Monday, November 28, 2005

The next move

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.


mrsbeach said...

I agree with you, NOW could somebody please inform the head honchos!
I am gonna borrow your soapbox:

Have you noticed that some people treat their pets better than the elderly.
Honcho does not have to worry about medical bills, he gets the best care(no HMO for him), and I bet his drug program pays more than mine.
AND...what about movie stars,with all the save the children crap. I feel for all the children, especially the ones in the USA, plenty of kids in the USA need parents what is wrong with adopting them?
I could go on and on.......

take care

Michael said...

Hello, and great to hear from you, Mrs. Beach!

Yes, people's priorities often mystify.
As for private individuals, what they do with their money is their business. But thank God for philanthropists -- from Bill Gates to the 10-year-old kid who busts open his piggy bank for a cause.
I'll never understand our government's rationale for the way it spends money elsewhere in the world when there's so muuch want and inequity here.
Nobody in this country should want for medical care or prescription drugs. But this gets into another issue, greed, that's a bit more than I can bite off. Hell, where would I start?
I think once the people of this world, from the mighty leaders to the poorest peasants, start realizing that we're all in this shitstorm together, then we can start letting the better angels of our nature come out and play.
Now, what are the chances of that happening?

Ali said...

I like your soapbox...
This year, on my leave of absence, keeping my insurance would cost me over $1000 a month with my baby. I only made $2000 a month as a teacher! So, we found a different option, will pay for Addie's stay in the hospital ourselves, and hope for the best. I spent the first 2 months of her life (before she could be covered) wondering what would happen if all was not well.
But she is a happy and healthy child... so I wonder, what of the others? Middle class quickly feels poor when health issues are involved.

Michael said...

Hello Ali,

Yes, the health-care situation in this country is intolerable. In a country with lesser means and wealth, at least there would be reasons for the way things are. But we have no excuse.