The cost of living with RA

The only thing I regret about having taken a new job is that I had to miss my quarterly rheumatology appointment today. I have rescheduled it for a month from now; by then, I will have the sick time built up to cover it, and I hope that my health insurance will have kicked in as well. I may need to put it off for another month, though. It is possible that coverage won't begin until April 1. Knowing that I will have excellent coverage greatly helps my stress level, which keeps me feeling pretty good, but I hurt for people who don't have the same opportunities.

I completed my taxes on Sunday afternoon, and because I spend a lot on medications and health-care, I decided to itemize those costs and see if I qualified for a deduction. I did - costs needed to be more than $3700 and they were. My out of pocket costs for health care and medication exceeded the $3700 limit. In checking that number, I saw how much my insurance policy had paid for my care. My Enbrel alone cost the company $27,000. I only took it from May forward last year. Specialist visits, other medications, and procedures cost more than I make in a year when they were totaled. Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in.

Let's pretend for a moment that I did not have health insurance. I might qualify for medication assistance to receive the Enbrel at low or no cost. But I certainly would not be able to pay for the $415 specialist visits that keep the prescription current. I wouldn't be able to pay general practitioner fees either. I couldn't afford Plaquenil or Nabumetone. The health-care system in this country is insanely expensive. I don't know what the answer is, but there must be something better than we have. And as we enter an election year, I am listening closely to the candidates to see if their ideas are any better than the current fiasco. I am not talking about the ACA (Obamacare). I am talking about the ridiculously high cost of medications. I am not against providers and their staffs earning good wages; I could manage those costs somehow. But medications are too expensive and the system is stacked against the people who need the most help; those who are impoverished, sick, and needy.

Jesus told us to care for the poor and the sick. He did not tell us to just let them die, to ignore their needs, or to make a profit from them. I think if he were here with us in body today, he would be turning over a lot of tables in Congress and driving the lobbyists out of the capitol.


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