Wednesday, October 20, 2004

One in 45 Million

Since early August, I've had a medical problem. What it is is my business, but the two months of medication I've been taking hasn't made it go away. So, today, I went to the doctor. He recommended blood tests and a sonogram. I thought only women get those, but I guess not.

At the office and at the testing facility, I was asked what insurance I have. "I don't have insurance," I replied. And the look I got...

Why should I be made to feel ashamed because of this? I'm a young professional, fresh out of college. I've made a choice to work for a startup company that, right now, can't afford to give its employees benefits. I don't qualify for my parents' insurance because I don't live at home. For the near future, I'll be living check-to-check. Why does this make me a bad person in the eyes of people whose job it is to help me?

Of course, technically, I'm not uninsured. I'm a "private patient." That's a nice way of sugarcoating a condition, isn't it? Someone who's "private" is in business for himself. An entrepreneur. Doesn't make you think of someone who's out of work, or doesn't make enough to afford premiums, and can't qualify for Medicaid. Doesn't bring to mind someone who's fallen through the cracks in the system.

Health care isn't about money, or at least it shouldn't be; it should be about making sick people better. Whether or not I can afford to carry a little card around in my wallet shouldn't matter to the person across the desk. No one should be 22 years old and afraid to go to the doctor.


Jane Vincent said...

ah, yes. the sonogram. i had a couple of those over the summer. fun stuff. are you looking foward to endoscopies and other scoping procedures, or strictly noninvasive imaging techniques. sonograms and ultrasounds and cat scans are more precise versions of x-rays (allowing for pictures of different types of stuff inside). they just use different waves and technology (which you know more about than me). regardless, they are not just a chick thing. see if you can get referals to a cheap/free/sliding scale clinic. and make sure your primary care provider suggesting these tests knows of your uninsured state (that way they won't suggest unnecessary procedures). best of luck.

Michael said...

I think it'll be noninvasive. I know how much it'll cost, although I don't know if it's cheap or not. He did know I was uninsured; in fact, he mentioned that the blood work was going to be sent to an affordable clinic.

Honestly, I just want this over with as soon as possible.