Doug and I are uninsured. Since I still see blog posts and news articles trying to dispute that many Americans are uninsured, I have to point out that we have tried to get private insurance and couldn’t. So far, we’ve been lucky. For the most part, we just don’t go to the doctor unless there is serious pain involved. When I fell down Sunday night, my foot and toe hurt, a LOT. I tried to sleep and couldn’t. I even called the podiatrist and tried to get them to tell me that there is nothing you can do for toes. They talked me into having it checked. Because my file said “self pay” on the cover, for less than one hundred dollars I got worked into the doctor’s full schedule, two x-rays, an exam, drug samples (which I can’t use, grrr), my toe wrapped, extra tape to keep my toe wrapped and a very ugly orthopedic shoe. If I had insurance, I know that the x-rays alone would have cost more than a hundred dollars.
Not all doctors work this way. Hospitals certainly don’t care if you have insurance. A lot of medical providers refuse to see the uninsured. The doctors who charge the uninsured less are our lifeline. I recognize that many people see them as part of the problem. Charge me less and charge you more does seem unfair. Except, you still pay less and get more preventive care. Your insurance gets billed more, though. I’m the bad guy in the government’s eyes. It is the uninsured who are to blame for high insurance and medical care costs. In the long run, it seems like we have created a program of natural selection to kill off the poor. Then again, I’m much less pessimistic when I’m not the patient.