As most of you know, I had a Craniotomy in 2014.
That means a really hot dude in his 40’s took a very fancy tool to the back of my noggin' and fixed some shit back there. I got a lot of fun drugs and a few weeks in an intensive therapy center where I spent a lot of time telling therapists that I didn’t need a wheelchair.
As you can see I’m super nonchalant about all this.
It’s easier that way.
I get to joke about my medical history all I want now.
And I can do that because I’m fucking alive.
You see, I had this thing. It’s called health care.
For those of you that don’t know what that is, it works like this:
Me: “Hey Dad, just curious, how much did my brain surgery cost?”
Dad: “About $285,000 dollars –”
Me: “I’M SORRY, WHAT?”
Dad: “Oh, yeah.”
Me: “Did you have to sell your body parts to pay that? DAD, DO YOU COOK METH.”
Dad: “No, I don’t cook Meth, dear. We had to pay about $14,000 or so to meet our maximum and our insurance paid for the rest.”
The number $285,000 dollars didn’t make sense to me. Even $14,000 was a high amount for my messed up brain to contemplate. How could it possibly be that these numbers added up?
Even scarier, what would have happened to me if I didn’t have health care?
The answer from my parents was a bit more complex.
“Remember in the E.R.?” My mom asked.
“I remember very little,” I said. “Except for being fucking terrified.”
The Emergency Room was a very scary place for me. It was like those scenes in movies in the hospitals where everyone is running around and people are screaming and dying. I didn’t close my eyes the entire time I was there.
“There was this guy in the hall outside your room,” Mom said. “He looked really messed up. It looked like Heroine or something else. They hooked him up to an IV and then once he was sober they threw him out on the sidewalk.”
“Did they give him a bill for thousands of dollars too?” I asked.
“They folded it up and stuck it in his back pocket,”
“What if he didn’t pay it? What if he was homeless or something?”
“The hospital pays it.”
“But what about me? What if you couldn’t afford to pay those hospital bills for my surgery?”
“They would have found a way to get our money.”
I don’t know a lot of things, but I do know this:
American health care is run like a business.
If you don’t believe me, ask my mother about the THREE times I was turned away at the ER without medical imaging or hospital care because I looked fine. I mean my brain was bleeding from the inside, but hey, I looked amazing. Then, anyway.
And this is with health care.
Listen, nothing in this world is perfect, okay?
Obamacare sought to keep insurance companies from denying people the right to apply for health insurance if they had pre-existing conditions.
This is great, you guys! That’s me! I have like five of those pre-existing conditions. Including being a woman, apparently.
The problem is people are the worst and some started abusing this system which hurt insurance companies. But here’s the thing too. The health care under Obamacare? It currently covers millions of people. And once that shit goes away?
Well, hang on. I’m getting ahead of myself.
I had to do some research. Because I was a little confused. Okay I was a lot confused.
What is Trumpcare anyway? According to trumpcare.org here are the 7 points of the proposed health care bill and my take on each of them.
1. Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.
Nobody wants to pay for insurance, obviously. Do you think I like having this shit taken out of my paycheck, you peasant? Oh, I forgot this is YOU we’re talking about. You’ve probably never had to pay for anything your whole damn life, my apologies.
Listen: you know what I do enjoy though? Knowing that if my fucking head explodes that I won’t DIE. So, you know what, give me the health care. Give me all the damn health care. I’ll take two beefy health cares with some health care sprinkled on top. With a pre-existing condition on the side.
If you're curious about how Obamacare compares to Trumpcare, I found this lovely graphic courtesy of trumpcare.com:
2. Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines. As long as the plan purchased complies with state requirements, any vendor ought to be able to offer insurance in any state. By allowing full competition in this market, insurance costs will go down and consumer satisfaction will go up.
Okay, I don’t truly know what to think about this one other than that the words “full competition in this market” don’t sound like they should be in the same sentence as my health insurance. Also “consumer satisfaction.” That’s funny to me for some reason. Do I get to buy a Snicker's Bar in the ER? That would make this consumer very satisfied.
3. Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system. Businesses are allowed to take these deductions so why wouldn’t Congress allow individuals the same exemptions? As we allow the free market to provide insurance coverage opportunities to companies and individuals, we must also make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance. We must review basic options for Medicaid and work with states to ensure that those who want healthcare coverage can have it.
You know, this part sounds great. If you do your taxes, that is. I guess when I think about people “slipping through the cracks” I think back to that dude on Heroine outside of my ER room. The truth of the matter is, the hospitals will not turn you away if you don’t have health insurance. They will treat you. I mean they won’t make you a banana split from the dining hall or anything, but they’ll try their best to keep you alive. As for Medicaid, I don’t personally have it, but I know people that do. And they’re all gonna be fucked.
4. Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Contributions into HSAs should be tax-free and should be allowed to accumulate. These accounts would become part of the estate of the individual and could be passed on to heirs without fear of any death penalty. These plans should be particularly attractive to young people who are healthy and can afford high-deductible insurance plans. These funds can be used by any member of a family without penalty. The flexibility and security provided by HSAs will be of great benefit to all who participate.
I’m sorry. But do you know what I’ll be “passing on” to my “heirs?” A hot glue gun and a closet full of ripped clothing. Who the fuck even are you? Okay, so I did some research on this one. Health Savings Accounts were available under Obamacare too. HSA’s are high deductible health insurance plans with tax benefits. I’ve hit my deductible for the past couple of years, okay. Like, real quick. Do you know how expensive an MRI is? That’s beside the point, but anyway. HSA’s work in that once you hit that deductible, the insurance company starts paying. Then that money left in the HSA builds interest. And I’m asking myself…what LEFT OVER MONEY. What, you think there’s just left-over money hanging around after I pay for my Giant Metal Donut Exam (that’s what I call my MRI’s)?
Also: did you just say, “young people who are healthy who can afford…?” I SHOULD SMACK YOU. Okay, okay, so maybe it’s just me with the extensive list of medical problems and a net-worth of negative $76,000 dollars, but I mean are you serious? I know way too many young people who are not only in debt, but who are living without health care and just praying not to have anything wrong with them so that they don’t have to take out another loan or sell a kidney to take care (of that kidney).
Selling a kidney to take care of a kidney.
Damn, I’m good.
And did someone say "death penalty?" Hey, man. Everyone's thinking it. You said it.
All in favor of throwing our orange leader to the stocks say "I!"
5. Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals. Individuals should be able to shop to find the best prices for procedures, exams or any other medical-related procedure.
Hey, I like this one. I like shopping. Especially when it’s for shit that could keep me alive. I guess I just don’t see how this would really work.
Doctor: “Your next MRI is due. Here are your options, $25,000 from Images R Us, $23,500 from Donut Holes Inc, -”
Me: (checks wallet) “Nah, you know I think I’ll skip this year.”
6. Block-grant Medicaid to the states. Nearly every state already offers benefits beyond what is required in the current Medicaid structure. The state governments know their people best and can manage the administration of Medicaid far better without federal overhead. States will have the incentives to seek out and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse to preserve our precious resources.
This one? Oh, this one’s hilarious. You’d like to “seek out and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse” now, do yuh? Let’s start with you shall we- (rolls up sleeves, drags giant waste bin to White House).
Alright, alright. So I can’t throw the President of the United States in a trash can. But I really fucking want to.
I guess what scares me about this one is that states get to decide things. Isn’t this what leads to gay marriage being illegal just because a “state doesn’t want to?” States are kind of starting to sound like assholes to me. All I’m saying is, laws should be laws. I don’t like the idea of certain states opting out of something that’s right just because they feel like it.
And I’m sorry, but providing health care to people who need it is just the right thing to do.
7. Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products. Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America. Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.
Hmm. This one’s interesting. Didn’t I just read in the paper this weekend that Mr. Trumpy thinks everyone is being a giant bully to U.S. trade? Didn’t I just read that Trump has already threatened to terminate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico and thinks that the World Trade Organization is biased? Isn’t he trying to get rid of all this foreign trade nonsense? But I mean hey, if I can get some sweet new brain pills from Singapore, let’s do this man. I’m all about it.
Listen, I don’t have the answers to this whole mess.
I’m just a brain damaged comedian looking for ways to survive in this world. And right now things are okay for me. My head isn’t bleeding anymore. I can see right-side up again. We’re all good over here.
But I’m scared.
I’m scared of what the Emergency Room will look like in the next few years. I’m scared of the fact that my own doctor didn’t want me to get medical imaging because it was too expensive. I’m scared that this triage method of care will kill thousands of people like me that look fine on the outside, but are in desperate need of a closer look.
Recently, Trump acknowledged that the requirement for all individuals to have insurance, or face a fine, is un-american. And while nobody likes being fined, this isn’t a business, okay? These are people’s fucking lives.
According to a press release by Senator Charles Schumer (D) today, “Trumpcare would be a cancer on the American health care system,” he says. “Unless you’re a healthy millionaire, Trumpcare is a nightmare.”
Our bodies are so supremely fragile. We need health care like we need breathing. This isn’t a choice to be left up to politicians anymore.
Please like, comment, and share this blog. Visit the links throughout this post. Start conversations with your colleagues. Call your Congressmen and women. Sign petitions. Riot. Kick and scream.
Fight for your own lives.
Because nobody else will.