I recently went to my doctor for an annual physical. A few days later I received a frantic phone call from my doctor's office telling me I must go to the emergency room because one of my blood tests came out with an extremely high level of potassium in my system. Something didn't seem right since there was no family history of such a thing. This was a Sunday so the fact I was getting called and being told if I didn't get to the ER-soon, I could possibly have a stroke or a heart attack. I was out and having a good time...until that call, but I decided to wait until the next day for any ER visit.
The next day came and I was busy at work, but decided to finally go to the nearest ER. They would take my insurance, and I was admitted. I thought I'd be in and out of there within a short time. It took some two hours after they stuck an IV in my arm in case I needed something to quickly lower my potassium level. I knew this had to be a mistake, but they wouldn't let me leave. Finally after taking blood to research my levels, a doctor, came by with a thumbs-up sign to tell me all was well. It turned out the lab misdiagnosed my potassium levels.
I joked around with the ER staff thinking all was well, including me, and I went to leave after signing some papers. A minute or less after I left the building, some staff person flew through the door to stop me as I forgot to pay....$150 co-pay for my visit. I was blown away, but paid. $150 and I had insurance, pretty good coverage, or so I thought. I let my doctor's office know about this and that I wasn't happy. They of course tried to calm me down by saying mistakes happen, and at least I was okay.
I was, more or less, okay until this week. I received a bill for $358.00 from the medical center where I went for the ER visit. Now I was quite furious. My bill for two for a two hour blood sample adventure was now $500. I called my service which my company has which helps us in case we have any such issues as I'm having. They called the lab which I won't mention (for now) and they responded by saying that my doctor's office would need to contact the lab with all the information regarding this matter, and they might be able to resolve the mistake, which it was. Why should I pay $500 for a lab mistake?
This matter may be resolved, but I'm not sure. If the lab doesn't own up to their mistake and take care of my expense, I will go to the area media and see if they'd be interested in a story that must be somewhat common. This has never happened to me, but it must happen. More than this mistake, the overall bill for taking blood at the ER was $918.39. Now I don't expect for a medical center to do this type of work for nothing, but a two hour visit to draw and analyze a blood sample costing $918 is a perfect example of what's wrong with America's healthcare system: it's too damn expensive. The costs for most everything are absurd. People scream and whine about Obamacare, but I am upset we don't have universal healthcare.
Ignorant right-wingers who buy into all the slop the extreme right-wing media and the Republican Party puts out about Obamacare or the European system of universal healthcare, are being duped into thinking ours is the world's best healthcare system. Plenty of non-partisan research shows that is simply not true. America is not number one in longevity. 60% of (personal) bankruptcies in America are due to medical costs. My little example is a template for what's wrong. We think we're so superior to the Europeans but everyone is provided health coverage there. They may have plenty wrong with their economic system and maybe it's too slanted towards socialism, but I don't care what you call it, America needs universal healthcare, and I predict one day we shall have it. It won't be totally run by government, and most everyone will have to contribute, and if people want to opt out-they can. It won't be forced, and if companies want their own healthcare plan-they will be a able to stick with it.
Most right-wingers are duped because they are conned into believing the sewage the extreme right heaps upon them and really gets these rubes to vote against their own self interests. It will take more right-wing types to get sick and get hospitalized and forced into bankruptcy before they realize the system works against them. Some senators like the late Arlen Spectre, finally bought into stem-cell research because of his on-going battle with cancer. As long as the fear mongers like Limbaugh, Hannity and creeps like that neanderthal from Texas, Ted Cruz, keep scaring their uneducated followers into believing that universal healthcare is communism, then we'll continue on with healthcare as usual. It will be a generational thing where the extreme right will eventually lose because time works against them. New generations don't care about gay marriage, endless gun availability, and the cheap tactics used to gain votes: the younger people coming of voting age aren't as stupid as Fox News would like. That's why the ratings for extreme right-wing radio and TV are going down. Their audience is gradually dying off, probably from smoking too much.
The funny part of all this is that Obamacare is really much like a Republican plan aimed at universal healthcare first put forth by former Senator Bob Dole. That happened when the Republican Party was rational.This country needs two viable political parties, but the Republicans are sticking with the extreme right-wing philosophy, and that means inherently being illogical, stubborn, and uncompromising, and that also means their days are numbered, if they don't get back to where they came from. America will have to reform from staying on the wrong track when it comes to endless spending. Universal healthcare, done properly, can lead to a moderation of costs, it's just that we never really tried reform. There's plenty of waste, fraud, abuse and needless over-testing in this field, and we're slowly addressing it. And yes, we need to deal with the ever-rising costs of entitlements: our future depends on it, and so does our ability to make a reasonable living.
Ever since I began a weekly talk radio show in the early 1990s which ran for over 15 years, I railed against the unholy alliance between corporate America and our government. This is nothing new since Abraham Lincoln spoke out against the timber industry before he was President, and of course, Republican President Teddy Roosevelt went after the railroad and steel tycoons, but we need to seek to break this modern version of what Dwight Eisenhower warned us against as he was about to leave office: the military-industrial complex. The ability for big industry to make unlimited amounts of money on the backs of hard working Americans must be addressed.It's part of what's driving healthcare costs skyward. Check out Florida Governor Rick Scott's past, running the biggest for-profit healthcare company in America. They were busted with the biggest fine for Medicare fraud in history. They did it because they could. That gravy train went on for years before they were caught. Similar fraud and obscene pricing is rampant throughout America, and its driving people into bankruptcy. This is not what our forefathers had in mind when building our country, and they had no idea of what we're dealing with now-they would truly be ashamed. As Lincoln himself said before becoming President, "...a house divided against itself cannot stand". It was about slavery then, and it can be defined as slavery now: we're all becoming slaves of a sort to a corporate/government collusion which allows obscene pricing for the basics of life. Healthcare, gasoline, education and just the simple ability to get a job along with a reasonable wage are fast becoming a mirage in a country where all that was once a bountiful crop. We're are losing all the elements that once made us great. Since this country's representative system is supposed to be of the people,by the people, and for the people, Americans need to wake up and figure this all out before it's too late.