Monday, September 15, 2008

Take two asprin and get a second job to pay the bill

12:24 Monday morning: I’ve just returned home from the emergency room where I found out Amy’s finger is not broken. Yes, that’s good, but if we’re going to the ER there’s a small part of me that wants something to be wrong - not cancer-wrong; just broken-finger-wrong. I could have buddy-taped her finger right here in the comfort of my own home with tape that cost 2 bucks a roll. The tape at the hospital will probably run us $35.

The entire time we were there I tried to figure out how much we’d end up paying for this visit. I just wrote my fifth and final check to pay off Amy’s broken arm from this summer. It was hard enough to understand what the resident with the unbelievably heavy Indian accent was saying; it was even harder when all I could think was, “I bet every word she’s saying will cost $10.”

Doctor bills used to be a non-issue for us; GM’s health insurance was excellent. But over the last few years the white collar health insurance has been one of the items on the corporate chopping block and now we pay a whole lotta moolah for each and every visit. Knowing that makes me very cautious when I make doctor’s appointments and even more cautious when we go to the ER. I wouldn’t have gone tonight if Amy’s finger hadn’t swelled up like a giant sausage and she complained the pain was an 8 on the 1-10 scale.

Which, of course, makes me a prime target to believe the government ought to provide health care for everyone, right? Not so fast, Sparky. If we were operating under a government-controlled health system we’d still be at the ER... actually, we’d probably be on some waiting list where we could expect to be seen in a few weeks.

Think I’m exaggerating? My uncle lives in Canada. He had a small spot of skin cancer on his face. He had to wait six months for the surgery to take it off and by that time the cancer had spread and a much more invasive procedure had to be performed in order to cut it all out. By contrast: my sister found a spot on her back and one week later it was gone. I vote for that.

So no, I don’t want the government to “give” me free health care. Just exactly where do you think they get the money to “give” anyone anything anyway?

Oh, my – when did I get on my soap box?

All that to say, thankfully Amy’s finger is only badly sprained (which happened this evening as she was playing with the four-year-olds at church) and she’ll simply need some Motrin for the pain and ice for the swelling. And hopefully we won’t need a second mortgage to pay the bill…