I am thankful that I have health insurance to pay for good medical care and modern technology.
Unlike other civilized countries like Canada and Great Britain, the United States does not provide health insurance to its citizens—except for some half-assed benefits for the disabled and those folks who are over 65 (Medicare). Americans have to purchase health insurance through private companies, and are at the mercy of those companies regarding cost, coverage, and annual rate increases.
I am thankful that Martha has a job, and a job that pays her monthly health insurance premiums.
I am thankful that we’ve had the $5,688 in cash to pay for deductibles, co-insurance, co-payments, and drug co-pays since January 1. (If you don’t know or understand these terms, don’t ask.)
To repeat a comment Robert the Skeptic made last night on Thankful:
"Yeah I'm marking time until my aortic valve starts giving me 'symptoms', the stenosis is 'severe' so I am on the long countdown. Will probably need to take out a second mortgage to pay the copays and deductibles but as you say, I'd be dead meat if the technology weren't available. Guess we are lucky bastards."
Robert and I may be lucky bastards, but there are millions of Americans who don't have jobs, health insurance, or the cash the insurance companies require (or very likely, they don't have all three).
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GAMES INSURANCE COMPANIES PLAY
From an article in USA Today on July 22, 2010:
"Non-profit Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans stockpiled billions of dollars during the past decade, yet continued to hit consumers with double-digit premium increases, Consumers Union found in an analysis of 10 of the plans' finances.
"Examples cited include:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona: A $717.1 million surplus in 2009, seven times the regulatory minimum. The plan raised rates for individual market customers by as much as 18 percent in 2009. Company Spokeswoman Regena Frieden said, 'We believe the amount we have in reserves is appropriate.'
"Regency Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon: A surplus of $562.2 million in 2009, about 3.6 times the minimum. The plan revised rates on some plans an average of 25.3 percent in 2009 and 16 percent in 2010. Spokeswoman Angela Hult said the surplus is 'essential to protecting our members from surges in claims costs.'"
Our health insurance carrier is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois by way of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (don't ask). On January 1, 2010 they ruled it necessary to institute a new co-pay: every time Martha or I visit a "specialist"—Dr. Lung, Doc Potty, Dr. Eyeball—we pay another $50 out-of-pocket to help defray the insurance company's "losses."
Addendum: A chart of ObamaCare changes for your perusal and refusal.