Admist all the rightwing hooey about healthcare ‘death panels’, the reality is that we already have panels of bureaucrats making live and death decisions about healthcare. The guidelines for these panels, however, have not been established with the consent of the will of the people (however imperfect that might be), but by health insurance company CEOs, boards of directors, and shareholders (in the case of for-profit health insurers). John Aravosis explains what this means (boldface mine):
What does it say about our country when I have to cut my asthma meds in half – I’m rationing them against the advice of my doctor – because they’re just too expensive?
You see, as I’ve written before, my CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield self employed health insurance has an annual limit on prescription meds – they only cover $1500 a year (which isn’t all that much if you have any kind of chronic illness like asthma – my monthly asthma meds are about $500).
And as I’ve mentioned before, Blue Cross came up with the neat idea of never increasing the amount of coverage that I have for prescription meds – they covered $1500 a year back in 1999 when my premiums were around $150 a year, and they still only cover $1500 a year now that my premiums have tripled 13 years later. And in twenty years, Blue Cross will still only cover $1500 a year, even though that amount of money will be next to worthless because of inflation.
And because of my asthma combined with my cataract surgery (where the eye drops alone cost over $100 a pop, and I needed at least four to six of them), I’m perilously close to my $1500 limit, if I haven’t passed it already….
Health Care Reform changes all of this. It outlaws annual and lifetime limits, like my offensive $1500 annual limit from Blue Cross. If the Republicans get their way, Health Care Reform will be repealed, and my annual limit – and my health care rationing – will continue until I don’t.
Talk about your death panels. We already have them, and they’re self-imposed. Best health care in the world, my ass.
1) The farther down the income ladder you go, the less affordable healthcare is due to co-pays. The lower-middle class and middle class get whacked hard. Obama/Romneycare is better, but still not that affordable for many, although it helps many who have chronic illnesses (e.g., Aravosis).
2) Anyone who thinks our healthcare system is good is someone who has had very little reason to use it.