Medical Bills and Healthcare, Oh Yeah

Four years ago, I came face-to-face with a pressing issue in American politics and society: the cost of health care. Since then I have pondered and discussed the issue countless times, but I have been reticent about posting on such a political issue. Frankly, that time is over, and it shouldn’t ‘political’ to discuss whether bankruptcy or death are reasonable alternatives.

I am very fortunate to have health care coverage. In total, I pay a heavily subsidized monthly premium of $200 ($2400 annually) plus a $5,000 deductible. That’s $7,400 in baseline costs each year. Not to mention the cost of travel and accommodation for visits to a recognized cancer center and to an expert in Boston several times a year. We’re talking $10K a year for four years, plus the additional $7000 paid for my first round of Crizotinib out-of-pocket in England in 2015, without which I would have met my fate.

Together, four years of this journey has cost my family at the very least $47,000.

$47,000 WITH INSURANCE!

 WITH MTF INSURANCE!

 WITH MTF GREAT SUBSIDIZED INSURANCE

This is not ok. If my family weren’t supporting me, I would be dead and/or in bankruptcy, like the estimated 530,000 people in the U.S. each year. This must strike each of you as morally problematic regardless of your political standpoint. It cannot be right that a person who is suffering from cancer, doing everything to stay alive, is bombarded with this kind of pressure.

Please, take a hard look at your finances and tell me if you could personally afford this kind of expense annually/monthly. $10,000 annually is $833/month. Not to mention, the types of people incurring these kinds of healthcare costs are likely to be at a massive disadvantage in holding a constant job – and thus unable to have the means to pay the bills in the first place.

We’re all debating whether or not to eliminate the insurance business in favor of Medicare for All. We should go one step further and ask why medical treatment costs so much in the first place. Why is it necessary for a US hospital to bill a CT scan at $4,000 in the U.S., yet it is only $200 in the UK?  Once this issue is addressed, we can join forces and develop a sustainable system that covers everyone – regardless of a person’s circumstance or place in society.

An estimated $74M dollars were raised in the latest fundraising quarter for the democratic primary, not even including Elizabeth Warren’s (I’m sure massive) haul.

There is money in the universe to shift. We just need to reframe our outdated perception of costs, upgrade our priorities, and recognize our own mortality.

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