Saturday, January 7, 2012


By the way, after meeting with Tonisha in Dr. Tan’s office Thursday, BenefitsI emailed Dr. Tan to thank him for his efforts and concern. Five minutes later he answered my email (with his iPhone). So, I still give Dr. Tan very high marks for his genuine and overall care for his patients. Now, on with today’s blog post…

After graduating from chiropractic college, I worked as an associate doctor with my uncle in Arkansas. Eileen and I lived within walking distance of the clinic. It’s been almost thirty years ago but I very vividly remember noticing a banner on a bank as I was walking. The bank was called Farmers and Merchants Bank. The sign was advertising a benefit supper for someone who had cancer. That irritated me. I couldn’t imagine doctors making people hold benefits in order to pay them or they wouldn’t treat the cancer patient. I hoped that I would never be that way in practice and was blessed to work in both my uncle and father’s practices in which their policy was to never turn a patient away for an inability to pay. Eileen and I continued that policy when we bought the practice from my parents. Even today, it affects me to hear that someone like Eileen’s co-worker is spending every dime they have or have saved to fight cancer. I have nothing against doctors and pharmaceutical executives making a nice living. However, I can’t understand how they can drive their exotic cars, live in their lavish homes, and play with their sumptuous toys all the while their patients hold bake sales, benefits, and deplete their life’s savings to get medical care. I’ve never understood it and I still don’t understand it.

In my case, there is no reason for Gleevec to cost $72,000 per year. If I didn’t have insurance, I’d have to come up with a million dollars solely for Gleevec just to stay alive for the next fourteen years. I couldn’t do it. Yet, those without ample insurance pay a portion of that just to be alive. In my case, if things don’t change, it’s going to be $18,000 per year given to Gleevec just to stay alive. If there was no insurance, there is no way they could charge CML cancer patients $72,000 per year. Remember, this Gleevec cost is just one aspect of a family budget. Not many budgets have that kind of money available to dedicate to anything, alone one medication.

Meanwhile, members of Congress are insulated from such realities. They have voted themselves the best insurance policy in the land. In fact, they are so insulated that they can pass sweeping legislation like the ObamaCare plan without bothering to read it. It doesn’t affect them; The Ruling Class.

There’s little doubt that the legislators, doctors, and pharmaceutical executives sleep well while the cost of medical care continues to wreck people’s lives. As I mentioned yesterday, the cost of medical care is the number one cause of bankruptcy in our country, and remember, 72% of the bankruptcy filers had health insurance. One never knows who will be next to have a benefit to raise money so they can have treatment. We always quickly jump to help those having a benefit but do we ever ask: Why do doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies have to be paid so much money that they make people have benefits in order to obtain care? Vast numbers of families are burdened with the realities of members having stopped medical care and died because they couldn’t pay their medical bills. Some of these families held benefits; some didn’t. Again, I say as loud as I can: Medical care is just too expensive.

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