If you skim my blog you know that I am by disposition "conservative" on many issues, although such labels fail to do most folks justice.
One of the reasons I've been pretty mum on the health care debate is that I have two disabled/special needs family members. I'm in that crowd of "Something needs to be done but I don't know what" people.
Just opened the mailbox and found the pre-insurance tab for my wife's week in the hospital. She had a painful GI issue - treatment included a couple of diagnostic tests but no surgery, thank God. But it comes to
FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($50,000)
My autistic kid takes several meds. I got a look at what just one of them would cost without insurance:
TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR THIRTY PILLS
I work two jobs, the second one mainly to carry a good medical plan for my family. The deductibles will still leave me out a few thousand, but I won't have to come up with $50K for the hospital or $2K per month for the pharmacy. Still, the staggering cost of health care really comes home when you look at an invoices like these.
This keeps me humble when it comes to health care policy. More than a year's salary for a week of gastrointestinal distress is absurd, as is expecting a person to pay more than their mortgage each month for a bottle of pills.
How to make the costs realistic without devaluing and degrading care and research is a big challenge, sprawling into several aspects of our political and economic systems.