Feb 14 2012

A simple cold

Last Sunday morning, I woke up with a sharp pain in the back of my nasal passages, as though I’d somehow gotten a grain of sand or something stuck there. I thought it would pass, and it sort of did—by becoming a full-blown sore throat and swollen glands and let’s-just-make-life-a-bit-more-miserable-overall. No biggie, I’ve had head colds before. But this one is slightly different. I just changed jobs, and that means I have no health insurance for the next 3 months. My old company was too small to qualify me for COBRA benefits and my new company has a 3-month break-in period or whatever they call it.

And that’s it. I’m a professional, I make a good salary, I work hard. And I’ve got no health insurance, for myself or my family.

Like I said, it’s just a head cold. I’ve had them before and they never bothered me. But I had insurance then. If they got worse, I went to the doctor. Last time my wife had a bad cough, she went to the doctor and found out she had pneumonia. Me, I’m trying to eat healthy, drink fluids, and get lots of rest, because I don’t have anything else right now. And some people raise kids under these conditions? Something is seriously wrong when a first-world country like the USA can’t even provide decent health care coverage to its citizens.


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  1. 1

    Something IS seriously wrong. A friend of mine with full medical coverage last week had to sell some of her possessions to raise money for cancer treatment–which they wouldn’t perform until her part of the bill was paid up-front.

    Like the people in Sicko–she HAS insurance. This isn’t having a wart removed, this is radiation therapy.

    So mad about it I can spit.

  2. 2
    'Tis Himself

    Obama and Congress got the Insurance Company CEO Full Employment Act, aka Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed and signed.

  3. 3

    And parts of that will be helping her in coming years. Parts are helping me now.

  4. 4

    As a Briton, born and raised under Nye Bevan’s National Health Service, I find it inconceivable that you don’t have something similar in the USA. Looking after the health of citizens should be the #

  5. 5

    Get well soon! Or, at least, get yourself saved. ;)

  6. 6

    As a Briton, born and raised under Nye Bevan’s National Health Service, I find it inconceivable that you don’t have anything similar in the USA. Looking after the health of every citizen, irrespective of their ability to pay, should be the #1 priority job for the government of any country that dares call itself civilised.

    If you’re not going to implement a full National health Service, at least make it a criminal offence for any working person not to have health insurance, like it’s a criminal offence not to have motor insurance.

    1. 6.1

      That’s the difference between you and us, AJS. We believe that if you can’t afford insurance, you should die. And, maybe, suffer in the process. Pretty straightforward, really.

      1. Brian M

        Heaven forbid a “working person” earning little money (the average wage in the United States has been effectively stagnant for decades)who has to make a choice between paying the rent or eating well and buying some insurance-flavored product not have government mandates, fines, and the like if he or she makes the “wrong” choice.

    2. 6.2

      Mikespeir is correct. It is already an offense – it carries the death penalty.

      For some real world figures:
      I was laid off from a $60K job. Work part time now and receive no aid (Medicare, Medicaid, SS, etc.) of any kind. Income is $1200 net per month.
      I have a brain tumor, and a pre-cancerous condition. All meds and doctor’s visits are out of pocket.
      Last doctor’s visit was $1100. Biopsies were $1200. Medications? One is $984, the other is $879.

      The state high risk pool charges a $370 premium for a $15K deductible. So, $4440 in premiums, plus $15k deductible equals $19,440. Income is $14400. I’m sure I can wait to pay rent and eat until my tax credit comes in.

      Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see one blasted way any of the act is going to help me now or in the future.

  7. 7

    I am going through nearly the same thing here. I am on my wife’s insurance and she recently changed jobs. The old company was too small for COBRA, the new will allow us to be covered in another month. Shortly after the coverage of the old plans benefits ran out I tore the meniscus on my left knee. I can manage the pain, but trying to care for children while hobbling around is difficult. I suppose I should be thankful that when I finally can get treatment I won’t be denied for a pre-existing condition. At least I know that I will eventually get coverage, a hope many Americans are left with out.

  8. 8

    I live in Seattle (and am liberal and atheist). A friend of mine just went to visit Georgia for a gob opportunity. He was stunned by how much random “anti-Obama” stuff came up in normal conversation. Much of it centered around how Obabcare was going to take away their health coverage by introducing rationing. I laugh/cry every time I hear that. Stories like yours and my own back story show that rationing (with the sole goal of increasing profits) is already happening.

  9. 9


    The US is the crank of nations. A crank is a person who understands a few basic concepts so well they think it explains everything. In economics and welfare the Right has apprehended the concept of incentives; the idea that systems can be set up to reward things you want and to punish things you don’t.

    They really want us all to prosper and do well. So … applying their understanding of how they make things work through incentives they propose to reward wealth and power and to make poverty as painful as possible. That way everyone will want to work hard to be wealthy.

    The US healthcare system is ‘incentivised’ to make you want to become wealthy. And isn’t that more important than a few days discomfort and the slight chance an infected sinus will eat into your brain and kill you? Let the memory of your suffering drive your entrepreneurial spirit as you go forth and blaze your trail to prosperity.

  10. 10

    I hope you feel better and it doesn’t progress to anything worse. Hot lemonade makes me feel better. Boiling water, juice of 1/2 a large or a whole small lemon, and a tablespoon of sugar. Booze optional. :)

    1. 10.1

      I hope you feel better and it doesn’t progress to anything worse. Hot lemonade makes me feel better. Boiling water, juice of 1/2 a large or a whole small lemon, and a tablespoon of sugar. Booze optionalmandatory.

      Get well soon.

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