$26,659: Our 2011 Medical Expenses (With Health Insurance)
Yes, you read that right. And we had insurance coverage for everyone last year, including daughter, 16, and my son who is 23 years old. Let me break it down for you:
Prescription Costs.....................$ 7,198.00*
Doctors Fees, etc.....................$ 2,068.49*
Eye care...................................$ 404.28*
* Costs in excess of insurance coverage.
** No insurance coverage.
Our medical costs in 2010 were $18,636. The principal reason why our medical expenses in 2011 increased by such a large amount was because our insurance premiums increased from roughly $7,000 in 2010 to over $14,000 in 2011.
This same crappy, expensive health insurance will likely be cancelled because my wife's former employer has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has filed a motion with the bankruptcy court to cancel all medical benefits for retirees and their families. My wife is classified as a retiree because she became disabled as the result of her pancreatic cancer, and the surgical chemotherapy and radiation treatments she received in 2006, and was unable to return to work. The story of her disability is described in detail at this link. Fortunately she is covered by Medicare, but we will lose even this crappy insurance coverage for myself, my daughter and my son.
I have a rare autoimmune disorder that unfortunately was not properly diagnosed until after the time had passed for me to file a disability claim with Social Security. Thus I am not eligible for disability benefits or Medicare. New York has a program for younger children that my daughter for which my daughter might qualify.
Because the insurance exchanges required under the Affordable Care Act will not go into effect until 2014, it is unlikely that my son and I can find insurance until then, assuming that the Supreme Court doesn't find the ACA unconstitutional. I find this ironic, considering that the following information about "Romneycare," the health care program put in place in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was its governor, and on which the ACA was based, has just released :
Massachusetts residents who participate in the state's healthcare program are seeing their insurance premiums going down by 5 percent, officials say. [...]
Currently, Massachusetts has the highest level of healthcare coverage in the country with more than 98 percent of its residents having healthcare insurance, but ranking as the 48th lowest state in the nation in healthcare expenditures.
Perhaps my family should move to Massachusetts. I know I will seriously consider it once my daughter graduates from high school next year, particularly if the Supreme Court strike down the ACA, or (assuming the Supreme Court upholds the ACA) Republicans manage to repeal or otherwise weaken it. I'm 55 years old and essentially uninsurable because of my existing health conditions. I can risk going without insurance for 2 years, perhaps, but it would be foolish for me to wait until I reach the age of 65 (or 67) for whatever benefits might remain under Medicare.
A lot can happen in a decade to eliminate our social safety net benefits, despite the fact I paid FICA taxes during my working life prior to the end of my career due to my disability. As we all know, the Republicans in Congress have no desire to keep social security and Medicare benefits in place for anyone my age or younger. They are all on board the Paul Ryan budget express, which would increase our deficit while also increasing our health care costs and more Americans would lose health care coverage.
If ACA is repealed, or the Ryan/Republican budget is implemented, millions more will go without access to health coverage and care.
That's millions of people who are more likely to die because of Republican and Conservative policies regarding health care. Our family can barely afford $26,000 in medical expenses now. How much will our medical expenses increase if the Affordable Care Act is voided by the Conservatives on the Supreme Court or repealed by the Republicans in the future? Perhaps more importantly, how long can I expect to live if the ACA is not in place?
Clearly the Republicans and conservatives don't value my "freedom to life" very highly, or yours for that matter. Just as they don't value our freedom of speech, to privacy, to a trial by jury, etc. Indeed, outside of their concern for embryos, viable or not, in the womb, I can't find one instance in which the Republican party or Conservatives promote policies that "favor life" in the slightest. Perhaps someone ought to call them what they really are:
The Pro-Death Party.