Monday, February 07, 2005

Snippet re National Health Plan

I'm home sick today.  Got the flu.  Temp. of 102.1 yesterday.  I got a flu shot, but I got it a couple of weeks ago: probably too late to do any good.  No, a national health plan would not have done anything to prevent that.  I mention it only so people won't think I'm blogging from work. 

What I'm writing about it this.  My wife's parent's live in a small town.  She spoke with them on the phone earlier today.  Apparently, there's a young lady there who also has the flu.  She works in a restaurant, but took a couple of days off.  Now, her employer wants a doctor's note before she can come back.  That's reasonable, since you don't want people working in a restaurant if they're contagious. The problem is, she does not have insurance.  She can't afford to see a doctor.  She would be a new patient, and the fee for a new patient is $175.  They want the money up front, since she doesn't have insurance.  Since she's missed work already, she's lost some income, and she barely gets by as it is.  And, unless she gets back to work, she won't make any money. 

This person, whoever she is, will do what people do it this situation.  She'll go to an emergency department somewhere.  They'll give her a hard time, for using emergency services for something that is not an emergency, and they will send her a bill, which she won't be able to pay.  Instead of $175, it will be something like $500.  But, at least she will be able to go back to work, so she won't loose her apartment.  It'll just go on her credit report as another unpaid bill.  So if she later wants to get a or a car loan, she'll end up paying higher interest.  And she can forget about getting a mortgage.

You know what "they" say: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  This kind of thing is one of the reasons for that.  Here you have someone who has a job, does her job, but is just going to get further behind.  Forget about the "ownership society."  That's a bunch of nonsense.  She's never going to own anything of substance.