If I Had a Million Dollars… »« Religion and Mortality

How Can You Help?

I’ve had many people ask how they can help in my recovery from open heart surgery. First, you’ve already helped just by caring about me and being part of this community. So thanks for that. About 20 years ago, my stepdad had a quadruple bypass and my mother sat in the waiting room with the wife of another patient having the same surgery. The other couple had no insurance, while my parents had excellent insurance. With nearly a million dollars in costs associated with the heart problem, they paid less than $10,000 out of pocket. She wondered what on earth the other couple would do to pay such a huge bill.

The good news is that I have health insurance, which I pay on a COBRA from my job with AINN (it runs out in six months and I’ll have to get my own insurance, which thankfully can’t be denied anymore because of the preexisting condition). But I’m still going to have some significant out-of-pocket expenses and loss of income during the recovery period (it’s going to be a couple months before I’m really back to normal). So you can certainly help out financially if you have the means to do so and it would be greatly appreciated. You can donate through Paypal (if neither of these work below, just go to Paypal.com and the email address is stcynic@gmail.com):





Or if you’d like to subscribe to my blog and help out that way (I know, you get it for free anyway, right?), you can do that here:





Any help would certainly be appreciated, but it’s hardly necessary. More than anything, I thank my readers for sticking with me for more than nine years now and helping build this amazing community around the blog.

Comments

  1. ezery says

    I cannot help to wonder at this fondness for begging that Americans always do when hit by adversity, and at the same time, say that the US is the greatest country in the world.

    Not Ed particularly, just a general observation

  2. Artor says

    I’ll pray for you Ed. To the Flying Spaghetti Monster that is. I hope you recover quickly and are soon able to dig into a big plate of His Noodly Goodness smothered in rich, tasty sauce & ginormous meatballs. And thanks to the doctors who sacrificed years of their lives in grueling medical school specifically so they could help save people in exactly your position- my sister is one of those people, (not specifically on your team) so I’m aware of what it takes to learn those particular skills.

    Ezery, I don’t think Americans are fond of begging, but without an adequate safety net, many are forced to do that or lose everything. Yeah, I’m aware of the irony that “the Greatest Country on the face of the Earth, EVAR,” can’t take care of it’s own. It’s sad & shameful. I hope we can change that soon and catch up with the rest of civilization.

  3. jufulu says

    ezery @1: But begging is the way to do it. Don’t you know that charity is the way to support those who can’t afford (denied) medical care. After all you don’t want the guv’ment helping you do you. That would create a nanny state or sumpten. God wants it that way, it’s in the Bible.

  4. Olav says

    Ed:

    my parents had excellent insurance. […] they paid less than $10,000 out of pocket.

    Astounding what Americans would call “excellent insurance”, if they still have to pay something in the neighbourhood of $10,000 for medical treatment.

  5. jonrowe says

    I haven’t studied this nation’s health care dynamic in detail. But the way I understand it, you get the operation that cost a million bucks and you don’t pay what you don’t have. That probably means a bankruptcy to best protect your assets.

  6. Ichthyic says

    I had a very serious illness during my first year in New Zealand, long before I was covered under the NHS, and one interesting thing I noticed (having had to have 2 hospital visits and 2 surgeries in less than a month), was that the OVERALL costs of medical care and treatment here are WAY cheaper than in the US.

    In fact, prices range from 30% less for most emergency medicines, to 70% less for hospital stays and surgery itself!

    I’ve had surgery in the states, and of course so had my family members at one point or another, and I recall even 10 years ago, something as simple as a gallbladder surgery and overnight stay in the hospital cost around 15 grand. My pop’s aneurism surgery? 60 grand (and that was 25 years ago – mostly covered by insurance).

    my TWO surgeries, two emergency room visits, and total of 8 days in the hospital here in NZ?

    11 grand.

    no kidding.

    now, this is a country that is an isolated island, where EVERYTHING is typically expensive. So the base costs for medical supplies is actually HIGHER than it is in the States. This is a country that has completely socialized medicine.

    and yet…

    My guess, just based on the conversations I’ve had with medical practitioners here, is that the privatization of medicine is what is causing the huge cost increases in the States, as everyone and their grandmother decides to become middlemen in distributing medical supplies and services, and each step ups the price to the consumer (including the hospitals!).

    that, if the US had decided to socialize their system completely decades ago, it actually would in the end have cost each consumer far LESS than it does now.

    I’m curious if anyone else familiar with the system in the UK and that has spent time in the US has noticed similar differences?

  7. leni says

    Wow, Ezery. That was just slightly rude. I’m thinking specifically about all the people I know who lost jobs in recent years and had to “beg” for help because they didn’t have things like health insurance and because unemployment provides funds lower than the poverty line in most places. Me for example. If I hadn’t asked for help, I’d probably be homeless right now. And I was luckier than a lot of other people. Of course I wouldn’t call America the greatest country on earth, but still. Rude.

