Current Health Care System Plagues People with Multiple Sclerosis

Mandy Crest Health Guide
  • My previous post, “MS Drugs Offer Hope, But Can You Afford Them?” addressed the concerns of patients who require high-priced prescription drugs for treatment of multiple sclerosis or other chronic conditions. This crisis, once relegated to the uninsured and the underinsured, is now being felt by patients with group medical coverage.

    Reaction to a recent article in the New York Times, “Co-payments Soar for Drugs with High Prices,” has been widespread. Newspaper columnists and bloggers alike are working to put this issue front and center.

    We've all heard the phrase “health care crisis,” but many people remain unconvinced. Those who have safe, solid group plans in place have had a sense of security for a long time. That may be coming to an end.

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    Fewer and fewer companies are offering health care plans, and of the ones that do, many are no longer able to foot the entire bill. Higher premiums, larger co-pays, and “penalties” for Tier 4 drugs are becoming the norm. And it is coming out of the pockets of the employees.

    People in my situation, who have no access to group coverage, fare even worse -- especially if a chronic condition is involved. In the last several years, my premiums, co-pays, and deductibles have skyrocketed at a breathtaking rate, as has the price of my prescription medications.

    The health care system, as it exists today, works well if you are healthy. If you are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with a major medical problem, it is a slippery slope indeed.

    Meanwhile, our representatives in congress are failing us. They've been talking about the troubled health care system for as long as I can remember. Secure in their governmental health care coverage, they continue to provide lip service to the health care crisis, while doing little to correct this failing “system.”

    One afternoon last week, MS fatigue was gaining on me. I took to the sofa with a pillow and a blanket. The wind was whipping up quite a commotion outside and the dark sky told me that a storm was imminent. As I gazed out the window, I caught sight of a little bird on a bare branch, hanging on as if in defiance of the wind. The branch swayed back and forth and up and down. How long would that stubborn little bird hang on? Eight minutes, as it turned out.
    I was feeling particularly introspective that day, with my husband out of town and the house seeming rather empty. That creature really got to me. Maybe I have something in common with that bird. Maybe we all do. We're just hanging on while the powers that be blow hot air around. Our eight minutes is almost up.

Published On: April 18, 2008