What does health care reform mean to me?

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I’ve been working at The Star-News going on four years now and during that time only had to use my health insurance three times.

The first time — and I promise I’m not making this up — I had to go to the doctor because I slipped and fell in some peach juice.

I think it was my middle child who spilt the cotton-picking things and didn’t tell anyone. There were no sign of the sweet orbs on the floor but I knew it was peaches — especially considering the fact that when my feet came out from underneath me and head hit the floor, the sticky aroma exploded as the droplets from the puddle landed on my face.

I thought I broke my foot. Turns out it was only a sprain. That trip to the doctor and x-ray cost me $200, with my insurance, which without naming companies, is of the blue variety.

Second time, a spider bit me. Got the scar to prove it.

That trip wasn’t as hard on my pocketbook as it was on my arm. A couple of antibiotics, a cream and one co-pay later, I was out the door for less than $60.

This last trip, however, I’m still waiting to see the bill for it — was for the dreaded “F” word. Cost me $35 just to see the doctor, plus who knows what for the Q-tip up the nose and the drugs? Let’s just say, “Wow.”

If the average person like me spends an estimated $200 a year for health care treatment alone, what would universal health care mean to me?

I think the answer in my case, and others who are in their 20s to their late 30s, would be pretty simple — universal health care, from what I understand as it’s proposed, would be a viable solution.

On the flip side, we have those who require extensive, specialized and long-term health care. If I had to put a price tag what it has cost in the last six years for one of my children, I would have to quit after the Lear jet ride from Pensacola, Fla., to Birmingham and the two-month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit — especially considering that was all before she was 6 months old.

For those who require that extensive, specialized long-term health care, what would a government operated universal health care system mean?

Would it mean not having our elderly population chose between groceries or medicine or would it mean Uncle Sam telling me that my daughter’s future isn’t an economic investment he’s willing to make or one he’s willing to make up to a certain point?

The answer is, “I don’t know” and I’m willing to bet that no one else — including the president or the countless lawyers it took to draft that humongous bill — know either.

So where does that leave us?

Right where we started from — paying out of pocket for health insurance premiums, praying to the good Lord above no one gets sick and wondering how the whole kit and caboodle affects me.