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Toilet plungers & health care
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I needed a toilet plunger the other day, and life is never good when you need a toilet plunger. And the worse thing is, I did not have one.

I thought I had one, but somebody else discarded it and failed to inform me. So I made an announcement not to use the defective bathroom, but my dictate was either ignored or forgotten, and when I got home that night (with a plunger) I had a nasty mess to contend with in addition to repairing the commode malfunction.

Eventually, everything was rectified and was returned to working order. But as with most problems, this one was preventable. Had I been informed that the plunger was discarded, I would have had one waiting in the wings.

 A lot of people do not think that way though. Instead of having a replacement in the works, they will discard something with no regard for the ramifications of life without it. Does that sound like anything in the news today?

It is no secret that the new majority party in the House of Representatives wants to do away with President Obama’s health-care package, and will hold a largely ceremonial vote to that effect shortly. There is no chance that will get past the Senate, but it is something people will be able to hang their hat on.

Why not come up with an alternative plan and then present it? Or is it easier just to say no?

As I write this, my wife is home after two weeks in the hospital with a massive hospital bill to settle. Fortunately, I have pretty good health insurance through my employer, so I will not have much of a bill to pay.

But what if I did not have the coverage that I have? Well, I would not have a house now, that is for sure. Over the last three years I have totaled over a month in the hospital – with some of that time in ICU – so I shudder to think of the massive amount of medical debt that has been settled on my account.

Notice I spoke of debt that had been settled as opposed to debt that had been paid, because since I have insurance, the amount paid is very often not the amount billed as the insurance company dictates to the medical world what will be paid and what must be written off, or the insurance company will not do business with an entity.

Some time ago I ended up in the hospital twice for the same malady in a six-month period, and both times required a five-day hospital stay. The treatment was the same each time, all the way down to the ultrasound that had to be done. The difference was the type of facility: one was a public hospital in Pennsylvania and the other a private hospital here in town – with the public hospital having two-bed rooms and the private one-bed rooms.

The difference in cost?: Approximately $7,000 for the public hospital and nearly $30,000 for the for-profit hospital. for exactly the same treatment, exactly the same amount of time. My insurance paid the $7,000 bill in full but paid significantly less than the $30,000. But had I not had insurance, things would have got ugly in a hurry.

One of the scare tactics for those beating the drum of no is that health care will be rationed with any sort of federal mandate. Well, I submit that we already have rationed health care – the haves have it and the have-nots do not. With only so much to go around, then some of the haves may have to wait a bit since the previously disenfranchised would now be cared for.

But isn’t that what this country is supposed to be about? Or do we just let them eat cake?

Sometimes, it is better to work with what you have rather then to chuck it with nothing to take its place. I know my life would have been easier and less messy had the plunger not been jettisoned.

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