I was just reading All & Sundry’s latest post where she talks about Michael Moore’s “Sicko”. I haven’t seen it yet as I don’t think it was a big draw at the drive-in this summer and if it wasn’t playing at the drive-in, I didn’t see it (welcome to having small children!). I’ve seen his other movies though and they always incite strong opinions, one way or the other. They’re rarely enjoyable movies, regardless if you agree or disagree with their message. It’s hard to enjoy something that so often succeeds in stirring you to violence, am I right?
At any rate, the topic of health insurance is what I’m getting at here (couldn’t tell could you?). We’ve had both, in our nearly ten years of marriage. When we were first married, and Kile got his job at the university, we chose an HMO plan (we had our choice too, of several HMOs as well as PPOs) that we felt would cover us best. And boy howdy, did it ever! My office visits were only $5 each visit, as were prescriptions. I could go to any hospital in the area I wanted and I chose St. Marys downtown as it is generally viewed as a bit nicer in the maternity department. When Harry made his entrance and required a c-section and the NICU and everything else, we didn’t even see a BILL. Not even a hint of a bill.
Shortly after, however, was 2000 and you have to admit, the economy started taking a bit of a slide. And in that slide, the HMO option for Northern Nevada went. Southern Nevada still had an HMO, but we were forced into a self-funded PPO. Better than nothing, for sure. Office visits were $15, with prescriptions at least that (often more). Washoe (totally not even called Washoe anymore but anyone who lives around here still calls it that) was our hospital, and while it’s a good place, it’s a little less “nice” in some areas. Of course, this was when I was trying to get pregnant, going to infertility specialists, getting my hypothyroid treated, pregnant and delivering Jackson, breaking my ankle, Harry needed surgery, I got pregnant AGAIN and then miscarried and then, at last, pregnant again with Liam. Months from his due date, we switched to an HMO yet again. They had started offering one again in Northern Nevada, and we had been reluctant to join it for a while since our infertility specialist did not take that particular insurance and we had heard poor things about it. However, the company had since beefed up their act and it didn’t appear we would need the infertility specialist any longer and having an HMO covered delivery would be nice.
This HMO was not as nice, not nearly as nice,as the first one we had had. But it made that PPO we had look like Third World Health Care by comparison. Which, you know, it was. It was deplorable. At least now, we had a copay for the hospital and the rest was taken care of for Liam’s delivery. My office visits are $20 for a primary care physician, $40 for specialists. However, the good news is that for prenatal care, we only need to pay the copay the first visit and all other visits are free of charge (of course, someone needs to remind my OB’s office of this as they have charged me the last two visits). Never again do I want to be without an HMO. And I know there are so many people out there, SO MANY, who would be thrilled with the HMO we have. Shoot, there are probably many people who would be thrilled with that POS PPO we had. Because at least it paid SOMETHING.
I know socialized healthcare is a hot-button issue and there are a lot of people who are four-square against it. But I think there have been a lot of misunderstandings about it. A lot of people say that if we had socialized healthcare, we would have to wait months upon months for treatment. That there would be enormous waits at the doctors office. That our taxes would skyrocket to phenomenal proportions. I don’t know about the first two things, I’m hardly an expert on the subject, but the third just makes me want to bang my head into a wall. Of course higher taxes outrage some people. After all, if they had to pay higher taxes, how could they afford their enormous gas guzzling monster SUVs (or the gas to fuel them)? How could they purchase HDTV plasma screen televisions? How could they spend thousands of dollars on themselves in the interest of pure materialism?
This is a pretty selfish society we live in. We want to spend the money on the things want to spend it on. Not the betterment of our society and those around us, but on ourselves and the things we can buy to make ourselves feel more important. It makes me sick, frankly. And as Linda said over at All & Sundry, I think basic healthcare should be a RIGHT, not a privilege.