Sunday, March 3, 2013

Costs of good medical care

Medical care, especially good medical care, comes at a really high price.  I have been very empathetic to this lately.  I remember when my grandmother got diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was about 10 years old.  My grandmother was a factory worker and my mom was a teacher.  Neither made a lot of money, and my grandmother's medical bills bankrupted my family.  After my grandmother died, my mom filed Chapter 11 and luckily we were able to keep our house (family owned for many years with no mortgage) and our car (a lease that she needed for work).   I will never forget my mom sitting on our kitchen floor crying so hard at what this did to us.  She had put everything on credit cards so that we could eat, or so that I could have clothes for school.  And she had to deal with that while mourning the loss of her mother and caring for her young child.

Then years later, when I was in my early 20's my mom passed away from breast cancer.  I was again made very well aware of how expensive good medical care is.  I was fortunate to be in a good sales job during a great economy where I could help off-set my mom's medical expenses.  I do know that during that time there were opportunities that my mom had to pass on, like going out with her friends, or taking vacations, because the costs of her prescriptions and co-pays were just too high.

Now I am facing lupus and I am blessed that the medical costs are not an issue for me.  I have good insurance (thank you, Chris, for keeping your ex-wife insured ;)) and a job that allows me flexibility when I am sick and enough money to pay for co-pays.  But when I realized the other day that I had 3 appointments in a week, all with $40 co-pays per appointment, acupuncture (necessary to relieve the headaches I get) at $65 per appointment, 2 prescriptions ($30 total) and all the supplements I need (about $100 total), I realized that in 1 week I spent $315 on JUST medical care IN ONE WEEK!  How do people without resources do this?! I sadly think the answer is that they charge it on credit cards if they can, and if they don't, then they go without proper medical care.  And that is just sad.

Someday I want to start a fund to help people cover the costs of their medical care. Not insurance coverage, but costs like co-pays, travel to appointments, and prescription costs.  It's not anyone's fault for getting cancer or lupus or diseases like this.  I know some people would argue that disease can be prevented, and in some cases it can...but not in my case.  I am healthy, active, I eat organic, I take supplements, I don't smoke and I don't drink excessively.  I do all the right things, and I still have lupus.

So please take some time today to say a prayer for the people in financial struggles because of medical costs and disease.  I am praying that someday soon I can make a difference in those people's lives.

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