When I started my family 6 years ago, I was on a path to a career in research and teaching. We had amazing health insurance through my institution and my wife and children-to-be were generously covered, no-questions-asked by the state of Pennsylvania during, and a year after, the pregnancies. We never saw a bill. After I got “real jobs” upon completing my Masters degree, I entered a grey zone of contract teaching and research employment at universities. With a decent, regular salary we were ineligible for state aid, yet didn’t make enough to afford extra costs. Furthermore, the quality of the insurance kept lowering until I wasn’t even sure what I was paying for – even as the premium costs were rising.
It reached rock bottom last Spring when we attempted to actually use our insurance that I bought for $1400 every six months while a contract lecturer and beginning PhD student at a North Carolinian university. My boy was starting Kindergarten and needed to be current on his vaccines. Of course, both kids needed to be current, so we took them in one-by-one, got their shots and check-ups, handed over the insurance information, paid our co-pay and went on our way. Never thinking about it, assuming that insurance would do the job we paid them to do.
Exactly 6 months later we received bills, after I no longer had insurance (I had to leave my phd for variety of reasons), and addressed to our kids’ names and not mine, the policy holder, for substantial amounts. Apparently, my daughter owed over $400 and my son owed over $1600 to the doctor office, which was the net left over after the insurance contributed about $200 for each visit.
With a decent, regular salary we were ineligible for state aid, yet didn’t make enough to afford extra costs. Furthermore, the quality of the insurance kept lowering until I wasn’t even sure what I was paying for – even as the premium costs were rising.
Every time I read about Americans and their healthcare/insurance outrages.... I seriously wonder why there hasn't been a civil war about it. Really. It's the most disgusting, terrible, unjust and plain fucking absurd situation for a "first world" country to be in... and yet.... it seems to be tolerated. They Occupy Wall Street but health insurance gets a whimper????
Pay people properly, tax them accordingly, educate everyone for free, and make it difficult to sack people unless they've actually done something very wrong. Provide universal healthcare for everyone and give vip level to those that want it, but abolish the notion of un-insureable people or conditions.
It can't be that bloody hard if Australia does it, for fncks sake.
posted by taff at 0:48 on February 12 [+] [!]
"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else -- if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
If you can't afford to pay for your kids coverage with your "consultation and writer's" salary, get another career or at least a second job. He seems like a giant ball of bad decisions and poor planning to me.
So it's off limits to comment on THE STORY HE JUST TOLD and see where the situation was made far worse due to his poor fucking choices? I know the system is fucked up but are you kidding me?
Let's just ignore the fact that he decided to pay for his trinkets to be insured but not his own children and that deciding that not spending a portion of the $4000 he had saved FOR VACATION to bring his child to the doctor when he had a 104 fever (which his wife self diagnosed as pneumonia after having the exact same illness) wasn't completely selfish and wrong?
Getting a Kindle is lot cheaper than getting health insurance.
Are we doing the shouldas' here? If so, I've got one : You've got a PhD, quit the broken nation. Canada loves PhDs. He's clearly "gambling with his son's life" by remaining an American.
Nor does a basic visit to urgent care where the doctor examines you, tells you you have something non-serious, and sends you home, possibly with a prescription. It costs about $100 or $150 (ask anyone above who knows exactly what their doctors' cash discounts are).
Or were you too busy trying to think how to look all cool and shit because you didn't want to let on that you were pissed that someone called you a hipster?
Zelnio is moving to Sweden
? for swedish/expat twitterati: When you move to a new country, does your credit history move or do you have to reestablish in new country?
Sweden also has a system for credit score. This system aims to find people with bad payment attitude. It has only two levels, good and bad. Anyone who does not pay a requested debt payment on time, and also not after a reminder, will have their case forwarded to the Swedish Enforcement Administration (Swedish: Kronofogdemyndigheten), a national authority which collects debts. The very appearance of a company as a debtor in this authority, will render a mark among private credit bureaus - however, this does not apply to a private person. This mark is called Betalningsanmärkning (non-payment record) and can according to the law be stored for three years for a private person and five years for a company.
My intent wasn't so much to criticize his actions (the Kindle Fire is really a nonissue) but a certain kind of unrealistic attitude. I've seen it on Ask Metafilter. "I have a decent office job, but it's kind of boring and I think I'm going to quit and fulfill my dream of running a gallery. Where should I start looking for insurance? Oh, I have diabetes and Crohn's disease, my kid has asthma, and my wife is pregnant." And people have to give this person a reality check. No, you simply can't leave the office job. You are uninsurable, and one medical problem will bankrupt you.
amorphatist, since my post there have been several excellent examples, which you seem to have ignored. Mexico? Costa Rica? Little Caribbean Country? Turkey as a destiny for health care? Sonika's post above has a nice link.
Neither Poland nor Ukraine are places you'd like to compare with otherwise, but again excellent healthcare.
Compare the 85th percentile here with folks in Bangladesh, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Congo etc, and tell us with a straight face if they have the same access to health care as the 85th percentile American.
I woke up in a rented room in London in the middle of the night, feeling like my eyes had been packed with hot sand and the lids were somehow glued together. When I pried them apart, the whites of my eyes were an angry crimson.
I know people in this thread have very good intentions, but questioning Zelnio's account is just not the same as scrutinizing, say, the lifestyle of someone on food stamps to see if they have "too many" consumer goods or the like. That's because people pretending to be poor to get food stamps is not a real contributor to poverty, but people opting out of shared risk pools because of a "can't happen to me" mentality is a real contributor to the healthcare mess. Did Zelnio make an entirely free choice to opt out? Probably not, but his writing on the subject veers between "couldn't afford it" and "didn't think it would really be a big problem." It definitely sounds like he made the choice to be a freelance writer (which is a choice that I think everyone should be free to make without going into medical bankruptcy.)
Bad parent makes very poor decisions; blames corrupt, broken system. Everybody loses.
« Older How Barry Levinson's Diner Changed Cinema, 30 Year... | Five senior journalists and ed... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt