Daniel Eran Dilger
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There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy

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Daniel Eran Dilger

Insurance premiums: $400

Panoramic Xrays: $350

Preparatory Orthodontics: $6,000

Going out for two binge dinners the night before: $40

Maxillofacial Surgery: $70,000

Being told Kaiser Permanente may cancel your policy on a whim after you’ve been paying premiums to them for for ten years, realizing that no other insurance would ever pick up your case, and living in a country where the president thinks everyone has health care because they can visit an emergency room: Priceless.

Also priceless: my mom wrote to tell me, “Your pic actually looks better with your face filled out!!” Certainly, a face only a mother could love. My head is actually so big the pictures can’t even capture the full effect. Even more unflattering (warning, some are gnarly) pics if you continue.
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Surgery was scary enough, but not knowing for sure it would even happen till the last moment was fairly terrifying as well. Fortunately, I was able to trump the bureaucracy of Kaiser with CalCOBRA regulations, making me happy I live in a state that forces “free market” healthcare to do certain things they are not financially motivated to do.

I’m a big supporter of the market in lowering prices and inducing innovation, but clearly healthcare fails to function in an entirely for-profit system. One of our nation’s most respected Republican presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, recognized both Social Security and transportation to be similar cases, and inaugurated the Interstate System as America’s largest socialized project ever.

The Interstate System was snuck through Congress as a defense plan (“we need Federal highways through Montana so we can truck around ICBMs”), officially titled “The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.”

Also sold to Congress as a war project was the financing of another socialized project: the Internet backbone for DARPA. And of course, our military itself is a huge socialized project, because we don’t want to trust anyone to provide that to us while cutting corners to turn a profit.

Healthcare is no different. Like most working Americans, I pay for my own healthcare and even reimburse welfare hospitals like San Francisco General Hospital when they scrape me off the pavement at regular intervals and stitch me back together. However, when my insurance company can decide pretty much at any time to cancel my coverage and leave me screwed because of a business decision, we have a problem the market can’t fix.

Nobody can or will offer me alternative, competitive coverage after they find out I’m four weeks away from a $70,000 surgery that I’ve paid thousands of dollars out of pocket for in preparation. Healthcare has to be viewed as a right of citizens just like education, and just like our Federal roads, military, and other socialized infrastructure (including airports and traffic control) that both Democrats and Republicans support.

If you vote for Barak Obama, America will take steps toward providing healthcare for all Americans. If you buy into the “free market healthcare” ideas, including the idea the the ER is “access to healthcare,” that John McCain is promoting and George W Bush has presided over, and which originated under Richard Nixon, America will be left behind again. And I pray you never need any healthcare that your insurance company decides no longer fits into in its business model.

Thankfully, I was able to cut past Kaiser’s last minute efforts to cancel my surgery after years of preparation leading up to it, due in part to a number of good people who work at Kaiser, but really only possible because the state of California has passed laws forcing insurance companies to do things the free market would never support itself.

I’m now drinking fluids through a giant syringe and looking like an Eddy Murphy Klump character with ice bags around my noggin. Thankfully, I have a number of very cool people looking after me, including my buddy Brian who spent the day driving me back and forth to the hospital and brought me more stuff to drink.

You may now laugh at my expense, as I go fire some codeine between my teeth:

Everyone will be wearing one of these soon.

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Giggidy giggidy.

Quagmire
Barriers to entry.

wired

  • zoneone1

    Hey just asking….70.000$????? really? thats only in usa i guess…im spanish and the cost in here for maxillofacial surgery and rhynoplasty is about 20.000€ in the best place, including the orthodontics….and the place is one of the best in the world….it’s name is Clinica Universitaria and is located in Pamplona(Spain)…
    i ask because u made me be afraid i need to do the same and is a crazy big amount of money….why didnt u go other place to do it?

    [US healthcare is stupidly high. A basic ER visit is minimally $1000 if they do nothing for you. Any sort of surgery would drive a person with no insurance into bankruptcy. In contrast, I’ve been to ERs in other countries where they’ve sewn me up, done Xrays and given me RX meds and it has never cost more than $60-130, from Germany to Czech Rep to Japan to Thailand. US healthcare is completely absurd and nothing is being done to address it because most Americans don’t know anything about anything occurring in the rest of the world. So there is no political will to fix any of the problems. Just people who benefit from the current system fanning panic about “socialized medicine” among the ignorant masses. – Dan ]