Today, I found out that what I thought was the flu was actually a kidney infection. Not bad enough to go to the hospital, thank God, but pretty darn painful.
I'm one of the lucky ones. For now.
I have Screen Actors Guild insurance, which is fairly comprehensive. It used to be free if you made a certain amount of money yearly through SAG. A few years ago they started charging a premium. Extremely low - $150 a quarter - but a premium nonetheless, no matter how much money you made through SAG. Every year, we've been making less and less money through SAG. Barring a miracle, in a few years we won't make enough money to qualify for that plan. Of course, since we're vested, we can self-pay about $900 a month.
It might as well be $9000 a month as far as our ability to pay that goes.
Along with that, my GP who I've been going to for 18 years has decided this year to close his regular practice, and open up a 'boutique' practice, with more personal service and no waiting to get in. All this for the modest fee of $1800 a year - double that for the 2 of us. On the one hand, I'm crushed. I started going to him when he was a new young doctor - we had kids around the same time, and he's been there for me through a lot of medical issues over the years. On the other hand, I can't say I blame him. Doctors are forced to see so many patients that it gets to be like a treadmill. There's no time to actually be a doctor, hardly - to be able to actually spend the time with a patient. Can you blame him for trying to find a little quality in life? If I could afford it, I'd sign up for his service, but I can't.
I have a wonderful OB/GYN who I was able to call today. Thank goodness it was close enough to being GYN that I could call him. I've been going to him almost as long as to my GP, and I'm worried that he, too, will 'wise up' and pack it in. He's one of that rare breed that goes beyond the call of duty. He's no warm-and-fuzzy, cuddly type - he's better. He is always there, always concerned about doing his very best to care for his patients, as is his staff (including his head-nurse wife). You can tell a quality doctor by his or her staff, and he's had the same fantastic people since I've known him.
But if the so-called "health-care industry" has its way, people like my doctors are going to be just ground under, used up, and thrown out. All to fatten the bottom line of people who aren't even involved in health care, except to find new and creative ways to deny it to people who need it.
And I am, as I said, one of the lucky ones. We have got to get these leeches out of the system.