Health Care Heartburn

This morning’s video of Zach Wamp’s appearance on MSNBC regarding the President’s plans for universal health care was a little jarring — even though I’m a long-time fan of Congressman Wamp.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m very leery of universal health care.  I think quality would suffer and costs would soar — and the people causing the increased costs wouldn’t be the ones paying for it.  My problem with Zach’s sound bite is just that I don’t think health care is a privilege — it IS a right, but a right that you have to pay for.  One could say the same about food and shelter.  Everyone has a right to food, shelter and medical care, but that doesn’t mean everyone has a right to get those things free.

What you can pay for, decides what level of quality you are entitled to.  Lots of people live in much larger, more luxurious houses than I do; some people spend much more on food.  That’s okay, and I don’t have a problem with it.  Some people live in government-subsidized housing that isn’t quite as spacious as my own, and some people receive food stamps.  That’s okay too.

Actually, I had a little taste of what government-managed health care might be like, just this morning.  Gamma is sick with mono, and has picked up a secondary virus (I can neither pronounce nor spell it, so I won’t try) that has caused her lips and mouth to blister horribly.  So, in addition to being nearly unconscious all the time, it’s very painful for her to eat or drink — so, she doesn’t.  She’s lost eight pounds in seven days.

I should have this disease for her… except I’ve already had my turn.

This morning, her doctor prescribed a combination of substances that, mixed together, may bring some relief and healing for the blisters.  Hopefully, that will enable her to eat properly, which would speed her recovery.  But here’s the catch: there’s only one drugstore in town that actually does "compounding" anymore, and they’re not on our insurance company’s list of "preferred" drug stores.

In a phone call to the insurance company this morning, I got a heavy sales pitch to let them fill the prescription by mail-order, rather than submitting paperwork for reimbursement later.  Even after I explained to the call-center chickadee that this isn’t one of those things that works well for mail order (like meds you take all the time, knowing weeks in advance when you’ll need them); my child is in pain, and cannot eat.

They’re going to spend more on paperwork justifying the reimbursement, than the medicine costs to begin with.  The truth is, it’s not going to do me in to pay for the medicine — it’s not a big deal.  Really.  But given that we pay for insurance (and pay for much more than we use), I think it’s asinine for them to expect me to jump through hoops to have a $30 scrip covered, no matter where I choose to get it filled.

Especially if their "preferred" pharmacies can’t handle the mixing of three fairly common ingredients.

* * * * *
Kudos to Jefferson Compounding Center, whose pharmacist made a special trip in today to fix up Gamma’s meds so that she gets some relief.  I don’t begrudge them the cost of the prescription, and highly commend them for their sympathy in this situation.

More kudos to her pediatrician, who seems to have an excellent grip on the situation, and is very calming to a nervous mom.

Even more kudos to the teachers and staff at ORHS, who’ve been e-mailing me assignments and such.  IF she is ever awake for more than five minutes, she can start catching up on all the work she’s missed.  And thank goodness Spring Break is just around the corner — that’s one week that she won’t fall further behind.

5 Responses to “Health Care Heartburn”

  1. on 07 Mar 2009 at 10:48 am Joel

    How anyone can defend the US healthcare delivery system anymore is beyond my comprehension. It is more costly and more inefficient than any other system in the industrialized world.

    Netmom, your example isn’t what a government-run healthcare system looks like. It is what a privatized healthcare system looks like. In Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Japan–you could have had the diagnosis, prescription and likely obtained the medication all in the same trip.

    Nobody says single payer is “free.” It is paid for by taxes. Even the poor pay taxes.

  2. on 08 Mar 2009 at 5:09 pm Joel

    ” . . . a secondary virus (I can neither pronounce nor spell it, so I won’t try) . . . ”

    Herpes simplex type I?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpes_simplex_virus

    Coxsackie virus?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxsackie_A_virus

  3. on 08 Mar 2009 at 5:20 pm Netmom

    Neither of those. Much longer name. Eased by a mouthwash compound of xylocaine (for pain), Maalox (to heal the ulcers), and Benadryl (not sure what for).

  4. on 08 Mar 2009 at 5:34 pm Joel

    The Benadryl is to reduce the inflammation and edema.

  5. on 19 Mar 2009 at 10:47 pm mjB

    It’s funny how Rep. Bart Gordon calls himself a “blue dog” but is basically walking in lock-step with the expansion of government while also wasting taxpayer money on trips to Europe for him and his wife.

    http://tinyurl.com/cwe5wb

    mB

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