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Category: News

My Life was Worth $75,121.33

Gee, thanks. Those "explanations" really cleared things up!

Gee, thanks. Those “explanations” really cleared things up!

I often tell people I had Cancer Lite. Gun to your head, you’d probably go with testicular. It’s not that I make light of my experience, as certain aspects of it were hell, but all things considered it was a very treatable form with a very high chance of cure / treatment / remission / whatever the hell I’m in now.

Two weeks ago Steven Brill was a guest on The Daily Show. He’s a journalist who recently wrote a cover story for Time magazine shedding light on the absurd health care costs in our country. My Kindle pegs most articles I read at 15-20 minutes long. This one? Over 90 minutes.

You need to read it. The opening paragraphs details Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old man with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who was charged $83,900 for procedures that only cost around $15,000. He paid $1.50 for a single generic Tylenol. It cost him $283 for chest x-rays that Medicare patients get done for $20.44. The list goes on and on (and on and on and on and on.)

The article got me thinking about my own foray into the health care industry. To be completely fair, I had health insurance that didn’t try to screw me, by which I mean they upheld the agreement we made when I read the fine print and signed on the dotted line in 2009. Maybe I lucked out and got one of the good ones, maybe my insanely high yearly deductible was enough to satisfy them, or maybe it’s because they were happy to have an excuse to jack my premiums every year since (which they have.)

In 2010 I discovered the lump, had outpatient surgery to remove it, and there were a few doctor visits before and after both events. In 2011 I had monthly checkups, each taking around 15 minutes of “doctor time,” in addition to standard monthly blood tests, quarterly chest x-rays, and a few CT scans. Those led to discovering the tumors, which led to thirteen weeks of chemotherapy. Although if I recall correctly, I was only in the hospital for a total of 22 sessions, ranging from four to six hours each. In 2012 I was back to periodic exams and basic tests. The cost? Just over $75,000. And it’s not over yet.

Remember, this is Cancer Lite we’re talking about here. It wasn’t non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or even stage III testicular cancer. Had I not had health insurance, I might not be bankrupt, but I’d be seriously fucked financially.

The quality of health care in this country is outstanding. I’m a living testament to it and not many people are trying to argue otherwise. But the health care industry? It’s fucked. It’s beyond fucked. There’s a reason every other industrialized nation in the world, and even half of the third world countries like Cuba, look at what we’ve set up here in the states and shake their heads.

Now how about we do something about it?

We need a federal agent at every…

Aaaaaand that’s a burn.

Rodrigo Rosenberg Knew That He Was About To Die

I’m almost ashamed to admit I knew nothing of the events exquisitely reported in this article.

As Rosenberg dug deeper into the subterranean world of Guatemalan politics, he told friends that he had begun receiving threats himself. One day, Mendizábal says, Rosenberg gave him a phone number to write down — it was the number that showed up on his caller I.D. when he received the threats.

Rosenberg told friends that his apartment was under surveillance, and that he was being followed. “Whenever he got into the car, he was looking over his shoulder,” his son Eduardo recalled. From his apartment window, Rosenberg could look across the street and see an office where Gustavo Alejos, President Colom’s private secretary, often worked. Rosenberg told Mendizábal that Alejos had called him and warned him to stop investigating the Musas’ murders, or else the same thing might happen to him. Speaking to Musa’s business manager, Rosenberg said of the powerful people he was investigating, “They are going to kill me.” He had a will drawn up.

Set aside 30 minutes and have a read. You won’t regret it.

[via Kottke]

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