Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is it a broken system?

At the beginning of August, I had a seizure. This was not the first time I'd dealt with some sort of seizure activity; I was diagnosed as having a seizure disorder when I was in high school. However, I've never had one of this magnitude and it involved a trip to the E.R. and an overnight stay in the hospital. Since then, it's meant getting used to a new medicine and not driving for three months. All of these things are hassles to deal with, but certainly not impossible.

What has been more troubling since then have been the financial issues that have come up. Because this is considered a pre-existing condition (and I had about a year and a half of having no insurance at all, due to job things), guess who's got a lot of medical bills being sent to her house? That being said, almost none of this is being paid for by my insurance company.

This is not a blog about healthcare policy or politics; I am not informed enough to be able to share that. However, what these thoughts are about is my story. It's my story of having a chronic illness that I will more than likely always struggle with, and my constant struggles to deal with insurance companies. There is a deep frustration and constant anxiety that can accompany chronic medical problems. When issues flare up, one just wants to feel normal and to not feel helpless (epilepsy feels helpless in ways that I can't even begin to describe). One wants to not feel at the mercy of medicine and doctors, and the frustration can feel intense. And when insurance issues and medical bills are piled on top of that, things can feel near impossible.

The reason I share all this is basically to pose the question, "What do we do?" The system we have now does not seem to work for the majority of people I know. I have one friend who cannot get covered by any insurance company because her height and weight are not proportionate. I have thousands of dollars in medical bills at my house due to one night in the hospital. My thought is that there must be another way...I just don't know what it is. Is it a universal plan like other countries have? Is it Obama's plan? I have no idea.

I write this not to complain about what has happened, or to have people tell me what I should do. This is a problem that is much bigger than me or what I've dealt with. This is a problem that is so much bigger than my one hospital visit. This is a problem that very, very real and that affects everyone. In addition, I do feel that as Christians, this is something we need to take seriously, because I think this has spiritual implications. If we are called to take care of the poor, the homeless, the orphan, the widow, the sick, and those who need care, we need to figure out a better way of approaching healthcare issues.

I hate to bring up a problem and not offer a solution, but that's exactly what I'm going to do. Thoughts welcome, but please be nice.