Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The economic downturn is hurting more than our wallets, 1 in 3 Americans say they can’t afford their health care bills. People are neglecting their medications. They are not seeking treatment for simple diagnosis, such as strep throat, because they don’t have the $300 for the appointment and the $50 for the prescriptions. People do not realize failing to treat strep can lead to rheumatic fever, heart problems, and kidney failure.
They shouldn’t have to understand this. They should have affordable health care. It’s not right for people to treat themselves. This crisis is going to reach a tipping point and become a health care crisis.
Thirty-six percent of Americans are delaying care. It’s young adults that are getting hit the hardest, 67% actually have skipped appointments or delayed recommended treatments due to cost.
I’m in the gray away, where I will take the care, and hope to survive both my health care and the system. I don’t open my bills right now. I’ve delegated the gory mess with the insurance company to a great Aunt. I’ll survive, in just a little bit of debt, even with the love and donations of my community.
I have a prime example of how the health care system is failing our twenty-somethings. A friend of mine has hepatitis C, and no she did not get it through sex or needles. She was born in a refugee camp, she inherited the disease from her mom.
She is twenty six and works as a consultant under contract. She owns her own business, but she can’t get health insurance.
She knows she needs it. She has been fatigued, jaundiced. She has a general feeling of malaise and has recently been throwing up. She needs to be treated and quickly.
Unfortunately, she has a “pre-existing condition.” HIPPA, which was created in 1996 to prevent insurances from blacklisting you are a customer, was not in effect when she was diagnosed.
Whoever thought of this concept of “pre-existing conditions” should be dragged out into the road and shot. I live in fear of losing my health insurance.
She has tried to get health insurance, but all those forms and plans are like reading Japanese. She just doesn’t have the time, the energy, or the money to research and pick a plan.
She is going to get very sick, very quickly, and there is no helping her unless she can come up with tens of thousands of dollars for treatment.
I hate seeing this. She’s a young successful business woman. Her life may be getting cut incredibly short.
I also have another friend who was “diagnosed” with multiple schlerosis at thirteen. She’s a lucky girl, her father and uncle are both doctors.
That “diagnosis” disappeared pretty quickly, since MS is only treated symptomatically in the US, and there are very promising German therapies if you can pay out of pocket for them.
You also have to know who to get in touch with. I’m not so sure how hard it is to get your hands on this type of information. I’m lucky I’m an insider.
Just a little warning, but a social catastrophe is coming. I don’t see the problem just in the rising cost of health care. I see the trickle down effect of patients delaying, or refusing care. They will ignore symptoms until they can no longer be ignored and present to the doctor’s with end stage diseases. This will inevitably break the hospitals, since insurances won’t provide or won’t budge on their reimbursements despite rising costs of providing care. It will force more hospitals to right off more bad debts. Hospitals all ready write off 34 billion annually due to failure to reimbursement.
I want the middle man cut out. I want supervision and accountability for the insurance industry. It can’t be run by wall street or fat cats anymore. We’ve all seen what happens when they’re put in charge, and then they take the money from the sick and struggling and spent a $150,000 on a weekend get away. Not okay.