    Anyway Ed, I’m so relieved to hear you have insurance. Will happily contribute next month!

  8. joachim says

    Gawd Damn, I am sick of the well known atheist getting handouts while the rest of us make do.

    Call Obama.

    He has plenty of Obama Money.

    He will take care of you.

  9. says

    The callousness being displayed is why religion is still such a force in the world and will continue to be. They still do better than atheists at helping the needy.

    I also notice that those being jerks aren’t willing to put their name next to their comment. How typical.

  10. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    joachim:
    This is not the time for whatever issue you have. People have expressed a desire to financially asdist Ed and he has stated it is not necessary, but if people want to it is appreciated. Your callousness and insensitivity are completely out of line. How can you care so little for others?

  11. joachim says

    I do care for others.

    I am sick of the well know getting special favors, though.

    What? You don’t think Obama will take care of Ed?

  12. cholten99 says

    Subscription ahoy. Nice to give something back as have been reading Ed’s stuff from over here in the UK since the pre-Science-Blogs days.

    Really does bring home what I heard someone quote recently that for something similar inn the Communist UK you’d never have to read a single form, never mind pay a penny.

    Nice to see that things never change here in the comments and even right next to Xmas there’s still folks just full of that good ol’ fashioned bile. I hope they’re never I’ll and have to rely on “Obama money” or help from a friend to get better.

    Get better soon Ed.

  13. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    I’ve sent you a little something Ed, I hope it helps and that you get well soon. And that the US get access to proper health care and social security (though that one is more long term).

    Likely cost of open heart surgery for me: Approximately 20$ (minus the full sick pay I would get for one year or until I could work again).

  14. adobo says

    Ed, I like you to know that I have been reading your blog and the rest of the other blogs in Freethought for as long as I can remember starting with Pharyngula. I thank you for that. I hope that by subscribing today I will get to enjoy you and the others blogs for a lot more years to come.

  15. Brian Wolfe says

    Done and done. Subscription so that this doesn’t have to be a monthly request post. :)

    I spent 7 years without insurance. Thankfully I never had anything nasty until after I got on insurance. My luck ran out finally and had a trip 1.5 years ago for dehydration was a couple grand. Even with insurance.

  16. Brian Wolfe says

    Joachim, it would be nice if he did. But he won’t. We don’t have universal health care here. Yet. Maybe one day that will change despite the snide “i got mine jack” attitudes of teabaggers and no one will have to make this kind of call for help ever again.

  17. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    I spent 7 years without insurance. Thankfully I never had anything nasty until after I got on insurance. My luck ran out finally and had a trip 1.5 years ago for dehydration was a couple grand. Even with insurance.

    For dehydration? Isn’t that treated with a salt and water IV?

  18. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Small donation sent. (I’m semi-retired, but I’ve just received an unexpected tax rebate.)

  19. Sastra says

    joachim #11 wrote:

    Gawd Damn, I am sick of the well known atheist getting handouts while the rest of us make do.

    It’s not that Ed is “well known” — i.e. famous. It’s that we all know him well. You don’t necessarily have to meet in person to feel that way.

    Friends often help out, if they can. I assume your friends would help you, if they could. Given certain assumptions, of course.

  20. didgen says

    Can’t do it today, but will subscribe next week. I’ve been reading and enjoying ftb for over a year, as I suspect many have I have not contributed. I’m sure that if all those that read and could contribute did then Mr. Brayton would not need help. Are people actually arguing that if you are well known you are somehow less worthy of assistance from others?

  21. says

    Paypal is not accepting my debit card number. I’ll keep trying.
    I’m on Social Security Disability and I am eligible for Medicare and MediCal. They usually pay for almost everything. I had heart attack ten years ago and I was billed for $100. I told the hospital, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, that I couldn’t afford to pay it and they cancelled the charge. I was lucky. A few years ago my primary care physician decided to drop Medicare and MediCal. He made the change in January of that year but didn’t tell me about it until June. Then he sent me a bill for $2,800 which I refused to pay. It’s probably still on my credit report.
    The flip side of that is trying to live in Los Angeles on $14, 000 a year. Even with prescription coverage I still pay $2,000 a year in out-of-pocket prescription costs. Something has to be done with our health-care system

  22. Ichthyic says

    Paypal is not accepting my debit card number.

    I’m having the same problem, using direct credit card.

    I *think* I recall seeing paypal make an announcement a while back (over a year ago?) that they no longer process credit cards without having an account with them?

    I’ll try logging in to paypal and see if that works.

  23. says

    Ed, best of luck with your recovery. Sending you a small Xmas donation.

