Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Time for Thanks

I've had plenty of time to think about the things to be thankful for this weekend. My family is just recovering from being very sick the last week (my son peaked with a 105 degree fever last weekend), and we've been spending much time here at home recuperating. It is a joy to be together, even in our sick and mealy state!

Sometimes we become acutely aware of just how much we have, and how fragile the nature of life on this planet really can be. We have health insurance - and were able to take our son to the doctor on Saturday evening, at minimal cost to ourselves. According to a Blue Cross cost sheet, the cost of an average ER visit for my son's virus would have cost around $425-550. The cost of a routine doctor's visit is around $160. I don't know what the costs are, but we also had a chest x-ray and a lab test performed. For most parents, we wouldn't bat an eye at paying the cost, even if we had to charge it. But we had to take him to the doctor THREE times. Agh.

But it got me to thinking about why I support universal health coverage. There are about 45 million uninsured Americans. Many folks have conditions much worse than a serious cold, perhaps chronically. And, I know that I would do anything possible to try to help keep my family healthy. I wonder why people are comfortable with a system that forces people to wait for medical care until they have to the ER, and lets others pay the bill for it - instead of a system that would reward and encourage preventative care. We're taxed either way - whether through increased premiums and costs, or if we just spread the costs evenly among the citizenry.

This story just highlights how inhumane the health insurance industry can be. It's time we took care of our people.

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