Leslie's Omnibus

Sunday Schedule

Swiped from my Barstool Blog Son, this is indeed my reaction to the iPad:


Okay, okay -- I get the Hypocrite-in-Chief's fascination with the feisty health care activist who died of breast cancer and wants to be "buried" in an Obama tee-shirt. However, I take issue with the "had no health insurance" lie.

(And why the hell does he allude to people he holds up as examples without actually saying their names, dammit? He's certainly quick enough to use "I," "Me" and "My" when alluding to himself as a shining example. I find this irksome, to say the least.)

Anyhow, according to this article, Shouse had opted for a catastrophic healthcare policy with a $5,000 deductible.
When Melanie Shouse began feeling ill, eventually finding a lump in her breast, she couldn't afford a doctor. She and her partner had just used their savings to open a business.
A quick internet search yields the following information regarding catastrophic healthcare insurance:
How much can you afford to pay out of pocket for medical care? If you don’t have the money to afford your high deductible at a moment’s notice, like in the case of a car accident, this insurance isn’t right for you.

How broad do you want your health plan to be? ­Once you meet the deductible, catastrophic insurance will pay for all health care expenses deemed necessary.
... and...
Catastrophic Health Insurance Considerations

The reason you pay generally lower premiums with a high deductible health plan is that the health insurance company knows you'll pay for a larger portion of your costs if you need medical care. You will have to pay out-of-pocket for the majority of medical costs you incur before reaching your annual deductible.
If the sole reason you choose a catastrophic health plan is to save money, you'll need to carefully weigh the benefits against the risks. If you're truly worried about money, will you be able to pay medical expenses until you meet your deductible? For example, if your annual deductible is $4,000 and you have emergency surgery that costs $5,000, you are required to pay $4,000 of that out-of-pocket, assuming you have not yet paid any of your deductible. The remaining $1,000 would be paid by your health insurance. Ask yourself if a lower monthly payment is worth the risk of paying your deductible or a large portion of it all at once.
Should You Get a High Deductible Health Plan?
If you're sure you can cover the deductible and want to save money on the monthly premiums, a high deductible health plan may make sense. If you qualify for an HSA or other tax-exempt medical savings account and can contribute the deductible amount, you may have an easy way to pay your out-of-pocket medical costs while saving on premiums. Most people who consider catastrophic health insurance either are getting their own health insurance for the first time or are nearing retirement. The younger group tends to be less likely to incur medical expenses because they are young and healthy, while the older group tends to have enough money to pay for most medical care unless they experience a serious illness or emergency. Typically, high deductible health plans provide the most benefit to those who don't require frequent prescriptions or office visits.
Shouse was not an uneducated rube who couldn't have found and processed this information easily:
Ms. Shouse grew up in Indiana, graduated from high school in Plano, Texas, and then from Texas A&M University with a major in biology.
In her own words, Ms. Shouse said:
Four years ago, at age 37, I was an entrepreneur struggling to grow my small business, and only able to afford a catastrophic health insurance policy with co-pays and deductibles nearing ten thousand dollars. I had to take the ultimate risk with my health in order to chase the American Dream, like so many small business owners in America today. So when I first felt a small lump, denial seemed the only option available to me. [Snip]

In October 2005, I was forced to admit reality by walking into Siteman Cancer Center for the dreaded diagnosis. But by this time, the cancer had spread throughout my body to bone, lungs and liver. It was now classified as Stage 4 breast cancer, the kind you don't recover from. My chance of survival was pegged at just 13% as a result of the delay in diagnosis and treatment caused by inadequate health coverage.

My worries were not limited to my health, however. I had no savings and no real assets to cover the monumental costs associated with these expensive treatments. And with this prize-winning pre-existing condition, I had no opportunity to seek a better private health plan, as I was now shut out of the market. Having no other choice, I quickly turned to our public Missouri Medicaid program, and within days I received this Medicaid card that would help save my life. Now I could walk into one of the top cancer centers in the world right up the street here and receive top-notch care without having to sell a kidney to cover the insurance deductible!

My treatment commenced post haste, and I am standing here today thanks to the Missouri Medicaid program, and the federal Medicare program for which I became eligible after a two-year waiting period. These efficient and effective public health plans have enabled me to receive some of the best cutting-edge care in the world, equivalent to the coverage our Senators and Congressmen enjoy, without ever having to wait or worry.
So... she chose to invest her entire savings in a risky business venture, knowingly opting for insurance with a high deductible when she knew damned well she couldn't afford the deductible, she neglected to go to the doctor at the first sign that there was a lump in her breast, and, when she finally did get around to getting help, got top-notch treatment, most of which was covered by the state and the federal government.

If she'd gone when she first noticed the lump in her breast, she might have gotten the same government-subsidized coverage, and, maybe, her story would have had an entirely different end. That's a shame.

The problem here is not that she didn't have insurance coverage. She did. The problem is that she refused to get herself help in a timely manner, and then expected to receive every single medical treatment in the world, whether it was worthwhile or not, to be made available to her. By her own admission, she received the same level of coverage as senators and congressmen enjoy, and that still wasn't good enough. What more could she have wanted? A blank check? That's simply not realistic.

Do I wish her ill and am I glad she's gone? Absolutely not.

Do I hope that people considering opening their own business use her as a cautionary tale and carefully weigh the cost of healthcare before gambling with their own life savings? Absolutely.

Should those of us that choose not to take the same calculated risks be responsible for rescuing those that do and fail? I don't think so.

I just received the funniest shipping confirmation of all time:
Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, February 6, 2010.
We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We miss you already. We'll be right here at http://cdbaby.com/, patiently awaiting your return.
CD Baby
The little store with the best new independent music.
http://cdbaby.com cdbaby@cdbaby.com (503)595-3000
(I ordered this, by Patti's daughter. Can't wait to be able to play the whole thing!)

Take the word "Black" out of the title, and this is good advice for anybody.

More later...

No comments: