Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Don't think this will be covered by your standard $15 co-pay

A little girl suffers a burst appendix on board a cruise ship and gets medical attention from the U.S. Navy.

The USS Ronald Reagan answered the disress call and steamed overnight almost 400 miles to get a helicopter within range to pick up the girl. Even then, the chopper had a 90-minute round trip plus time on-station to lift her off the ship.

Somehow, the standard $15 co-pay just doesn't seem to cover it, does it? Just looking at one of my recent insurance bills, I'm thinking hers would look a little like this:

1. Divert the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier (5,000+ crew members) and send it 325 miles to meet the ship. Billed by U.S. Navy: $1.5 million; paid by insurance: $2,500. Remainder written off and unbillable to patient.

2. Launch a helicopter with medical crew to airlift the girl from the ship (no landing pad). Billed by U.S. Navy: $15,000; paid by insurance: $975. Remainder written off and unbillable to patient.

3. Fly back to the Reagan and perform surgery. Billed by U.S. Navy: $31,500; paid by insurance: $9,750. Remainder written off and unbillable to patient.

Of course, this doesn't take hospitalization and prescriptions into account. Makes you glad you have coverage, doesn't it?

Monday, December 10, 2007

File under "what earthly reason"

I'm having a little trouble understanding just what could be gained by asking Mike Huckabee if he'd retract his 1992 statement about quarantining AIDS patients. What's past is past. Mr. Huckabee makes no secret about his religious background (he's a former pastor, for crying out loud). Did anyone really expect a different answer?

In fact, I find it refreshing that he didn't recant. If I disagreed with him (which I don't), I'd like to think that I would at least respect his right to the opinion.