Plan will reduce unpaid med bills

  • Follow Letters

In 1981, when my mom got stage-four breast cancer, I remember going with her to the hospital for her to get chemotherapy. I was 11 years old. Each time we went, the receptionist made sure to tell my mom she owed money on her bill. I remember the receptionist being angry, but most of all I will never forget how upset Momma was as the receptionist embarrassed her (as there was a full waiting room).

My mom was the sole provider of my family. She worked 50-plus hours a week, yet never had enough money to have health insurance. All my mom wanted was to have the chance to live and to be there for her children.

After her chemo treatments, Momma would have to pull off the road to throw up at least twice before making it home. She told me they had medicines to help her, but she couldn’t afford to pay for them. I cannot tell you how she suffered. She never wanted to steal or take anything from anyone. She was only fighting for her life.

WHEN HER CANCER returned in 1985, her doctor wanted her to do radiation and chemo. Because she had a pre-existing condition (having already had cancer), no insurance company would take her. When my mom died in 1986, after months of being in excruciating pain, she owed more than $200,000.

While she could, she paid $200 a month toward her bill, but it never made a dent compared to the bills she was accruing. The amount she owed was huge in 1986, and I know there were, and are, many others like her. That’s a lot of money that we as taxpayers end up paying – even before Obamacare.

I feel very strongly as an American we need to make sure each of us has health insurance, because no child should ever see their loved ones suffer because they can’t afford medical care. The billions of dollars of unpaid bills that already exist is a huge reason many of us are forced to pay more – and more than many of us can afford, that’s for sure.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S health-care plan actually will reduce the amount of unpaid health-care bills, which ultimately will reduce the amount we are all paying. If we are not helping our fellow Americans get health care, whether we like it or not, the amount of unpaid bills will continue to increase, which will affect us all anyway.

The bottom line for me is that everyone deserves quality health care. No one should have to suffer because they can’t afford medicine, nor should they have to choose death because they can’t afford treatment. I feel strongly that my mom would be here today if she had had that opportunity of good health care.

Each and every life that exists is special. I would never suggest that if one has no money then one deserves their fate of possible death. I will never succumb to the ideology that it is those with money who deserve not to suffer. Sometimes we are unlucky. Sometimes “loving thy neighbor” isn’t so easy – but it’s the right thing to do. It’s what I call being a mensch.

(The writer is an Augusta resident.)

Comments (12) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 07/15/12 - 12:25 am
4
6
Oh Boy
Unpublished

Oh Boy

Conservative Man
5564
Points
Conservative Man 07/15/12 - 11:01 am
5
4
Of course!!

Unpaid medical bills WILL decrease...because as fewer doctors enter practice and millions more people are thrust into the system, there will be fewer people receiving healthcare....Voila! Fewer unpaid bills!!!
As I've said before ....the whole system will become a death panel...
Oh Happy Day!!!

avidreader
3215
Points
avidreader 07/15/12 - 11:56 am
6
2
Sympathy!

Ms. Breland, I sympathize with your plight and God bless your departed mother. I am not a doomsday guy concerning a national heath care plan; I am a critic of a government that mismanages money to the extremes. National entitlements are perversely out of control. I am compassionate toward the downtrodden, but I also have to protect the well-being of my family, and secure a reasonable retirement.

Even as a state employee, I pay over $300 per month for insurance (and yes, it's a top-of-the-line plan with dental care included). I'm a school teacher, and as we all know, my job provides an income in the dead center of the middle class. I am not a miser, and I would be willing to pay extra to contribute to those such as your mom. However, I simply want to know the details of Mr. Obama's plan. Pure and simple, post the details, step by step, on a webpage so I can examine them. Until I am afforded this luxury (ha!), I will continue to protest against Mr. Obama and his shady dealings (and it's not just Mr. Obama; it's EVERY president).

I am sick and tired of being railroaded by tax-grabbing politicos. I want to know where my hard-earned dollars are going. Someone, somewhere has this information. Can Mr. Obama provide it? Can MaLea Breland provide it?

Scratch
147
Points
Scratch 07/15/12 - 12:46 pm
3
3
My Sympathy As Well. But...

The reality is that healthcare providers who treat the uninsured receive no payment in most cases. They may increase charges for others who are insured in order to mitigate the financial losses of treating the uninsured. Obamacare will have little effect on this reality despite gov't subsidy to "the poor" who may or may not purchase insurance from an exchange. There is no fiscally responsible way to add tens of millions to the roles of the insured without drastically increasing the costs. IMO the solution is to (1) provide incentives for all citizens to establish medical savings accounts that are invested by accredited brokers, (2) eliminate employer-based health insurance benefits thereby enabling employees to receive higher pay in order to contribute to their MSAs, (3) require patients to pay the providers for services, (4) end all gov't mandates like requiring all plans to include family planning, mental health, and addiction services even when there is little or no risk of the insured ever using those services, and (5) authorize gov't provided vouchers for the truly poor to use to purchase catastrophic health insurance and/or pay for routine and preventive care. These measures would markedly reduce the overhead cost of private providers who would no longer have to deal with gov't or commercial insurers (except for hospitalizations and major outpatient surgery - so called "catatrophic care"), provide adequate funds later in life when they are most likely to be needed, and provide incentives for healthy lifestyles. Obamacare does nothing to reduce the cost of care. In fact it does just the opposite in many ways.

itsanotherday1
43014
Points
itsanotherday1 07/15/12 - 07:45 pm
2
1
So, why can't we just have a

So, why can't we just have a narrowly defined bill to help people like this rather than upending the entire health care system? For virtually every failing in the system, I can give an overview of how to fix it; which is what conservatives want to do, fix them one by one rather than go down the road to single payer. And make no mistake, single payer is the end game for Obama and the Democrats.

happychimer
17549
Points
happychimer 07/15/12 - 07:51 pm
2
3
We spend more money on wars

We spend more money on wars than it would take for our people's healthcare. killing people but not providing medical care. Something is wrong with this picture.

