17 July 2009

We Can Haz Health Care Now?

A hypothetical scenario: Joe Blow is informed that he is being laid off. Shortly after, he discovers an unusual lump in his leg. What happens next?

Well, if Joe Blow lived in any first world country other than the U.S., he would go to a doctor, get it diagnosed, undergo any necessary medical treatment, and otherwise get it taken care of. Then he would find a new job and go back to being a happy, productive taxpayer. The End.

In the U.S.?

Being laid off means that health insurance is about to end. Sure, health plans can be extended through something called "Cobra" - but in practice that means adding a sizeable new bill during a time of zero income, which is not a financially sound thing to do.

Being diagnosed with something serious while without health insurance means that all health care costs must come out of pocket. This is even less sound financially during a period of zero income. Especially if Joe Blow only has enough savings to afford being laid off OR have a medical issue, but not both at the same time.

Being diagnosed with something serious before acquiring new health insurance means that "pre-existing condition" clauses might kick in, thereby causing the new health insurance to cost more.

Thus, financially speaking, Joe Blow should delay going to the doctor until after he has acquired a new job with new health insurance. Then he can discover he has now-incurable terminal cancer, and die.

Because the other choice would be to go to the doctor "now," discover he has cancer, undergo treatment, and enter financial ruin. Then he'll become homeless, possibly no longer be able to afford the rest of treatment, and die.

Ahh, the U.S. of A. Very nice first world country - if you're rich. Third world country if you're not. Alas for Joe Blow.

(Note: the above is all entirely hypothetical, of course. Entirely.)


Janiece Murphy said...

Barbaric. That's what we are when it comes to health care.

ntsc said...

If you had the foresight to be born to rich parents this wouldn't be a problem.