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Just Whose Problem Is This? June 24, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Politics, random stuff.
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So there I was, driving to work.

On Tuesday mornings, my radio station features its “medical expert” – he’s on for about 5 or 10 minutes or so, and he talks about  “current medical news” – clinical trials, health care, new medical studies, that sort of thing.

Apparently they’re finding that miniscule exposure to peanuts (we’re talking microscopic) may help immunize allergic kids. . . cool.  8)

Did you hear, a while back, about how women were less likely to have their regular mammograms if there was even a small copay involved?

Seriously? 😯

You’re telling me that it’s unreasonable to expect to pay $25 (or even $12) to get screened so potential cancer – AND DEATH – can be caught and stopped?  You’re rather just take your chances with The Big C than pay the equivalent of breakfast in the corner diner?  😯

So what’s the answer?  Isn’t it obvious?  We’ll just eliminate the copay.  Free mammograms for everyone!  🙄

Well, except the guys, I guess.   Sorry guys.  😳

Type II diabetes.  That’s the kind of diabetes that is pretty much completely preventable – you’re not born with it.  It’s your choices that cause it.  Pretty simple, huh?

We’re pretty much de facto on the way to socialized medicine.  There’s not much we can do about it.  Call it what you will, the government is going to raise MY taxes, and make ME pay because Suzie Pink Ribbon doesn’t want to pay $25 for a mammogram or Joe Fat Ass won’t step away from the Coke and potato chips and get a job and pay for his own gym membership.

(Yes, I know, I simplify.  But my point today isn’t about the evils of socialism, so just hold your cards and letters.)

Here’s where the “medical expert” comes in.   He’s talking about “government incentives” for healthy behaviors. . . and how maybe the government should put in place some “negative incentives” for unhealthy choices, you know, the way they did with tobacco. . . 👿

I don’t know.  I mean, if the government were to , oh, I don’t know NOT PICK UP THE TAB for every bad choice I made, if maybe, oh, say, instead of a $25 mammogram, I had to undergo chemo treatments, don’t you suppose I might take the mammogram a little more seriously?  😯

Suppose I had to buy the little blood-pricking test thing, or pay for my own medication, do you think maybe, just maybe, I’d consider a healthier diet and perhaps a little exercise on the side?

If I knew that Death was on the line, do you suppose I might take my health a little more seriously?

Don’t get me wrong.  I guess I”m fortunate – I have a job, and my job provides health insurance.  My last job didn’t pay for it, but it was available to me, and I paid for it.   It’s been a lot of years since I was uninsured, and I’m glad I’m not now.

But don’t you suppose that a lot of our “health care crisis” could be resolved if we, as the ultimate beneficiaries, took a more active (or at least less sedentary) role in our own health?

And really, if the government just can’t resist “throwing money” at the problem, what if, instead of subsidizing an already “broken” system, say they helped make milk and juice and healthy foods more affordable for people?

Imagine it . . . instead of soda and chips, the poor among us snacking on juice and crudités?

And in the meantime, what’s wrong with risk-based health coverage?  You know what I mean – if you want to be 100 pounds overweight, smoke like a chimney and drive a motorcycle, shouldn’t your health insurance cost you more than, say, someone who doesn’t smoke, follows the speed limit and eats brown rice and salmon?

Why should I have to pay for it?

And don’t you think Not Dying be incentive enough for the fat motorcycle Marlboro Man to re-think some of his choices?

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Comments

1. Mazco34 - June 24, 2009

Risk based insurance – car insurance works that way and no one is complaining?

Well ask that smooth talking huband what a New Jersey resident thinks about car insurance?

We pay more for that than we do health insurance. And at least the health insurance is deductible.

Toy Lady - June 24, 2009

Now I didn’t say no one was complaining. . . but I don’t hear much about the uninsured car crisis in this country either.

They talk about “fair” this and “fair” that – I just say – how is it “fair” that I cook healthy food from scratch, exercise, taught my kid to like vegetables and haven’t had a soda pass my lips – diet or otherwise – in decades, and I’m being charged – a lot! – to pay for some slob who lives on chips, cigarettes and beer to have his bypass or some kid whose mint-chocolate-chip-addicted mom lets him sit in front of the Playstation playing Grand Theft Auto and drinking Coke and eating Twinkies and suddenly (shocker!) is diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes at 12. If they want to make those choices, that’s their right. But they need to pay for them, not me.

There needs to be a better solution than “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Personally, I don’t want some Heath Care Czar in Washington to make health care decisions for me.

You know, Canadians who can afford it come here for health care, and Americans who can afford it go to India . . . where there’s even less regulation. Interesting, no?

I just think that the best way the government can fix most things is to leave them the hell alone and let them fix themselves.

Toy Lady - June 25, 2009

Oh, Anne, how much do I suck?

I accidentally deleted your comment when I meant to reply. 😥

My day starts too early. . . (NOTE TO SELF: No more replying to comments before 5 AM.)

I have no problem with motorcycles! I learned to drive a stick shift on a dirt bike! I love riding, though I haven’t been in too many years. And I wouldn’t even call it a vice – live to ride, right? 😉

As for not wanting monitoring our eating habits, I don’t want Big Brother monitoring ANYTHING I do – especially what kind of rice I eat. 😯

But there’s that BMI thing and your annual physical – suppose your INSURANCE COMPANY (NOT the government) used its power of . . . persuasion to require a regular physical. No physical, no coverage, or higher rates, or something. Height, weight, blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, all that stuff that’s supposed to tell us how close to death we are, coupled with family history, throw in a couple of actuaries. . . life insurance companies do it, why not take it a step further and let insurance companies do what they do best?

