Monday, December 13, 2010

Why it IS constitutional to require people to purchase/pay into health insurance

In this country, whether you have insurance or not, you get healthcare. If you are hit by a truck, they whisk you away to a hostpital, and they fix you. They don't ask if you can pay, they just save your life. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes. My hospital alone does over $100 million in charity care EACH YEAR.

People say that it won't happen to them, or that they don't smoke/drink/eat crappy foods, so they shouldn't need health insurance. Well, these same people are just as likely to get hit by a car or fall off a ladder or step off a curb wrong and shatter their ankle. It happens. And when you don't pay into some sort of health insurance, that ENTIRE BILL gets passed along to some charity care payment system, which is likely funded by tax dollars. If you had some sort of insurance, most of that bill would be the responsibility of the insurance company, and we could focus those charity care payments for the smaller portion that the patient has to pay (if you are unable to pay it). More people could get help, and our tax dollar requirement for healthcare would go down.

I work in a hospital. I focus on discharge planning. I see the costs of healthcare. I can see the hospital charges for my patients, and they are OFTEN up above $100k......and these are trauma patients with fractures. Not heart transplants or dialysis patients--just broken bones. Often *very* broken bones requiring multiple surgeries or amputations...but these are people who were healthy, walking around, normal people....until their life suddenly changed in the blink of an eye.

When this country devolves to the point where we will let you die in the street if you have no insurance, then I will support your right to choose not to have health insurance. Until then, you've gotta pay. We are gonna scoop you up and run you to the nearest trauma center, and do our best to fix you, regardless of the cost. You should bear the responsibility of helping to pay for your care. No, I don't think this healthcare legislation is perfect....but it IS a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A small Boo Kitty update

Boo went back to the vet on Monday for a blood draw and follow-up visit. His results came back on Tuesday.

He has gained over a pound, which terribly impresses our vet (Dr Bergstrom). His creatinine was 6.5 when he was first diagnosed (severe kidney disease is a creatinine over 5.0), then dropped to 5.0 after a few days of IV fluids. After a couple weeks of subcutaneous fluids at home and a new renal diet, his creatinine is now down to 2.5 (normal for cats is up to 2.4). Almost in the normal range!! Everyone is quite impressed.

Boo had an ultrasound a few weeks ago, to further diagnose the WHY of his kidney disease. It showed that he has some sort of congenital deformity in his kidneys. They look funny, aren't shaped right, and are now damaged enough that they weren't able to see the normal kidney structures. Sounded very ominous. But...he lived with them for 8 years, and has found a way to compensate for them.

The vet is pleased enough with his progress that we have been instructed to back off from the daily SQ fluids and do them every other day instead. We are also starting him on calcitriol, a Vitamin D supplement/hormone that helps keep needed nutrients in his body (that his damaged kidneys would otherwise urinate out). All in all, it was great news.

Boo is back running around and chasing things and being his regular self. Shadow took a minute to re-accept Boo, but they are hanging out now just like they used to.

In the long run, we have to figure out our vacation plans, since we will not always be able to bring Boo with us like we did at Long Beach last week. There are boarding services offered by our vet, and I have also heard of groups organized for people who have cats on SQ fluids at home, where we would help each other out when people go out of town. Boo will likely be on the every-other-day fluids for his entire life, and now has the twice weekly calcitriol (which is thankfully in a fish-flavored liquid I can easily squirt into his mouth).

The timing of this all could not be more perfect. We basically spent a mortgage payment with vet bills and supplies on Boo. We also happen to have been in the middle of refinancing our mortgage, so we take December off from paying it (3.63% APR/15 year fixed.....unbelievable!!). What great timing! Instead of having some extra money to save or play with, we used it for Boo. Totally, totally worth it. Especially when he climbs onto my lap, curls up in a ball and looks at me upside down. Then squirms around, looking for the perfect petting position.