    On the public health isssue: yes, of course public is cheaper. It is in Australia, too. We have a major centralised bargaining scheme and get drugs at a lower rate. If you run a hospital, you don’t have to pay middlemen to wrangle insurance companies; you don’t have to jack up costs enormously for the ones that will pay to cover the ones that can’t. People aren’t constantly suing for malpractice because that’s the only way they can cover the costs.

  24. Ichthyic says

    confirmed: did not work for me using credit card directly, worked perfectly if I logged into my paypal account instead.

  25. Ichthyic says

    Alethea:

    check. that was the gist of what I was hearing were the reasons here in Hobbiton as well.

  26. Gnumann+, something borrowed, something gnu... says

    I *think* I recall seeing paypal make an announcement a while back (over a year ago?) that they no longer process credit cards without having an account with them?

    I did not log in, though I used a cc that’s been used previously with PayPal.

  27. mb says

    ezery and joachim a couple of dicks trolling together…
     
    Ichthyic the US has the most expensive health care in the world but we don’t get what we pay for.
     
    Also, if you negotiate with hospitals and pay cash you can pay pennies on the dollar compared to what they’ll charge if you use health insurance or do not negotiate.
     
    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/27/business/la-fi-medical-prices-20120527
     

    That disparity in pricing is coming under fire from people like Snyder, who say it’s unfair for patients who pay hefty insurance premiums and deductibles to be penalized with higher rates for treatment.

    The difference in price can be stunning. Los Alamitos Medical Center, for instance, lists a CT scan of the abdomen on a state website for $4,423. Blue Shield says its negotiated rate at the hospital is about $2,400.

    When The Times called for a cash price, the hospital said it was $250.

    “It frustrates people because there’s no correlation between what things cost and what is charged,” said Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, a research arm of the accounting firm.

  28. Gnumann+, something borrowed, something gnu... says

    ezery and joachim a couple of dicks trolling together…

    I’m a not to regular guest in Ed’s comment fields, so I don’t know the comme-il-faut, but personally I would love if you took the time and energy to find som other words to describe the cretins. There are several good reason why you shouldn’t use words for people’s sex organs as insults.

  29. cry4turtles says

    mb, I read an article in the Christian Science Monitor that reviewed numerous studies and the overwhelming conclusion was that medical costs in America are high because doctors charge more here than anywhere else. So simple, yet so elusive.

  30. Ichthyic says

    When The Times called for a cash price, the hospital said it was $250.

    *chokes*

    ack!

    man, that’s uh, quite the markup to go from 250.00 to 4400.00!

  31. Ichthyic says

    … I wonder if part of the reason hospitals charge so much to insurance companies, is to cover losses from people who can’t afford to pay for treatment at all?

  32. says

    “I would love if you took the time and energy to find som other words to describe the cretins. There are several good reason why you shouldn’t use words for people’s sex organs as insults.”

    I think that you wil find, if you stay on, that the term used was not nearly as ugly as some others used when people refer to trolls. There is a rotation of sorts.

  33. Burp Ie says

    This is my first read almost every day. More than happy to kick in some dollars (Canadian). Which link is it that I use, or is it the email addy?

  34. Burp Ie says

    I could use a PO box as well. Paypal won’t let me use my CC, or rather, only makes it half way without allowing me to select the card after all the information to that point is added.

  35. StevoR, fallible human being says

    Best wishes to you and yours Ed Brayton. Get well soon and smoothly and happily I hope,

    Oh and happy solstice and associated holidays and clear skies for the New Year too!

  36. Gnumann+, something borrowed, something gnu... says

    I think that you wil find, if you stay on, that the term used was not nearly as ugly as some others used when people refer to trolls. There is a rotation of sorts.

    I have no problems with the vilest insults imaginable, however gendered, sexual-based insults perpetuates both patriarchy and sex-negative attitudes. And if you exclude the collateral damage, it’s not even a good insult.

  37. says

    Yeah, funny how when someone is knowned and appreciated for what he does, people want to help him through a struggle.

    I regret that I can’t really help. No insurance myself. But you’d have to be an enormous tool to begrudge someone receiving help people chose to give.

  38. says

    “I have no problems with the vilest insults imaginable”

    Demonstrably untrue.

    I have a visceral reaction to liars like Joachim. Calling him a fucking liar, a douchebag, a cowardly piece of shit, a relligibot fuckwad–yeah, those all work for me. So does any reference to male/unisexual anatomy. It’s alright if you don’t like it, I support your right to not like it–if what works for me is unacceptable to you when the insult is decidedly not being used as someone’s way of denigrating the insultee’s sexuality or gender, you may choose to ignore it–or your could always call me a dick.

  39. John Phillips, FCD says

    Ichthyic, no problem using a CC as a guest payee from the UK. Maybe it’s country related.

    Hope you make a full recovery Ed.

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