Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Health Care Stories: New Orleans, LA

Cliff does the math and sees why a public health insurance option might just add up.

I don’t know all the details about the health care debate going on right now. I only know a little about health care based on real life situations.

I know that when I got laid off and received my COBRA statement in the mail I was floored by the cost of one employee policy. When I saw how much that insurance was and multiplied it by 1,000 employees, it totally made sense why companies try to hire temps and part-time workers instead of full-time employees. Trying to pay for health care packages has to cripple a company if there aren’t great profits coming in.

If you have a family of four and have everyone covered under your package, even if you got a 5 percent raise each year, the increase in your deductions would eliminate it. That’s why families find loopholes to put the kids on the government plan and hope they don’t get sick themselves. The other choice for the employer is to change the package to a cheaper one that is easy on them and the employees but when you do that you end up with a plan that doesn’t pay for anything above two aspirins or the closest doctor on the plan is 50 miles away.

I know that if you have three kids and all of them get sick with the same illness that can cripple your household budget if they have to go to the pediatrician. When you add up the co-pays for each visit, plus the cost of prescriptions (because pediatricians love writing prescriptions) and factor in the return visit for one or two of them, that’s about 200 dollars minimum coming out of your household budget.

The backwards part is this scenario describes what happens to be a person who works everyday and pays for insurance. I know when I am sitting in the clinic about to drop my gas and lunch money on an ear infection I wish I had a Medicaid card.

Even though everything I just talked about happens to millions of people everyday no matter what ideology they believe in, some folks feel more patriotic because they pay for these benefit packages that are draining them and the country they work for and don’t complain about it. There are too many people getting sick and can’t afford it or whose company is suffering trying to keep up with the cost of their benefits. I think the public option might be the way to go even if it’s just to give the HMOs a reason to compromise on their prices. If we don’t do that, then they have to get some kind of tax break or something to get them to bring some of those prices down. If we don’t do anything at all we might as well get used to more layoffs and an increase in home remedies.

Clifton Harris
New Orleans, LA

This post originally appeared on Cliff’s blog, Cliff’s Crib.

Send your stories to bootynovelbill-at-gmail.com.

1 comment:

Utah Savage said...

Nicely done. You have just laid out the reason it is IMPERATIVE that we have a public option. Nothing, no nothing will keep the insurance companies honest. But at least a public option will give those with no healthcare and a preexisting condition or mental health issue some relief from the exorbitant cost of doctors visits and prescription drug costs. If you have an illness like bipolar disorder you are uninsurable. You must see a psychiatrist for your prescriptions and those prescriptions are pricy. I used to have to pay $1,000 a month for my bipolar drugs and that was five years ago. I'm sure they're even more expensive now. Luckily I was able to get on medicare as a disabled person, so now my drugs are about $50. a month.