Then fuck it, I'm a socialist.
Medical bills are involved in more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, an increase of 50 percent in just six years, U.S. researchers reported Thursday.
More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.
"Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income," the researchers wrote. "Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations."
The researchers, whose work was paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the share of bankruptcies that could be blamed on medical problems rose by 50 percent from 2001 to 2007.
You know why we need this? It's not just the 40,000,000 or so people without medical insurance, it's the millions more people like me, who have insurance and can't afford to use it.
Monday night I was swiffering my floor and I accidentally knocked a surround sound speaker off the stand. It landed right on my bunion, and I ended up with a deep purple/blue bruise on my foot up to my bunion, and a bruise on my toe past the bunion. The pain was indescribable. I'm still limping and that bruise looks bad, and I'm not sure why it's to either side of the bunion. That worries me.
I thought about going to the hospital, but then I thought, nope. I can't afford to pay the hospital to xray it, or for the ER charge. If something did need to be done, it'd be a visit to an orthopaedic surgeon, and my copay for specialists is $50. I don't have $12 for hair dye. I didn't have it last week or the week before, either. (Yes, I'm a little vain.) And you know it wouldn't be just one visit to the specialist. And forget about surgery. I've seen my copays for that. If I could afford that sort of thing, I'd own a car.
So, I grabbed one of the crutches in the basement closet (leftover from when my MIL had knee surgery) and used that for a few days.
I have health insurance. I may as well not.
Imagine what my story will be if I am diagnosed with breast cancer next month. What will I do then? I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll choose between eating and dying. I'll choose between being homeless and letting cancer eat me alive. I'll choose between what is no doubt a really horrible death and having heat in the winter.
So the next time somebody whinges at you about socialism and rationing* and Canada, ask them what they'd choose: cancer treatments or eating, cancer treatments or having a roof over their head, cancer treatments or not freezing to death.
*We already are rationing health care treatments in this country. We're rationing it according to who can afford it. When somebody starts bitching about rationing, what they're really saying is, "I'm on the good side of the rationing right now, and I'd rather not end up on the bad side of it."