfare Office, looked me dead in my face and told me as a white male without kids, I simply didn’t qualify.
Listen, I don’t have a ready-built detailed solution to present to congress. But isn’t that our Government’s job? How come Canada nailed it, yet we’ve been getting caught with our pants down on the issue time and time again?
If we can’t insure our own veterans and ill stricken, we don’t live in the greatest country on earth. I say so because there’s much talk from our current President about making the country great again. While I pay less mind to the man than I do to infomercials about hair replacement products, if he truly wants to restore this country to greatness, why doesn’t he start with insuring America as a whole, rather than jumping on Twitter to congratulate himself everytime the likes of Pfizer knocks a few cents off boner pills.
There’s a solution and it’s been utilized by others before us. We live in too rich of a land, for people with serious physical and mental health issues to feel like they can’t afford to go see a doctor or at least go talk to someone. Our own citizens are afraid to call an ambulance for themselves during serious emergencies, out of fear of what it may cost them. Don’t tell me that’s not true because I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, as my own Mother was one of them. I guess I just fail to see the greatness in Americans needlessly suffering and dying from easily treatable medical conditions.