2. origamifreak - June 24, 2009

I just have a problem with using salmon as an example of a healthy food item – compared with a lot of other fish, it’s loaded with fat.

😉

Just sayin’

Toy Lady - June 25, 2009

Hey, OF, how are you?

Sure salmon has a lot of fat, but it’s a GOOD fat, remember? 😉

And fat or no, it’s still a whole lot better for you than, say Oscar Mayer. Or even Nathan’s. . .

origamifreak - June 25, 2009

Hehe. I was thinking about how salmon is a better alternative to hot dogs right after I hit “send.”

It’s about the only thing I could really argue with in your post.
🙂

I have a post that will show up at lunchtime where I discuss a conversation I recently had with someone who seems to be managing his health in a half-hearted way.

For the record, I do know about the “good” fats – I just happen to eat them in the form of supplements – which in some ways can be argued as *less* healthy than eating them in their natural, fishy state. 😉

Toy Lady - June 25, 2009

I know you do – I’m sure you put far more effort into managing your diet and your health than I do . . . more and more, I lean toward a “life’s too short” sort of lifestyle – that, and “moderation in all things, INCLUDING moderation.” 😉

I was just having a conversation this morning about ice cream – someone called me a “snob” (I know, ME?) and I told her – I try to limit foods like ice cream and cookies and, oh, chocolate cake, you know. . . so when I do have it, I want to make darn good and sure that the small portion is worth it!

origamifreak - June 25, 2009

Yes, exactly about deciding what I’m spending on calories on.

I’ve been waiting for the local soft serve place to have pineapple Dole whip. They’ve had raspberry and strawberry so far, but not pineapple.

A coworker reported on the strawberry today and I said “no thanks, I’m waiting for the pineapple.” She said, “for goodness sake, it’s all the same!” And I said, “It is not. The pineapple is the best flavor and I only have so many calories I’m spending per day, so if I can’t have the Dole whip I WANT, then I’m not having any at all!”

She rolled her eyes and laughed at me. She’s also one of the first ones who got on me about my health by trying to scare me with stories of diabetes amputation. LOL She says she created a monster. 😉

About the other thing, yeah, life is short. But mine was going to be Considerably Shorter if I didn’t start doing something about it. I’m still very overweight (actually obese, technically). I’m right now just about where you were, when you STARTED. 😮 (About 89 to get rid of.) So things were Dire. Fortunately they’re Less Dire now. But I won’t relax until I’m within 20 lbs of goal. There’s just too much riding on it. (Quality of life, mobility, longevity, etc.)

Toy Lady - June 26, 2009

I had actually never heard of Dole whip . . . and I googled it, and yeah, I can see holding out for the pineapple! I have been LOVING my pineapple lately in my smoothies and with cottage cheese.

Quality of life is what it’s about – that, and trade-offs. When my weight started causing more problems (or the potential for those problems was greater) than the enjoyment of, what? being careless? then it became time for me to do something about it.

I’m putting that clumsily, I know.

In the past year, I’ve only lost about 40 pounds – my initial intention was to have lost about twice that by now. And I certainly could have – if I were willing to become a slave to a lifestyle that, to me, isn’t worth it. I don’t LIKE working out, I don’t WANT to give up the foods I love – moderation.

I’m walking and gardening and getting much more exercise than I used to – and enjoying it. I’m eating healthier foods than I used to, and I’m enjoying what I do eat more. And I’m gradually losing the weight I need to.

I guess I’m like the turtle . . . slow and steady. 😉

3. Aldyth - June 26, 2009

While I agree that American adults create a lot of their own health problems through poor choices about diet and exercise, the point of health care reform is that far too many people simply can’t afford to access health care.

I work in a human services agency that provides services to people with disabilities. A lot of my staff are high school graduates who feed and toilet the least able in our society. My staff aren’t really paid a living wage, because a buck or two over minimum wage won’t do it. But, given the funding we receive from the state, it is all we can pay. So let’s say that one of my staff makes $18,000 a year.

For about $30 a month, they get health insurance. With a $20 copay for an office visit and a $600 deductable. Generic meds cost $20 for a 3 month supply, but name brand is $80 for 3 months. My share on my last blood test was $400.

That deductable alone is half a month’s salary for my staff. Lipitor would cost that same staff person $320 for a year’s supply. Just one health problem like high cholesterol can cost my staff 5% of their annual salary. A poverty level salary.

That’s why health care reform is needed. My staff have health insurance. They can’t afford to use it.

Toy Lady - June 26, 2009

I understand what you’re saying completely – and I do agree that some sort of reform is desperately needed. I have two prescriptions that I take every day (and probably will for the rest of my life), and I pay a hefty copay ($10 and $40 a month, respectively), which is more than enough for me.

Prevention is all well and good, but you can’t mandate it (though they’re trying), and while it may help at some future date, it doesn’t solve today’s problems, does it? The problem, as I see it (and granted, I don’t work in a medical profession), is that the problem has been left to grow – it’s gotten to a point now where there is no easy answer. It’s a big tangled mess, along with so much else, that we’ve got to be willing to make some sacrifices.

My largest concern, though, is handing these problems over to the government to solve. It just seems to me that LESS government, rather than MORE, might be an option worth considering. I do realize the health care isn’t exactly the same as any other “market” – but, very much like education, the more money the government throws at it, the greater the need becomes. We can look around and see how government-managed ANYTHING works – look at Medicare. Social Security. The Motor Vehicle Department. The Post Office. The IRS. Congress, for pity’s sake. If this is they way they propose to manage MY health, then, well, I just think there must be a better way, that’s all.


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