Sunday, January 8, 2012


I was discussing our medical cost predicament with a friend. We’ve broached the subject of outrageous medical costs many times butCounting Pennies it never hit home as hard as it does now. By the way, I told this friend that my Whataburger sandwiches may be coming to an end. I may just have a drink when we get together. No, not because I deem them too unhealthy but because we are in a count our pennies mode especially until we get this sorted out. We live on a budget but the budget has now sustained a major assault. Anyway, again, I don’t mind medical professionals making a great living but they should make their money by taking care of lots of patients, not charging so much for each procedure. Furthermore, the medical field has a captive audience. If we want to live, we sometimes have to go to the doctor. If we have serious problems, we have to have specialized medical care. I understand all the schooling and cost of medical education. However, the field also used to be a humanitarian profession. Doctors once accepted chickens as payment from the financially compromised if they had to. Now people have to hold benefits, file bankruptcy, and decline treatment...all in the name of medical costs. I’m not saying that doctors need to accept chickens; it’s just that medical costs are out of control. Nevertheless, for today’s blog I am digressing.

The friend and I discussed our medical situation and he came up with some solutions for our predicament. First, he suggests that I get divorced and give Eileen any and all assets. That way I will be destitute and qualify for Medicaid. Thus I can get my care for free. He said that Eileen could let me live with her as a humanitarian gesture. If she didn’t want me to live with her then I could “panhandle” in the streets. It’s illegal here now and when I got arrested I’d have a place to stay for awhile!! We had a good laugh through all the scenarios we came up with, and it was fun repeating it when I got home. Although Eileen laughed, she wasn’t all that amused!! Our younger son suggested that we not get divorced. Instead, give our assets to the kids…then we could go live on the street!!

While the levity was helpful, it does point to a predicament of our society. Medical care is basically free to those who don’t work or save. For those who do, medical costs can make you destitute to the point of being our number one cause of bankruptcy. Even for those who do work, something seems wrong when they take vacations around the world, regularly go on cruises, and then qualify for government (tax payer) subsidies from everything to student scholarships to nursing home coverage. Those who save seem to be targets of the politicians for the benefit of those who don’t work and/or don’t save. Even so, who can save enough to pay for today’s medical care? Even our office visit co-pay went from $25.00 to $100.00 per visit this year. That’s a lot of counting pennies!! Have I mentioned lately that medical care is just too expensive?!

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