Friday, December 22, 2006

No Money Down!

Go to the emergency room at the very beginning of October. A few weeks later, bills start straggling in as the "health" insurance company turns down both the provider and the patient. A few hundred here, a hundred there, it's not as bad as you feared. That's good, because you're responsible for paying it.

Three days before Christmas the friggin' bomb drops, blam. The insurance company is pleased to inform you that you've actually met your deductible, so they are going to pick up $75 of a $1500 bill. Oh but wait! Your copay for this service is $75, so you owe the whole thing. And the $1300 premium is overdue, too.

Health care costs remind us what happens to the sick and injured in nature: they get eaten, sometimes eaten alive. If you're a small animal, it takes less of a blow to take you out. That's just how it goes.

We've used our monetary economy as a metaphor to replace real nature. If you go broke you might as well be dead, dropping into the ghostlike ranks of the poor, with whom no one will make eye contact. We all believe, though not all of us admit to it, that the less financially solvent are responsible for their own plight. And it's probably true. Anyone who really wants to can do whatever it takes to get into a well-paid job. Sharpen those claws.

Credit companies stand ready to offer a compassionate hand to those less fortunate. See earlier reference to being eaten alive. Putting your crises on credit is just like having strips of flesh ripped from your living body, digging even more bleeding wounds.

If I'd really had a cardiac problem, much bigger bills would be piling up along with the insurance premiums. I can't bitch. But I'll tell you this: next time I just crawl off into the woods to heal or die on my own. At least you know right then and there how it's going and what you're paying.

When I would take solo adventures on land and water, I moved as an animal moves, calculating every risk because any injury could end up fatal. So it should be in the adventure of life. Health care is for the rich. The rest of us are really on our own.

To be honorable, you have to forego all care. Don't accept anything you can't afford. The care providers are required to treat you if you show up. So don't show up. It's scary, I know, but it's the right thing to do. Life belongs to those who have the strength to take it. That means either good health or the finances to afford ill health. If you don't have either one, bend your neck graciously so the predators can reach your throat and the scavengers can clean your carcass. You no longer deserve to be here.

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