National Health Service in the US?

I have a friend in the US that I met through my blog.  Not only does she have Endometriosis but she also has Lupus.  I honestly have no idea how she copes!  Unfortunately, at the moment, I think the answer is that she isn’t coping. 

Her last laparoscopy was 2 1/2 years ago and her Endo is so bad that she’s in pain for two weeks per month.  I asked her when her next surgery is scheduled and she cannot afford it.  She’s blacklisted from health insurance because of her Lupus.  How can anyone be expected to cope if they’re blacklisted from health insurance, they have no access to health care and they can’t hold down a job because of the pain?!?  How, in the most wealthy country on the planet, can you people let this happen?  How can anyone deny appropriate health care to anyone? 

Anyone who knows me will know how Endometriosis can be – such severe and violent pain that it has in the past lead me to 1) giving myself third degree burns and scars on the small of my back in an effort to alleviate the pain; 2) vomit from pain; 3) being unable to walk due to shooting pains from my back down into my legs; 4) missing school, work and generally not being able to have a normal life on a regular basis due to the pain.  I once described Endometriosis pain like this: have you ever had a leg cramp wake you up in the night?  Endometriosis pain is like that but I get it in my lower back mostly and it’s in a place where I just can’t stretch it to alleviate the pain. 

After surgery, I’m a normal woman again.  Sure, I have period pain but I take a couple of paracetamol (that’s acetaminophen to you in the US) and carry on with life.  Surgery is not a cure for Endometriosis but it does allow a sufferer to have a remotely normal life until the build up occurs again.

 On top of this, my friend has Lupus.  While I am not personally familiar with Lupus, I know that it effectively prevents her from receiving health insurance in the US.  So, how on EARTH does anyone get adequate treatment once they have a chronic condition in the US?  How does anyone over there justify the greed of insurance companies and drug manufacturers??  How can you people sleep at night?!?

 It makes me SO ANGRY to think of the thousands of my sisters in chronic suffering are never going to be as fortunate as me.

When I talk to more fortunate Americans (who don’t have chronic conditions) they don’t want more tax; they think that health care shouldn’t be a right; they think that people with chronic conditions are lazy. 

I don’t think that health care is a right.  It’s a service that I pay for in my taxes – just like the fire and police service. 

 Why should you pay insurance premiums for something that won’t cover you as soon as you get something that’s 1) difficult to treat; 2) leaves you with chronic symptoms; 3) has no cure.  Wouldn’t you prefer to pay for a service that 1) treats your illness; 2) gives you a standard fee for prescriptions; 3) treats you with dignity.


10 thoughts on “National Health Service in the US?

  1. Lupus does not prevent you from having insurance in the US. She needs to really look around for help.

    We have better health care in the US than anyone in the world. ANYONE.

    If anyone reading this still has problems post-op, progesterone can help, and so can diet.

    You do not have the endo surgeons that we in the US have. You don’t have the top level of docs, for all diseases, that we have.

  2. Actually Lola – this is about me – and yes it does. It is a black list condition with the majority of insurance companies due to the complications that can happen with it.
    And no – we really don\’t have better. You keep saying it\’s better – but having had it for years before losing it – it\’s not. I have friends in Canada and the UK – and I\’d totally move to Canada for their health insurance if I could. I\’m very impressed by their system.
    Also – I\’ve done progesterone cream before – it works well immediately post surgery, and if you stick with it – but (at least for me) it made my next surgery come faster when I used it 6 months before my last surgery. It made me extremely physically ill, gave me rashes, and made my endo grow faster – it pushed my surgery up several months.
    You\’re right that they don\’t have the same endo specialists – but I know that in Canada they have some very good surgeons. And I wouldn\’t be surprised if the UK does as well.

  3. Having had a number of bad medical experiences here in the good old USA, I’m not impressed. Even though we think we have the best health care, I think that is only so if you have your own money to throw at our problems. I have what is considered good insurance, but I pay $3600 in premiums and another $2000+ in deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket costs that insurance doesn’t cover. Even recommended things like shingles immunization was turned down by my insurance company for 3 straight years. This year, I got shingles. Yes, it cost the insurance company less than the shot, but it cost me time off work and my portion of the prescriptions were ~$80. Even though I have colon cancer in my family, my insurance will only pay for a colonoscopy every 10 years. In 10 years, colon cancer can be in stage 4 and terminal. I don’t know if the UK or Canada would be better, but I do know I’m not satisfied with what I pay out (about 16% of my income) vs. the care I receive. If you don’t know what’s wrong with you going in, it’s very hard to get a diagnosis, and prescriptions have so many horrible side-effects the treatment can turn out worse than the problem–something I’ve had happen several times. I also have family who have insurance and were turned down for treatments. What do you do? Sell your house or die?

  4. Thank you Linda for saying what I wanted to say – just better lol!

    I can’t afford all my lupus prescriptions, my rheumatologist sees me at a discounted risk, and she, my husband, and I have to discuss which meds and supplements are most important for my survival.

  5. Lola

    I’m afraid you missed my point. I’m not saying anything against doctors. Lord knows, anyone who studies for as long as any doctor is bound to be miles more intelligent than me! Why would I denigrate them?

    My point is that health care should be a service that is open equally to all members of society. I think it’s abhorrent that the richest country on the planet can turn its back on those who are suffering.

    Sure, you get very good health care in the US. BUT you won’t get it if you don’t pay for it. BUT you will ration yourself as to what prescriptions you can and cannot afford. BUT you will suffer needlessly unless you can pay for the insurance.

    As a business, insurance companies evaluate your risk and assign your premiums accordingly – or refuse you cover altogether! I can completely understand those who are perfectly healthy not wanting to pay extra premium to cover those who will regularly need treatment (like myself).

    What happens to those of us who are getting older? Bearing in mind that you will be on a fixed income after you retire, will you be able to afford your insurance premiums? Will you have conditions at that point that will require prescriptions, surgery, injections, equipment? How will you pay for this?

    Do you suffer with Endometriosis or any other condition that requires constant medications and frequent surgery? How do you cope with the bills? I can assure you that having a chronic condition is bad enough without the additional worry of the cost of healthcare! I count myself extremely lucky to have moved to England to get away from the extra financial stresses my friends face. I just cannot believe how they have to suffer when I don’t.

    For the record, I think that doctors are fine people who work extremely hard. I can assure you that the doctors in the UK are extremely good – and I would highly recommend the doctor who performed my surgery in November! He was excellent!

    I hope this satisfies the issues raised.


  6. Linda

    I am grateful for your comment. I’m sorry that you have had such a hard time. I’m sorry to say your story isn’t uncommon. I wish I could do more to help you.


  7. Autoimmune,

    I wish there was something I could do for you! I hate knowing that you and so many others are suffering needlessly! I hate it that you don’t have access to adequate care.

    I wish you the very best.

  8. Autoimmune and Sonja

    Thanks so much for your comments and the links! I now have a question: what are you going to do about it? Is there a petition that you can sign or something to start the ball rolling?


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