Saturday, May 19, 2012

Observations from the Window 5.19

I don't know if I ever wrote about healthcare before, it's a sometimes touchy subject for me. My basic thought is that in a country supposedly as rich as this one nobody should be denied the best care for economic reasons. If we can afford the ability to kill in a historically unknown scale we should be able to take care of those in need. One shouldn't be forced to settle for lesser care because their insurance tier doesn't cover a treatment or drug. In 2009 a Harvard Medical School study said 45,000 deaths a year are directly related to lack of health insurance or approximately the same number as smoking kills. Think about that.

I bring up healthcare now because a good friend of the family recently became ill. She is far from poor but her story still tells something about healthcare in this country. I'll make it a brief story. Over a month ago she began having pain in her side and started weeks of seeing various doctors, receiving various diagnosis, and getting various treatments. The pain continued to worsen and finally her frustrated OBGYN scheduled her for an mri because our friend is highly allergic to the dye used in a ct scan. On the morning of the test she received a call from the doctor's nurse informing her that the hospital's radiologist had cancelled the test. He didn't know a thing about her or her case but cancelled it because, as health insurance raises its ugly head, there are procedures to follow and a ct scan must be performed before an mri. It didn't seem to matter that the test could worsen the problem.

Now totally exasperated and unable to eat much she went to the hospital's emergency room with a friend. At one point she was asked why she came to emergency with a stomach ache, had I been there this is the point in the story where a nurse gets slapped, but than I wasn't. After a day of tests it was discovered she had a growth in her abdomen and surgery is scheduled for this week. She has been in the hospital since than but the insurance company wont pay for her to remain there till the surgery. She has to go home, deal with life's other problems, and be re-admitted that morning.

A thought came to me yesterday, maybe I had seen it somewhere before, maybe not. If we have to live and die with health insurance companies why not just make them non-profits? Why should medical decisions be made based on the profit line? Why should a few individuals make millions running these companies when so many Americans go without healthcare?

In the end history may judge this rich nation on how it treated its poorest citizens when they needed it most.

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