How to Save Thousands of $$$

by James Wallace Harris, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

An American Sickness by Elisabeth RosenthalThere are some books everybody should read. Often those books are on topics few people want to think about and the book I want everyone to read is about health care — a subject that will bore the will-to-live out of most readers. An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back by Elisabeth Rosenthal is a book I read for my Two-Person Book Club, and we both found it riveting.

As long as you can stay out of a hospital, emergency room, or a doctor’s office that’s aligned with a hospital, you’re probably okay to skip reading this book. But don’t think having good health insurance will protect you from bankruptcy. Rosenthal’s book is about all the ways the American Medical Industrial Complex is finding to bill you beyond what your insurance will pay. If you have any kind of savings at all, they are at risk of being wiped out by playing Russian roulette with our current healthcare system.

What Rosenthal thoroughly proves is our plutocratic government will always take political donations from the greedy, which explains the escalating medical costs in America. Republicans are hell-bent to kill Obamacare because they want to cut taxes for themselves and their donors don’t want any laws that impede them from profiting on the misery of sick folks.

This is the second time I’ve written about this book. I’ve told all my friends about it, and none of them are interested. An American Sickness scares the bejeezus out of me. The only way we can avoid being ripped off is by collectively working together. Expecting Congress to solve this problem is insane unless there’s an overwhelming demand from voters.

Everyone wants to have a health insurance policy that covers all their medical bills and never worry what hospitals and doctors bill their insurance. That’s not going happen. One day you will receive a bill that your insurance won’t pay, whether it’s $600, $6,000, $60,000 or $600,000, and you’ll not be able to wish it away. Rosenthal had many stories of people going to an emergency room and ending up owing the price of a Mercedes or even a median-priced house because parts of their bill weren’t cover by their insurance.

I was just on the phone with a friend who got a $29,000 ER bill after he fell off his bike while on vacation and needed 13 stitches. He’s now wrangling with his Medicare Advantage plan over how much he has to pay for this out-of-network event. He also says he’s in the Medicare donut hole and paying $500 a month for insulin and $600 a month for his digestive enzymes. [Rosenthal relates a story of a mom taking her toddler to a pediatrician who referred her to a plastic surgeon that put in 3 stitches and was billed $50,000. So my friend got a bargain for 13.]

Rosenthal offers hope, but it depends on political change. And for political change to occur more people need to read this book. That means you.

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What Republicans Don’t Know About Obamacare

Conservatives are running like a pack of wolves to pull down and kill Obamacare, while they dream of killing Medicare afterwards.  What they don’t recognize is killing Obamacare will promote socialized medicine, not kill it.  Obamacare was designed with Republicans in mind.  It’s the free market solution to universal healthcare.  When Republicans get their way and Obamacare is destroyed, the only solution left will be socialized medicine, and Medicare will become the model.

Most of the world has moved to universal healthcare, Americans are just slow to see that.  It’s an idea that it’s time has already come, we don’t see it because we cling to outdated notions about capitalism.  Wake up and smell the roses, capitalism is constantly evolving and it’s incorporated aspects of socialism to be more efficient.  Sooner or later as universal healthcare becomes a success in all but the poorest countries, Americans will realize they have been left behind.

Obama and the Democrats designed the healthcare system we call Obamacare based on private insurance to appease the conservatives.  Obamacare is the experiment to prove free market capitalism can do the job when it comes to universal healthcare.  Killing Obamacare means killing the belief that there is a non-socialized solution.  That’s okay by me, I never liked that idea, I always thought Medicare was a better model.

What’s going to happen is conservatives are going to kill off Obamacare and we’ll be forced to expand the scope of Medicare to cover the poor and uninsured.  Most people with jobs will stay with private insurance – for a couple decades.  Over time more and more private businesses will stop providing health insurance as more and more of the population will shift into a Medicare type system.

Sooner and later Americans will wake up and realize the rest of the world has a better solution.  Obamacare was the Republican solution, they just don’t remember it.

JWH – 3/29/12