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.
So, rather than take the asthma med dosage that my doctor told me to take, I've cut my one lead medicine in half until I get to France - otherwise I'd have run out of it a week or two ago. Why cut it in half? Because it costs around $200 a month here in the US, and in France I should be able to buy the same medicine, made and sold by the same pharmaceutical firm, for 1/3 to 1/5 the price.
Why are medicines so cheap in France? Not because the government subsidizes the drug - rather, because the pharmaceutical firms agree to charge the French 1/3 to 1/5 of what they charge Americans.
In other words, Americans are subsidizing "socialist" health care in Europe.
So, I'm risking my asthma (which my doctor would tell you is risking my life) because I'm too cheap to keep paying usury prices for drugs in this country. I'll simply go to France on Wednesday, visit my local doctor (who agreed to squeeze me in hours after I land even though she didn't have an opening - "rationing," my ass) and I'll buy the same drug for a fraction of what we pay here.
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 If the Republicans get their way, Health Care Reform will be repealed, and my annual limit - and my health care rationing - will continue until I don't.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.
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