Sam Stein has a report, with video, on the pronouncement from Rep. Peter King (R-NY):
But on Monday, one GOP lawmaker went off message. Appearing on MSNBC, Rep. Peter King, (R-N.Y.) declared that health care reform was “not a major issue among the American people.”
Sure, it’s not for Peter King. He has taxpayer funded health care — and he’s been on the public payroll for most of his adult life. He’s been in Congress since 1993. From 1981 til then, he was the Nassau County Comptroller. Taxpayers have taken care of his health insurance for decades.
But, we’ve been getting reports from people who do struggle with health insurance. And, many of these people aren’t the uninsured. These are people who have insurance, but still get screwed. I found this email instructive, partly because I’m self-employed and because I’m originally from Maine:
I work for myself in Maine. You think you’ve got it tough in DC (and you do) but here’s what I paid last year in healthcare costs:
Doctors, Labs and prescriptions a total of $2384.09, plus another $2690.24 for eye care and dental. My premium to Anthem (the Blue Cross of Maine) for the year were 4121.76, so I paid 9196.09 last year, which was almost 20% of what I grossed. It could be worse.
Basically, it is catastrophic coverage and that’s almost all we can get in Maine. The cost for anything more is prohibitive. For example, the cost for HMO Basic would be 1217.60 per month – which I determined using the link to the find Anthem’s price quote. So, instead, I pay everything up to $5000, with the added “benefit” of the insurance company negotiating. Not sure how they calculate these items – but would guess that doctor’s charge a higher fee knowing it is going to be negotiated down.
Self-employed people currently get screwed by insurance companies. But, Peter King may not know any of us. All of his pals on the Hill — and his staff — have excellent insurance. No wonder they’re not worried.
There’s more from the reader from Maine after the break — with an analysis of yearly costs. It’s wrong what insurers do in this country. This debate should be about the insurance industry.
Here’s the rest. Keep in mind, this person has insurance:
My monthly premium for 2008 was $343.48 per month (up to $385.36 as of July 1, 2009). The plan has a $5000 deductible. The price includes the Preventative Care Rider ($20.41 per month) which covers the cost of my annual physical as follows: annual exams; max benefit is $100 per exam and $100 for x-ray/lab for each covered visit; mammography screening, screening pap when test recommended by a physician, prostate specific antigen test, flu vaccines.
Doctors bills were high last year because I had biopsies on my thyroid in February and December. Thankfully, when I went this year, I didn’t need a biopsy so instead of costing about $750 per occurence, I only paid $167.00. Honestly, my concern was never the test results, it was always the cost – of the doctor’s visit, the biopsy, the labs and potential surgery. With this plan you’re meant to have $5000 set aside “just in case”. In this economy, it simply isn’t realistic.
My prescription costs were low last year because I stopped taking my Advair (too expensive at $146.47), but after being sick this winter and being admonished by my doctor I went back on it and now purchase it through canadapharmacy.com for $259.00 for a 3-month supply. A “savings” of $721 per year. Of course, the $1036 I do pay does not count toward my deductible. Just FYI – it cost $50 to purchase lifetime shipping – individually it is $10/prescription and $5 for non-prescription.
My Simvastatin (generic cholesterol drug) was just over $50 per month, so I pretty much quit that as well. I now have a plan through my supermarket, Hannaford, which sells generics for less like Wal-Mart – a 3-month supply is 14.99. My grocery store is more concerned with my health – and keeping me as a consumer for years to come – than my health insurance company.
I recently went on Fluticasone (generic Flonase) and purchase it through canadapharmacy.com for 103.00 for a 3-month supply. Can’t remember what the cost was when I checked here, but definitely more expensive. It is a non-prescription medication in Canada. Again, $412 that doesn’t go toward my deductible.
No eye or dental coverage although it appears that my eye examine counted towards my deductible. I had to have a crown last year, so that hurt bother literally and financially.
It’s not easy staying healthy in America. And, it’s not cheap.