And I owe it all to Hanz and Franz
I did, however, have several back-to-back detached retinas a dozen years ago, and I came semi-unglued at age 64 when they discovered I had an immune system condition as well as heart arrhythmia (my heart was beating too slowly), necessitating a pacemaker. Fortunately, thanks to my wonderful wife K, who had a corporate job with insurance (with me added as a dependent), those pesky little boo-boo's cost me surprisingly little out of pocket. Not everyone is as lucky as me, though. Here are a few examples of people I know personally who are in truly bad shape, both physically and financially:
My masonry contractor, let's call him Bob, has suffered mightily from kidney stones for many years now. He's had all the tests, tried multiple doctors....everything....but they haven't yet been able to fix him. They've given him pain meds and just told him to suck it up. As his private health insurance carrier eventually jacked his rate up to $1,600 per month he had to let it go. It was either food for his family or insurance.
Bob is an American of Mexican heritage and still has relatives back in the old country. Out of desperation Bob recently became a "medical tourist" (people who travel to another country to have needed surgery because it is so much less expensive than in the US). He said the doctors and his hospital in Monterrey, Mexico were surprisingly good, but still, his surgery was only partially successful. He's still hurting and still has no insurance. I worry about my friend Bob.
I once had a window washer, let's call him Bob, who came to my house regularly to make sure I could see out. I didn't mind washing my own windows, but all I ended up doing was rearranging the dirt. Anyway, Bob was in his early 20's at the time, and in conversation told me he worked 20 hours a week at Kroger's (grocery store) in order to have insurance, and then spent the rest of his time washing windows.
A few years later I visited with him again and he said he had to quit his Kroger job as his window washing job became a 40+ hour a week career he couldn't pass up. I asked what he did for insurance and he said he was without. He said if he got sick he was just going to go to the emergency room and hope for the best. At his age I could tell "getting sick" was the last thing on his mind. I heard some time later that he was involved in an accident (I believe there was a motorcycle involved) and could no longer work. I don't know where he is today, but I still think about Bob.
The foreman at the custom cabinet shop we used, let's call him Bob, was in his 50's when he had a stroke. Like many small businesses, Bob's boss couldn't afford insurance for his employees. Bob was airlifted to a hospital in Plano, Tx where they stabilized him, but he was left semi-paralyzed. After several weeks there (and knowing Bob was going to be a charity write-off) the hospital finally worked with Medicaid to find a rehab facility that would take him. The last I heard Bob was little improved. I worry about my friend Bob.
We have a lot of sick people here who compassionate Americans IMO shouldn't turn their backs on. We're better than that. But what to do? I don't know the answer, but I'm confident that the Republican's Ryan/TrumpCare bill now making its way through Congress isn't it, nor is ObamaCare, which they say is now itself on life support. To those who would rather have the Almighty Tax Cut a slimmed down healthcare bill promises so they can buy another shiny new gadget, I hope they'll think about my friends Bob when they're out toy shopping.
NOTE: These are all absolutely real people I know. If any of you reading this are actually named Bob, I suggest you stay inside today. ;)