Jake
32530
Points
Jake 07/15/12 - 08:27 pm
2
3
Agreed

happychimer I agree with your statement. Our "wars" (at least since WWII) have been fought with an agenda that is not in our best national interests. We waste a lot of money on armaments that we will never use while our citizens like Ms Breland's mother are left without the care that they need. Before Obamacare is condemned I would like to see how it will work and if it needs tweaking.

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 07/15/12 - 09:41 pm
2
4
the belief that fewer doctors

the belief that fewer doctors will be available, either through early retirement or refusing to undertake the profession, to treat the 40 million or so new'ish patients is a myth. the medical schools in the usa have no shortage of applicants. what they do have is a shortage of slots available. i believe the year class size at mcg is around 60. perhaps someone could confirm this? much of the burden of delivering basic healthcare could be handled through an enhanced nurse practioner network.

for a look into the "salaried physician vs. fee for service" model the mayo clinic is using as a method to reduce costs and encourage more positive outcomes, read: http://www.geisinger.org/news/ar_09.pdf

Gage Creed
17203
Points
Gage Creed 07/15/12 - 09:51 pm
3
1
Salaried physican eh? Been to

Salaried physican eh? Been to the DMV lately?

KSL
129325
Points
KSL 07/15/12 - 11:40 pm
1
0
Bantana, of those applicants

Bantana, of those applicants how many plan to return to their native countries? I honestly don't know. Just don't throw out one stat without backup for legitimate questions of that stat.

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 07/16/12 - 06:13 am
1
0
Bantana, I like information

Bantana, I like information to come straight from the horses mouth and it looks like 83% of doctors have considered quitting because of Obamacare, so yes, there will be a shortage of doctors. Even if doctors do not quit their jobs over the ruling, America will face a shortage of at least 90,000 doctors by 2020, by 2025 the shortage will balloon to over 130,000.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/07/poll_83_of_doctors_have_cons...

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 07/16/12 - 10:43 am
1
0
the american medical

the american medical association has endorsed the affordable care act.
the ama is the oldest and largest professional group representing physicians in the usa. i read your link from liberty university, which is hardly a paragon of scholarly research or recognized as a non-partisan entity and, as expected, found it to be less than crafty in it's manipulative intent. the quote from a lobbyist concerning the need for more physicians did not attribute that need to anything associated with the affordable care act. and as to the professionalism and enthusiasm of salaried physicians...well, my specialist physician is a salaried employee and i'm pleased with his performance. the shortage of physicians has nothing to do with the affordable care act, but rather with the increasing poor health of our sadly obese citizens, the aging population and the failure of medical colleges to address the demand for more physicians and nurse practioners.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 07/16/12 - 05:11 pm
0
0
yes Con...Man has it right.
Unpublished

yes Con...Man has it right. People will turn to careers in plumbing, electronics and food service instead of persuing a career in medicine. Right. And I thought the medical field was controlled by doctors (AMA) who limit the number of people attending schools and the number of people allowed to imigrate here and practice medicine.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 07/16/12 - 06:05 pm
0
0
Funny, I have never met a
Unpublished

Funny, I have never met a person, except for politicians, who was a former doctor. Which raises a serious question. Why are we allowing doctor, who are in a serious shortage, to be elected to political offices? I mean why did they enroll in a medical school, which has extremely limited slots for students, if they didn't intend to make that their life long career. And why do they keep their licenses if they are out of their fields for years?

Mrs. Peel
26
Points
Mrs. Peel 07/30/12 - 02:28 am
0
0
The AMA represents only 17%

The AMA represents only 17% of America's physicians, so their endorsement of Obamacare shouldn't be held up as the same as that of most American doctors. As a physician, I can tell you that I, along with the majority of private physicians, have always had an awful lot of "bad debt." (Because of patients who run up a bill they just can't pay and either default on the debt or declare bankruptcy or are forgiven that debt by the doctor, and then there are the deadbeats who never intended to pay. It's very hard to turn your back on a patient because s/he lost a job or could no longer afford insurance or just ran on hard times. Most doctors just continue to treat at no charge.) This is unpaid medical care that is not measurable, because it can't be written off in taxes, so there's no way of knowing how much free care has been given over the years. And doctors are, and will continue to be leaving private practice in droves, so all that previous free care will soon have to be paid for. And we all are the ones who will pay. New doctors are being trained, but it takes from seven to nine or more years to train a physician, and only a relative handful graduate into practice each year, so the increase of doctors will be very slow, and not nearly fast enough to take care of the millions of newly insured patients that could be dumped into the system in a few years.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Clemson halts mandatory student sex survey

CLEMSON, S.C. - Clemson says it has suspended a mandatory survey of students the school says was part of a review to prevent sexual discrimination, harassment and assault.
Search Augusta jobs