There is something truly wonderful about patient communities, the topic of my previous post, The Power of Patient Community: Educate, Encourage, Empower.
This week I'd like to give you the opportunity to educate each of us (the readers) on how health care works in your given situation. With the topic of health reform unavoidable lately, and based on the discussion amongst some of us who write on various HealthCentral sites, I thought it would be great to get you in on the discussion.
Please don't take the opportunity to scream at each other, especially since this isn't typically a "screaming" community. Rockin' - yes. Screamin' - not so much.
It isn't a discussion which is limited to those patients who live in the United States. No matter where we live, we each have unique experiences and opinions. Please, I want to hear from ALL of you reading. This is an opportunity to share information and thoughts.
When it comes to accessing treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, I'm in a good position. I really appreciate my rheumatologist and the medications I take generic and cheap. But at my next rheumatology appointment, I plan on bringing up the topic of trying Rituxan to treat my RA which will not be so cheap.
So today, I ask you to answer a few questions. The result of which I hope will show the differing opinions and experiences of the members of our community.
Here are the questions:
1. How many doctors do you have and how often do you see each one in a year?
2. Do you have health insurance? If so, how have you obtained it? ie. through your employer, through a spouse's employer, on your own independently, through retirement benefits or through Medicare or Medicaid?
3. How much does your coverage cost? How much are the premiums? What is your deductible? How much are your copays and/or coinsurance? Do you have prescription coverage?
4. What are the top three aspects of your health care and health insurance which you APPRECIATE the most?
5. What are the top three aspects of your health care and health insurance which you DISLIKE the most?
6. What are your greatest CONCERNS when it comes to changes in how health care is provided (ie. delivered, financed, regulated)?
7. What are your greatest HOPES when it comes to changes in how health care is provided?
Do you know how many legislative health reform proposals have been introduced in Congress this session (in the US only)? Have you read any of the proposals? If you were "ruler of the world" how would you change things?
Please keep the conversation civil. No talk of "death panels" or "angry mobs."
I thank you in advance for you responses.
[P.S. A side-by-side comparison of the twelve health reform proposals in motion, including H.R.3200, can be found on this page created by the Kaiser Family Foundation. You can also download a printable pdf of the comparisons in a very clear presentation.]