Thoughts on Health Care

An estimated 32 million uninsured people will gain coverage under [President Barrack Obama’s Affordable Care Act] the law.1

Yesterday, while on vacation in northern Vermont, I felt the unforgettable symptoms of a bladder infection coming on – I hadn’t experienced one since around 2002 but, like I said, the discomfort is something you store in your memory bank forever. My friend Karin rejected my idea of flushing my bladder out with cranberry juice and lots of water and instead suggested I call an urgent care center in South Burlington to find out their hours and if they would take my insurance card. I called and found out their service hours and that they indeed accepted my health insurance. With Karin driving we were there in a flash. I was tested, treated and got my script filled at a supermarket close by and was back home in two hours flat.

Every traveler’s nightmare is requiring medical services while vacationing outside of one’s local care service area. The spectra of having to spend long hours in an ER waiting for treatment frightens even the seasoned traveler. But the point of my writing about my experience is not from the traveler’s dilemma, rather its from the health insurance – or lack of insurance, end of a medical emergency that got me to thinking about the upcoming SCOTUS Affordable Care ruling. (Breaking news! June 28, 2012: WASHINGTON — The individual health insurance mandate is constitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, upholding the central provision of President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.1)

To receive care at the urgent care center I went to without health insurance would cost $125 just to be seen, blood and urine sample testing would be additional charges. Antibiotics for seven days would set you back more money even if the script was written for generic pills. My copay plus pills cost me $35 and I didn’t have to suffer the anguish of sitting in an ER for the excellent care I received. Karin has Vermont’s Healthcare insurance and it would have cost her out of her pocket a little more or less than I paid. If I hadn’t had any health insurance, my charges, paid upfront, would quite possibly been close to $200. That is a lot of money to scrape together if (1) you live off the grid; (2) are lucky to have at least a part time job that pays minimum wage; (3) a college student; or (4) are unemployed due to the Great Recession.

Most people that have health insurance don’t think what life would be like if they had to make do as over 12.7 million2, 3 of their brethren try to make do every day. The Haves in our society don’t tend to spend much time thinking about the Have-Nots4 at all from what is reflected back from Congress and different state governments. Christians, those of right-wing, fundamental, evangelical, conservative, tea party, anti-gay rights and republican persuasion,5, 6 tend to vilify anyone out of work, collecting unemployment7, 8 compensation and ill with preexisting ailments. It claws at their gullets knowing their tax dollars are paying people to be lazy, shiftless, good-for-nothings dragging the U S of A into the gutter. And it especially gets at their craws when the good-for-nothings are illegals, and their dependents are eating handouts at America’s trough (although this is changing9, thank God).

I believe that those of us that have jobs with benefit packages need to really examine what the true costs of services are and how these costs affect our fellow citizens. If we did so, Christian leaning or not, we wouldn’t say, write, demand the things we do to punish those that are doing without through no fault of their own. Compassion and problem-solving should rule our hearts and minds, gratitude and outreach should tamper our greedy thoughts. If we could swing our actions back to pre-Reagan 1980 times when people cared more about each other than we would be able to weather the recession with less fear and greediness – and our health care would be better off for it.


  1. The Huffington Post Political: Supreme Court Health Care Decision: Individual Mandate Survives,
  2. 8.2 unemployed, 6/2012 from Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6/28/2012,
  3. 12.7 M from Trading Economics,
  4. Pew Research Center,
  5. NY Daily News,
  6. Dochuk, Darren, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism. W. W. Norton & Company (2010)
  7. from Political Ruminations,
  8. Douglas Berger blog:
  9. The New York Times.