Posts Tagged ‘Olbermann’
After a root canal (performed a few years ago by another dentist) failed, my new dentist told me I absolutely had to get the tooth pulled and replaced with a dental implant.
“Okay, if you say I have to, I will.”
My dentist patted my arm as I sat in the chair and said “Brace yourself.”
“Because this implant is your best option, and it costs $3,400.”
“Wow,” I gasped. “And I have to do this?”
She nodded. “If it was a back tooth, I’d say pull it and move on. But this is a first molar, and without it, you’ll have problems down the road.” (She explained that a bridge would not work well for me because of certain periodontal issues with which I won’t bore you.)
I shook my head. “Well, how much of this is covered by insurance?”
“None. Not a penny.”
So, four months later, I have paid $2,000 of it: cash. In two more months the jaw will be healed and it will be time to make the new crown and implant it. $1,400: cash.
I have dental insurance, mind you. Though the implant is the only real option available for me, it’s considered “experimental” by the insurance company. (Remember: a bridge won’t work, and if I pull the tooth and don’t put in an implant, it will jack up my mouth and cause problems later.)
My dentist thinks the insurance company decision is asinine, explaining that root canal failure rates are such that in a few years, implants will become the procedure of choice in such matters. But for now, it’s “experimental.”
You know what’s funny? (Not funny ha-ha. Hell, it’s really not funny at all.) I make a living. I have health insurance. I pay lots of money in premiums and I must have this procedure and the insurance company couldn’t care less.
It sucks, worse than the suction the dentist used when they jerked out my rotten tooth.
I’m living my own health insurance nightmare. I’m strapped to a chair, my tooth is pulled and I have to deal with the pain…something akin to Laurence Olivier torturing Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man.
“Is it safe?!”
Except my pain is financial, not physical.
No, we don’t need healthcare reform at all.
I wonder what would happen to the person without the means (however tightly scraped together those means are) to afford this? Oh, right. They would do without. They would have the tooth yanked and deal with the consequences down the road.
Sure, you can tell me this has nothing to do with healthcare reform. Though I beg to differ—because an insurance company is telling my dentist what procedures she can or cannot do. That makes it a reform issue.
And really, I guess I’m “safe” because for the time being I have a job and can scrape together the cash to pay for my dental care.
But I have to ask… is it safe for you?
Tonight’s hour-long Special Comment on healthcare was the most honest, moving and important statement in this entire debate.
I stand with him in his call to action on the gang of six.
I’ll be back this weekend with more on this and my own story about why this is so important.