The Questions of Healthcare
It seems that every time you look or listen to the news these days, the headlines abound about the "Healthcare Crisis". Headlines on the Internet, newspapers, TV and cable news are punctuate with words like "crisis", "urgent" and "critical". It's enough to make you sick!
But are we really experiencing a crisis? Or is it more of a "nagging problem", an "issue" or a "concern"?
From my own vantage point, I am fortunate that my husband has benefits including health insurance from his employer. We pay a premium that increases annually and with that amount of money it could pay our hefty monthly electric bill and water bill. But as a family of five, we have never wavered from having health insurance because you never know when you're going to need emergency care.
Last summer, as a matter of fact, both my husband and youngest daughter experienced illnesses that required immediate attention. In my daughter's case, our family was camping when she complained about having a tummy ache. She did not have a fever, wasn't doubled over in pain, and wasn't throwing up. She even went on a hike. So we did not react immediately to her symptoms. But on the third day of complaining she developed a sudden fever - her pain became more acute and localized so we rushed her to the hospital emergency room.
Turned out she had a ruptured appendix. We experienced emergency care where she was diagnosed. Then we experienced full in-patient care where she was operated on and recuperated for three days at the hospital in a private room. We had an incredible medical team who we placed our complete trust in. $3000 worth as a matter of fact as that was our out-of-pocket expense. Her total bill? $47K. If we did not have medical insurance, we would have had to pay that amount ourselves. (To those of you with college-age children, that's the cost of annual tuition to a top notch school!)
While my husband and I were in the waiting room, it was a critical moment. But were we experiencing a healthcare crisis? If we did not have insurance, what would we have done? More importantly, where would we have received proper medical attention?
Yesterday I took my 17-year old daughter to a volunteer meeting at the Ronald McDonald House. This is an amazing place funded by philanthropic dollars from McDonald's (aka the Golden Arches) as well as private and corporate donations and endowments. Here, critically to terminally ill children receive outpatient care while awaiting further in-patient treatment. They are often far from home in order to receive state-of-the-art treatment not available where they live. The Ronald McDonald House allows their famlies to stay with them for only $10 a night. This provides some financial relief from their other healthcare bills.Continued on the next page