Thursday, July 23, 2009

Your fear is worse than what you're afraid of

I do not have health insurance. Aside from a few scattered patches of time in my very early childhood and two jobs during my adult life, I've never had health insurance.

And it didn't matter. Because we saved money, ate healthily, brushed our teeth, and paid cash to the dentist, fitting in when he had an opening - and for an business that spends months and years chasing insurance payments and hours per claim fighting for its money, they're willing to give a nice hefty discount for folding green stuff up front, on the counter. For the few times I was bad enough to need a doctor, we went to the family doc, paid cash, and got treated so we could go back to running around the woods, hunting, fishing, biking without helmets, swimming in irrigation ponds, and doing normal kids things.

When I fell down, I picked myself up and kept running. When I got sick, I stayed home from school. Or I went to school anyway. When I got a splinter, I picked it out with my own pocketknife, and cut the eye off a fishhook so I could push it out much the same way. When I broke a toe, I wrapped it and kept on going. Sure, I have a few scars that aren't banded with neat lines of stitches, but they healed all the same. I didn't stop living life for fear of injury.

I never had air conditioning. I still don't like it - people keep their houses and businesses so cold that walking in is a shock to the system, and walking out is worse. Air conditioning is a way of conditioning yourself to be a prisoner in your own home, tied to your tv for entertainment.

Now that I'm an adult, I do as my parents did - I save money so when I get sick, I can take care of myself. When I got crushed between two cars by an idiot who didn't look where they were going last summer, I had enough saved to get through the next months of no or part-time work, and pay for medicines and medical bills. No, I "can't afford" the ER or the MRI's in cash up front - by the way, for those of you who never had to do more than a copay so it's a huge scary unknown, the ER usually runs about $1000/hr. But you know what? As long as you are willing to pay, and to make a good faith effort towards paying, medical billers are pretty darn friendly and easy to work with. They're also pretty used to dealing with slightly spacey (medicated) people.

The idiot who crushed me between my front bumper and her rear bumper got a $75 fine. Her insurance company has yet to pay. But life goes on - I've already paid off the ambulance bill, one small amount per month at a time. Even if her insurance company never pays, I'll still be fine, and still able to pay the whole thing off in a few years. Sure, I haven't eaten out much since then, and I've only bought one vest and one pack of new socks for myself since the accident, but boo hoo.

Don't be so easily motivated for the sake of "the uninsured." Don't be so scared of being uninsured, either. For damn sure don't let your senators get away with mandating that I have to be on a government-rationed health care plan, because you know what? When I go to the doctor, I put a lot of effort into making sure I get my money's worth of doctor, and that I follow the instructions well enough that I don't have to go back! I defy you to tell me that's true of most people who only have to put a $20 copay or none at all into their medical care!

So, speaking as one of the uninsured who is perfectly freakin' happy with her amount of health care, please call, email, and write letters to your senators and representatives and tell them to stop with the train wreck of abominations and absurdities they're trying to con(gress) us into.


  1. My sentiments exactly! I'm not currently in the same position as you. I have a job that provides my health care and your right; I don’t pay much attention to what I am getting for my $20 co pay. There have been times in my life when I didn’t have insurance and did the same as you; saved money for the unexpected. I broke my leg while I was in college and had to cough up several grand for the e-room and follow up doctor visits. Until she married me, my wife never had health insurance. Growing up her father was self employed, saved his money and had catastrophic insurance. Thank you for posting this blog and sharing your story. By the way, I found your site because of your t-crate. It looks like your taking the time and care to have a top notch machine when you finish!

  2. I better have a top-notch machine when I'm finished; shortly after she's finished a few local flights, I plan to take her down the AlCan - so even if it's not done right the first time, it'll be done right before it's done!

    Welcome, hope you enjoy the buildlog - and I hope to have more progress to show soon!