Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sometimes I Just SMH*!

I’ve lived through a bunch of years (57) and have been in a classroom with outrageous teenagers for over half my life (35), so I didn’t think I could be shocked by much anymore. I’ve had and observed many shocking experiences just by being alive and in the line of work I was in; however, now that I have time to sit and think about events, I tend to have that jaw-dropping feeling more often. Some of the recent events follow:

Shocker #1

The Presidential candidates – How is it that in the “greatest country in the world,” the really strange people run for president? Is it scary to you or am I just too old or maybe too liberal? I look at the list of candidates and can’t believe that people would actually vote for some of these people. When I voiced my opinion about Donald Trump to my mom, she said that Trump was another George Wallace. People of her generation were impressed with how forceful Wallace was in his bids for the Alabama governorship and presidency, but people in my generation remember Wallace for his fanaticism about race. Voters in the present generation only remember Wallace from the small clip in the movie Forrest Gump. 

In this country, anyone can run for political office if she/he meets the qualifications, and that’s great! However, when I think of Trump as President, all I can visualize is his possible meeting with Kim Jong-un for a nuclear peace agreement. Trump starts his normal ranting and raving and then simply walks out of the meeting. He reminds me of little kids on the playground who get mad at their friends and stomp off while saying, “I’m taking my toys and going home!”

Shocker #2

The cost of cancer treatment in America – A few months ago, my husband went through a series of radiation and chemotherapy treatments for a cancerous area in his lung. That’s all over and done, but now the benefit statements from the insurance company have shown up in the mail over the last couple of weeks. He doesn’t even open them to see how much his medical treatments cost because he has two insurance policies that cover everything. I always open them just to see how much these medical charges total. Having never paid for cancer treatment, I must tell you that I was totally shocked at the amounts.

My husband had 38 radiation sessions. Each treatment lasted about 10 minutes. The cost of each treatment was $2,530.80 for a grand total of $96,170.40. The cost of one of his four chemotherapy treatments was $15,732.81 for a total of $62,931.24. These costs do not include doctors’ fees or any pharmaceutical supplies.

I’ve written about the costs of medical care in this “greatest country in the world” in an earlier post, but I’m still shocked that these charges are so much. How does a family with no insurance pay bills like this? I’m not talking about the poor people who are fortunate enough to have Medicaid. I’m talking about the middle-class family who can’t afford insurance or who has the minimum policy required now.

This post isn’t supporting one Presidential candidate or political party over another (but I’m a Democrat who has only once voted for a Republican because he was my former student and I didn’t vote for him for re-election). As Americans we have the right to choose whomever we want. I just hope, like many generations before me have hoped, that the voters study the platform of the candidate and don’t vote according to theatrical actions they see in the media. This election may be real life, but it’s not reality TV.

When deciding your candidate, check out what he/she has planned for healthcare. The older you get, the more important it will be to you. 

(*SMH -- Shake My Head)