The Vacuum that Most Deserves Abhorrence


Somebody had to do something, and only a moron would debate that point.
Our nation’s healthcare system is broken. While there are many culprits, and God knows more ethical and spiritual dilemmas than a legion of philosophers and clergy could debate in a million years, one thing is certain: neither of America’s two ruling political parties have a real clue in Hell what to do about it.
Those on the left who say Obamacare is the answer are talking straight out of their fannies. But at least they are attempting to answer the question, which is more than I can say for those on the right. Elected conservatives have submitted no answers, no major reform proposals to lower the overall costs of healthcare and certainly no real alternatives to the overwhelming Healthcare Reform Act we now find ourselves burdened with for the foreseeable future, and perhaps much longer.
I have an interesting seat for all this mess, watching with two generations of my own family on either side of my 48 years of age, serving as great examples of the need for a dramatic change in the way our nation handles serious medical issues.
My parents have both undergone significant medical treatments for a variety of ailments — some routine, some more complicated — that at this point have accumulated to over a million dollars in medical costs. In the last 10 years I have seen three other members of my family spend their last months battling cancer, heart ailments and the effects of just plain old age, also incurring bills that easily totaled over a million dollars in billed medical costs. Two of those family members were lifelong housewives.
Toss into the mix an elderly in-law, who recently passed away after years of chronic ailments, and a nursing home stint that forced her to relinquish all her worldly property so that her family would not have to personally provide round the clock nursing care in her final months.
By the time these folks started needing major medical attention, they were well into their “Medicare years.” Look closely people: unless you are hit by a bus or shot by a jealous romantic rival, there is a pretty decent chance you (and me, for that matter) are going to shuffle off this mortal coil in much the same fashion.
I was blessed with four wonderful grandparents. Three of the four died excruciating deaths, after months and years of surgeries, chemotherapy and in one case a lengthy nursing home stay, that ran well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost, and three of them died prior to my high school graduation 30 years ago.
My mother’s mother was the one who went fast. In 1974, at the age of 66, she simply went to sleep one night and never woke up. She is the only elderly member of my family who died without incurring medical expense. She did have a few heart problems, I am told, and it is likely had she lived in this era rather than her own, that there would be procedures that could have corrected her issues and given her 10 or 20 more years with us.
While it would have been wonderful to have Mama Bea around those years, they would have been the most medically expensive years that most humans ever accumulate. That is not opinion; it is the cold, hard truth.
No one seems to ever talk about these issues when it comes to discussing healthcare reform.
I don’t care what kind of reform you are talking about. Given today’s costs and the technology we now have to prolong life beyond the wildest dreams of a 1970s era actuary, you cannot devise a financial plan that can cover the expense of such things and expect anyone short of Bill Gates to be able to easily shoulder the cost.
That is the end game we all face, but technology and medical science is also putting a whoopin’ on our wallets before we even decide what to name our newborn children.
Neonatal care for premature babies is usually in excess of $3,500 a day, and the bills for the smallest and youngest of the “early born” routinely run well past a million dollars.
In 2008 there were 25,000 such preemies born, with about 75 percent of them surviving. Not sure about you folks, but my family has pretty decent health insurance coverage, and that million-dollar bill comes close to covering the lifetime benefit payout allowed for one person. Once that preemie hits the limit, what about his next 75 years?
I am as stumped about what to do as most of you people, but at least I am bright enough not to stand up and pretend the answer was hidden in the “we have to pass it to find out what is in it” Obamacare plan.
But nature abhors a vacuum, and with our healthcare dilemma so real and so pressing it is not surprising that the same people who think that throwing huge sums of money at this country’s failing public education system is going to fix it have also duped the masses into thinking Obamacare is the way to go.
The libs have bad solutions, the conservatives have no solutions and, in the meantime, it looks more and more like Mama Bea wins the prize as my smartest ancestor. Damn shame.
Anyone got a bus schedule?

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