Preview of Your Coming Attractions

When I retired after 40 years of writing columns for the San Jose Mercury News, I figured I'd said about all I could say. Wrong. I've realized that at age 76, I'm about 10 years older than the oldest baby boomers, who are now turning 66. My very average body has had a lot of experiences in those 10 years. I've learned a lot that could be helpful to people just starting on that same path -- what to do, what to avoid, what to keep an eye on.. Consider me your canary-in-the-coalmine for the boomer generation. Tune in regularly for the heads-up advice.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Take Care

     Having medical insurance is a big deal.
     In an earlier posting, I told about being operated on for prostate cancer. You can’t just walk into the Emergency Room and say, “Well, I have prostate (or breast or any other kind of ) cancer” and expect to have it taken care of, no sweat.. It’s going to cost you. Plenty.
     I recall once having foot surgery late in the day. I was still too woozy to handle the crutches when it was over, so the doc recommended that I spend the night in the hospital and then go home the next morning. When I saw the hospital’s bill for that – a bed for the night and a ham sandwich for dinner – I was astounded. It was as if my entire family had checked into a suite at the Ritz-Carlton, ordered room service and then completely cleaned out the mini-bar.
     Fortunately, I was still employed when my foot and cancer were treated. The medical insurance that my employer and I paid into took care of the bills. That’s one reason I continued working as long as I did, to age 70, to have that insurance guarantee. Having medical insurance helps you sleep better at night, ham sandwich or no.
     So I’d recommend doing whatever it takes for you to get and keep medical insurance while you’re working. And, if you can, put some money aside for when you’re not. Once you retire, you’re still going to need supplemental insurance to cover what Medicare doesn’t. Without such insurance, the gap between what Medicare pays for and what you’ll owe the medical establishment can be substantial. You wouldn’t want a serious illness to completely wipe out the finances of you and your family.
     Which insurance plan is best? That’s your call. I only know what I’d want for myself in the best of all possible worlds.
     No, not the Democrats’ Obamacare. No, not the Republicans’ Wedon’tcare. What I’d really want is Congresscare. Right. I want the medical insurance that our Representatives and Senators give themselves. I want the medical insurance that’s good enough for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and Michele Bachmann and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. If it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for us, the taxpayers who’re footing the bill. They’re not better than we are, are they? I don’t think I’m better than they are. Equality is all I ask, one citizen to another.. Fair’s fair. I’m not greedy.
     And until they’re willing to give us that, or a reasonable equivalent, I’d like to have them all just shut up.

1 comment:

  1. You're not kidding that you can't just walk into an emergency room. They won't even let me walk into most restaurants.