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[cancer|politics] The high cost of living, and conservative opposition to my doing so - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-01-05 05:10
Subject: [cancer|politics] The high cost of living, and conservative opposition to my doing so
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal, politics
I was reviewing my insurance carrier's summary statement of benefits for Q4 of 2012 when I noted that my current course of chemotherapy costs them, after contract adjustments, about $25,000 per session, for a course of twelve treatments. That's $300,000 right there. Not counting the costs of the port surgery last September, the liver resection coming up shortly, the related hospitalization, many sessions of medical imaging, and my ongoing pharmaceutical costs. All which collectively put this round of cancer well over $400,000 at the carrier's cost. Closer to $600,000 in nominal cost.

Without the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) lifting the lifetime spending caps on health insurance, given the costs associated with my last three rounds of cancer, I would be running out of insurance somewhere in the middle of this session when I hit my carrier's old $1,000,000 lifetime spending cap. That was the value of a human life before Obamacare.

If you're a conservative who thinks Obamacare is some kind of socialist plot, at the moment that socialist plot is the only thing keeping me alive. In opposing Obamacare without an equally sensible and humane replacement of some kind, you're telling me in so many words my life is worth less to you than your own political convictions or the profit margins of insurance companies. Given that most conservative opposition to Obamacare is based on blatant untruths that have achieved the status of cherished beliefs on the American Right, for example, Sarah Palin's so-called "Death Panels", you're actually telling me my life is worth less to you than your own self-valorizing paranoid fantasies.

So until conservative America comes up with a better idea, it can fuck the fuck off. I wouldn't wish the cancer hell I'm living on anyone, but people who oppose healthcare reform are wishing for me to be trapped in this hell until death.

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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2013-01-05 13:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I absolutely agree and support this post. I'd like to link this on facebook for my conservative family members. However, I don't think the tone would be very accessible for them. At some point, if you have the energy, if you could write a persuasive "Obamacare saved my life" post for a conservative audience, I would share the hell out of it. (Not to criticize this post in any way. I am totally sympatico, and "fuck the fuck off" may be my new favorite phrase.)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-01-05 13:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually, minus the vituperative last graf, I'm not sure how I'd tone this down much without losing the basic message. "Your patriotic opposition to the threat of liberalism will cost me my life" doesn't sound quite right to me...

But point taken.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2013-01-05 13:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm not criticizing at all, and if you don't feel like recasting it, that's fine. If I shared this exact post with family, it would start a fight. That's just the sad truth. :-(
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Jay Lake: jay-cranky_old_man
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-01-05 13:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:jay-cranky_old_man
Actually, I think you're right, and it's worth doing. I don't feel criticized at all. Just not thinking very well or clearly at the moment, myself, for obvious reasons.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2013-01-05 13:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
hugs
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fjm
User: fjm
Date: 2013-01-05 15:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I had no idea there was a cap.
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mevennen
User: mevennen
Date: 2013-01-05 15:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I knew there was a cap, but not what it was. The trouble with cancer treatment - among other conditions - is that it is incredibly expensive. When C was ill, I enquired about getting a CAT scan done privately (obviously in the UK) as our doctor was reluctant to send him to a specialist and by that time we were beginning to feel that something was seriously wrong; that alone would have cost £900. So a $1 million cap would not necessarily get you all that far. What you are supposed to do after that runs out is, I presume, simply die.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-01-05 16:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes. You simply die, or go out of pocket, which amounts to the same thing unless you have fantastic personal resources.

BTW, CT scans in the US appear to cost US$4,000-5,000 at nominal price. If one were actually paying out of pocket, one could probably secure a cash discount of 10% or more. Compared to £900...
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Skellington
User: skellington1
Date: 2013-01-07 19:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually, if one tries to pay cash out of pocket, you may find that you pay more, because insurance companies bargain down the rates hospitals charge them. And I don't believe it holds true for an expensive procedure like a CT scan, but back when I was without insurance most clinics and general practitioners in my area refused to accept me as a new patient, even with cash-in-hand.

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Dave O'Neill
User: daveon
Date: 2013-01-05 19:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
With the added fun that when you are out of insurance you have to start paying hospital rack rates which are up to 5-6x the insurance rates...
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-01-05 16:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Until Obamacare, most US health insurance policies had a lifetime cap. It's one of the distortions private market insurance introduces into the healthcare equation, in the name of profit stop-loss.
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Terie Garrison
User: teriegarrison
Date: 2013-01-05 16:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm a US citizen over 50 who's lived in the UK for the last 12.5 years. Which is to say that I've lived in both systems for a meaningful number of years. I'm also lucky enough to be extremely healthy. I probably pay close to £5,000 per year more into the NHS than I use. And you know what? I consider it to be a bargain. I know that if, or more likely when, I need more care than I'm paying for, it'll be there. I also am pleased that my current ability to contribute more than I need means all my fellows can get the care they need. I don't plan ever to move back Stateside; healthcare isn't the only reason or even the main one, bit it IS an important one.
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mcjulie
User: mcjulie
Date: 2013-01-05 18:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So incredibly true.

It seems to me that all "conservative" policies in the modern era follow the same basic formula -- they expect other people to pay the real-world price for adherence to an abstract concept that THEY believe in.

They expect gay people, women, poor people, sick people, children -- everyone else is supposed to suffer in order to please their gods, whether those gods are the the free market or their twisted version of the Christian god.

Low taxes and deregulation and other right-leaning economic polices that began with Reagan were supposed to be a means to an end, the end being economic prosperity. Now, for the right, they are the end, considered inherently virtuous even if the result is disaster.

It's human sacrifice, basically, but the truth of that is obscured from them by a lack of immediacy. Most of them wouldn't be willing to toss you into the volcano themselves, but they're certainly ready to turn the other way while the free market does it.
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Debbie N.
User: wild_irises
Date: 2013-01-05 22:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Just to underscore this, I've been watching with horror, amusement and schadenfreude as the Republicans from New York and New Jersey (who voted against Katrina relief) lose their shit at other Republicans (including some from Louisiana and Mississippi) voting against Sandy relief.
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Msconduct
User: msconduct
Date: 2013-01-05 22:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Obamacare may not deliver the perfect healthcare situation quite yet, but with this issue at least it is infusing a massive dose of compassion - and common sense - into the system.
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ladyblue56
User: ladyblue56
Date: 2013-01-06 22:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Having watched a family member die some years ago bc of the insurance cap, I applauded loudly over Affordable Health Care. We've know other ppl who also lost family or died themselves bc they could no longer afford medical treatment and often after selling their houses, cars, etc.

All the shouts to appeal 'Obamacare' (and I hate that word) does not make sense and I question how many ppl really understand what has been gained. We can continue to insure our daughter at age 23 although she's no longer in college. Some of her friends also have health and dental insurace through their parents. It is a personal blessing for me to not have a cap pending on my own health insurance. After 19 yrs of disability I'm sure I'm near the old cut off mark.
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Skellington
User: skellington1
Date: 2013-01-07 19:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I question how many ppl really understand what has been gained.

This is a huge issue, I think. I don't have it to hand, but I believe there was a poll done which showed that the vast majority support each individual provision of the health care act (removing caps, extending insurance for kids, per-existing condition protection, etc), but conservatives say they don't support it when asked "Do you support Obamacare?" The conservative lie machine has a LOT to answer for.
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fjm
User: fjm
Date: 2013-01-12 14:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
In the UK the experience was that opposition to National Insurance died within 12 months of its introduction. One of the key issues was the ability for many to secure spectacles for the first time.
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