Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another Bill… and My Thoughts on Public Health Care

Well, we got another bill today – this time from the ambulance service.  It was less than I thought it would be (under $1700), but I found out that for $55/year, one can have unlimited emergency services (and, if uninsured, a 60% discount on services.  That means it would take me about 8 years to make that up, if it ever happens again.  So, that’s worth considering.

I don’t expect that there will be a discount available on the bill, but I’ve asked for any that might be available, and also asked if there was a month-to-month plan that i could get on.  I have also done this on the radiology bill we got for the CAT scan and X-ray.

Our medical bills are now over $5,000, and that’s after pre-paying the labor and delivery and putting $2,000 on the credit card for the emergency visit.

We also got a call from the hospital we went to for the birth, and they informed me that I still had a balance of over $9,000 for the birth.  So we still have to get that resolved.  The big question is whether the pre-pay covered mom and baby, because the $14,000 bill for my wife was reduced, but the $9,000 bill for the baby was not.  It was my understanding that the bill from the hospital was taken care of, but the business office doesn’t currently see it that way.

Scary as having all that medical debt is, even with all the facts lined out as they are, I still cannot get behind a public plan for health insurance.  I don’t believe that the hospitals and doctors are as much to blame for the high cost of medical as pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies.

Some of my problems with the public plan as it is being proposed right now are due to the speed at which a 1,000+ page document is getting pushed through.  Last time we did that, we sent money to banks without much accountability at all, and are surprised that the 800 billion dollars seemed to have little to no measurable effect.  For another, any plan on the table does not include the people making the decisions.  I would be far more agreeable to a plan that the ones with the power to produce such a plan were under it as well.  If they are not willing to go under such a plan, why should we have to?

Also, I look at a bankrupt Social Security, a nearly bankrupt Medicaid/Medicare program, the huge amounts of fraud and wasteful spending, and it does not inspire confidence in me that a new program along those same lines (but expanded) will be any more efficient or any less wrought with fraud.

The combination of those three factors cause me to pause on the current plan being proposed.  Even in my position, in which a government plan could potentially make a lot of this medical debt go away, I can’t put my support behind it.  Do I have an answer for the solution?  No, I don’t.  If the pharmaceuticals and health insurance companies are behind the plan, then I will have to be against it.  I don’t believe that either of those occupations work with the average American’s success in mind.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Guest Post

Living Almost Large gave me an opportunity to blog about my recent medical experience.  Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August Update

Well, we are 5 days into the new month, and the medical bills have started trickling in.  I’ve added a new field to our debt reduction, but, like the Mortgage, I’m not updating our Overall Consumer Debt field with it.  As I negotiate with the medical community on our debts there, I’ll adjust.  Also, whenever we make payments against that debt, I’ll update the bar.

I was tempted to move our medical debts that I put on the credit cards recently over to that bar, but since they are already on the credit cards, they pretty much qualify as credit card debt.  Any additions to the credit cards from the medical debt will be reflected in the credit cards and subtracted from the medical debt.

I hope that makes sense.