Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unequal distribution of medical treatment

Yesterday I said I was going to the dentist (and no cavities). Something I really hate and would prefer to skip but with my medical history (insert blah, blah, blah here) I try to be proactive about medical stuff as opposed to the what if scenario. I don't mean that going to the dentist is going to prevent cancer or something but oral hygiene is relatively important.

I posted this on Facebook (my cyber hangout) and said that I disliked the dentist but would prefer it to the gynecologist or oncologist essentially. I was surprised to find out the number of people I know who have skipped the dentist due to financial constraints. I just consider it a necessary evil and go regularly.(And I try to floss daily as well but that's another story.)

I also know others who's medical coverage does not cover all their necessary tests so they skip things that they shouldn't but do so out of financial need. Or people who have cashed in their retirement to pay for cancer treatments in hopes that they will be around long enough to need their retirement.

Personally, because of my preexisting condition (a/k/a thyroid cancer) I used to pay for my own health insurance so I could not be denied care if my employer did not offer Blue Cross. Then the laws changed here in MA so you couldn't be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions and I didn't have to do this any more.

While at the gym last week, I got caught up on my quality reading (People Magazine) while on the treadmill and they had a cover story about some Hollywood personality/model or something in her early 20's who had had 10 (yes TEN) plastic surgery procedures to enhance her looks. I am sure she paid for these up front. (There was a secondary story to say that her mother was less than thrilled at this behavior. See it pays not to tick off your mother - especially when national press is involved.) We can also look at the case of Michael Jackson and how many plastic surgeries he had - again, I am sure he paid for these in full. And what about his personal doctor? We hear about the shortage of some doctors and here are people with their own personal doctor?

This all started me thinking about medical treatment and its availability and cost. To me this is what healthcare reform is all about. We live in a country that has a great medical system but some people seem to get too much of it and some people seem to get too little. This is where the imbalance is. Why should a 50 year old be missing half her teeth because she couldn't afford dental care? Why should other employed people with medical insurance skip dental (or any other) care due to poor coverage? We should all be able to take care of the routine maintenance to keep us alive and in good health until retirement. But those who want cosmetic enhancements and can afford them, should also be able to get them provided they pay in full, and some of their disposable income could possibly go to help others in need through taxes.

Okay, its over. Don't ranting. I am tired this morning and my back hurts. Why does my back hurt (besides the normal reasons)? I fell asleep on the couch watching TV which isn't good for my back and then the cat sat on me with his delicate 13 lbs which didn't help. I had to wake up to go to bed, meaning I didn't sleep that well, and then when I did wake up this morning, the cat was sitting on me again. Back pain leads to crabbiness and I have to go work with nice cheerful people. Nothing like being around cheerful people when you aren't. Its annoying to say the least.


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