I started the process of arranging a consultation with a surgical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
I'm at the stage where my records are being faxed to him, and presumably he'll make a preliminary evaluation before proceeding. He'll be gone for a month beginning Friday, so I may not get to speak to him for a while.
In any event, neither he nor the hospital accept my health insurance. Luckily, I have out-of-network benefits, which should cover 80 percent of the cost of the consultation and whatever surgical option he may recommend, if I get to see him before this insurance plan ends.
Complicating things is my employer's decision to drop the health coverage I now have, and provide a similar plan through a different carrier. Three carriers had contracts with the newspaper, but now we'll have just one choice: Aetna.
Makes little difference, though, because Sloan-Kettering doesn't accept Aetna, either. I'll still have out-of-network benefits, but at a rate 10 percent less than what I was getting.
I think it's unconscionable that getting sick in the United States carries with it what amounts to a penalty. That is, unless you're wealthy.
Altruism and the sharing of one's bounty are commendable, but it seems to me that instead of spending billions on countries and regimes that could care less about us, part of that money should be spent on solving problems here at home. I think the health-care situation is near the top of that list.
What's that saying about charity beginning at home?
OK, I'm off my soapbox.