I spoke too soon last week.
I thought things were getting better for me health-wise, but in fact, they are simply getting different.
Last Tuesday, what had seemed to be a case of the sniffles turned into full head-congestion. I stayed home from work, ate oranges and drank soup, and tried to will my body well. By Tuesday night I had a little wheeze and a cough.
Wednesday I tried valiantly to get through the work day and made it 6 hours. By about 10 pm I was working hard for each breath. I had a doctor appointment scheduled for Friday, and was trying to hold out...but when my breathing became labored I headed for the ER.
4 breathing treatments, 6 vials of bloodwork, 1 bag of IV fluids, 2 shots, 5 hours, and $100 dollars later, I got to go home.
My doctor gave me instructions to stay home for the next few days and wrote me 5 different scripts for medication. Another $70 later, I took home 2 inhalers, an antibiotic, an oral steriod, and a bottle of heavy duty cough syrup. I asked the pharmacist if my insurance had covered any of my medication. She said yes - I had paid a co-pay of $30 each on the inhalers, which would have been $150 each out of pocket.
Even with the best health-care coverage available to me, I spent $170 total in co-pays and fees because I have bronchitis and have developed asthma.
$170. That's a car payment. That's a car load of groceries. That's money that most Americans need to spend in order to keep living and earning.
If I didn't have that money put aside already, I wouldn't have been able to afford the medications I needed to keep my body breathing. Many people don't have that sort of money put aside in case of emergencies...even if they have good jobs like I do.
And those that have a good job, and health care, but they don't have the extra cash for emergency medications? Do they get the help they need? No. No, they don't. The hospital can't turn you away. There's no such stipulation at the pharmacy.
Don't tell me there's nothing wrong with our health care system.