In U.S. today, no margin for illness

  • Article by: FRANK DOMURAD
  • Updated: September 7, 2012 - 4:38 PM

Despite more than $250,000 in savings, his 94-year-old aunt died a pauper.

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borisbadenovSep. 6, 12 9:12 PM

Isn't it sad when people have to spend their own money for their own health care. Seriously. Does the writer think the rest of us should have picked up the tab so that her aunt could die and leave her $250,000? Who does she think she is?

kleindropperSep. 6, 12 9:17 PM

Since Obamacare is essentially an extension of Medicare, this is what we all have to look forward to. I suppose we could go the British route and just deny care to the old so they die faster.

goferfanzSep. 6, 12 9:31 PM

This is an odd column to read, where what sounds like a very nice lady lived a good life to 94, and when her savings had been used, the taxpayer stepped in to help with the rest of the costs. I would argue that is what has made America the best country in world history, especially when life expectancies just a century ago were about 50 years..... In the end, somebody pays for all healthcare costs--> if not the person, then the insurer, or the govt (taxpayer). Nothing is cheaper in terms of "health spending" than dying young of a heart attack. Conversely, nobody forces somebody of sound mind to accept medical treatment when their body and mind has outlived their quality of life expectations. As I have posted online for two decades, all citizens should volunteer at a nursing home monthly to help, but also to see where and HOW many long lives finish. Perhaps, more people would consider the human dilemma whether mere "longevity of life" is the best measure of a life well-lived. "Getting old isnt for wimps"...a quote from an octogenarian.

hobie2Sep. 6, 1210:27 PM

It's the GOP health care plan. Get used to it... Over 60% of bankruptcies for the past ten years are because of one medical incident in their lives. It makes America strong -- and it NEVER happens to those who vote modern GOP.... Right... Oh.. that is the fallacy of the modern GOPers plan.. a medical situation happens to well over half of the families in the US at some time in their lives... some have financial support and remain productive citizens when they recover... the others - those with the health insurance they found cut off, the 20% plus fees that bankrupted them, and the 40 million without insurance? They become taxpayer drains for their financial and medical problems now combined, their recovery is delayed due to stress, their families are screwed up and are far more prone to end up on taxpayer assistance, and they are not net assets to society, they are net drains. Heck of a plan.

hobie2Sep. 6, 1210:48 PM

"Does the writer think the rest of us should have picked up the tab so that her aunt could die and leave her $250,000?" I think the writer does. And really, as hard-hearted as it sounds, Medicare health insurance is not there to protect your personal assets from your bills in your old age so your wealth can be passed on to your heirs - it is there to pay your reasonable health costs... The article presents some hard questions for society - and they do need answers that satisfy our conscience, our ethics, and our society's financial ability. Hard fact - we can't keep everybody alive to 100 or 110. Hard fact - we can't afford to keep everybody alive to 100. Hard choice - do we use our assets more on the kids or more on the aged? Hard question - is government medical insurance or universal health care there to maintain and restore health, or to protect money?... And obviously, the most money spent directly on health care is spent in the last days of life - be the patient 2, 20, or 90. People don't like to face it, but when your time is close, do you want the medical facility to have your accumulated money, or do you want your heirs to have it - and the answer is likely different when you are 55 going to the hospital vs when you are 95 going to the hospital. Hard choices, no simple answers, no answers that will make most people happy

liora51Sep. 6, 1210:50 PM

And yet the burning concern of the wealthy was to repeal the inheritance tax so that they would have more money to leave to their children.

imichelleSep. 6, 1210:56 PM

There is a real concern for many people that have to be broke in order to have any assistance and then the way it is set up they have to live at facilities that are for people that actually need more help than what they need. The writers aunt however does not seem to fit the typical mode, so please don't read his story and think, "so what is the big deal?". She ran out of life at the same time she ran out of money, there are many others that run out of money when they have plenty of life left, but the placement of being a ward of the state living in a 6 x 8 foot space of a shared room takes the rest of the life out of them.

cootoriginalSep. 6, 1210:59 PM

Health care is currently the most regulated industry there is. All the licensing, audits, credentialing, and price controls. Unlike the plumber who comes over on a Sunday and charges twice the rate, the physician CAN'T charge anything higher than "agreed upon in advance" rates. It's sad that she died broke. She obviously had the love of her family and that counts a lot. Remembering her through photos, dishes, jewelry, and furniture probably would mean more than money anyway. But don't blame the medical system for something that's been coming and talked about for 25 years.

mrstephancSep. 6, 1211:01 PM

But what if somehow we could provide a person like this health care along with all other Americans for less money? Hey I know, what if we would simply model our health care like ANY one of the other first world countries?

martiankingSep. 6, 1211:11 PM

What some people need to realize when reading this article, is that yes we need to pay for our health care needs, but at the cost of our life savings, which many people would like to leave for their families. But only the very wealthy are able to leave money for their families nowadays. The system is rigged so that most Americans will now die in poverty, having to spend every last dime to care for end of life needs. My mother just recently died, and most of the health care was paid for by Medicare, but once the doctors and the nursing home came to the conclusion that she was not making enough progress in recovering, they cut off her Medicare coverage, and her savings then had to be tapped to cover the full cost of her care. With her knowing that her care was quickly draining her and her husbands savings, I believe that lead to her depression and eventual passing. There has to be a middle ground between losing everything and paying nothing. Otherwise, most of us will have a very bleak end of life existence, with our families having to figure out how to pay for the bills and funeral expenses.


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