Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Write This With Fear and Trepidation

I'm diving into today's subject with an unusual amount of hesitation, not because I am afraid I might accidentally embarrass Husband or the Boys (as opposed to embarrassing them on purpose, which is my usual mode). No, today I will be stepping over a line into a topic that's conversationally taboo among many of my best friends.

The label on that line is health insurance.

I stayed home with the Boys for 10 years, and loved working full-time in this non-salaried position. When Husband left his teaching position to establish his own practice I was asked to apply for the job I currently have. A major reason, if not THE reason, I did apply and ultimately moved into the salaried ranks was because a new accounting practice does not come with built-in benefits.

If you have Boys, health insurance is not a luxury.

A few weeks ago we received the preliminary hospital bill for Boy#4's wild ride. The ambulance charge was $990+. The charge for six hours in the hospital emergency room was $10,077.47.

Yesterday's mail brought notice of the medical insurance settlement. Our cost after insurance? $100.

This set off a fresh round of thankfulness--that Four is fine, that he received excellent and compassionate care, that God, as always, was providing.

But it also set off a moment of reflection. We will write out a check for $100 and put the incident behind us. In fact, it cost more to fix Four's bike than to pay his medical bills. But what about people who don't have insurance? What impact would this ultimately minor incident have had on their lives?

For the thousands of parents who are paid minimum wage, this would have been the equivalent of a full year of paychecks.

Boy#3 had a rough start in life. He was hospitalized twice before his first birthday with mysterious symptoms, and when our wonderful pediatrician finally made the House-like diagnosis of his medical issue, the next stop was a pediatric cardiologist. She reviewed his charts, then looked up from my smiling baby to me.

"Don't ever lose your job," she told me gravely. "This child is uninsurable."

No matter what your political persuasion, no matter how scornful we are of Obamacare, no parent should ever hear those words.

We're a better nation than that.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, Sarah. Wr've found another point of agreement. :)