Saturday, February 26, 2011


There has been some talk in my state about our healthcare system (and our insurance) AHCCCS; people who have different insurance keep saying the co-pays should be raised higher, more preventative services cut, "everyone" is abusing it...
I want to show some real numbers so you all can understand, for the people on MercyCare (Wash is) they are the sickest of every one. Those people are all dying, have severe chronic conditions, many are disabled or also on Hospice Care. To qualify for MercyCare you pretty much cannot be working- so there is little to no income that the patient actually gets. You can see my old post here on how much a disabled person actually receives versus actual income.

But today I want to talk about more numbers. The little numbers that people in my state are arguing over- instead of actually saving lives of its citizens-

Our Doctor office co-pays vary for his GP, Internist, Oncologist, Counselors... the smallest is $5/visit the largest is around $35.
In the last 4 week cycle we have had 17 doctor visits. Let's go with the lowest number $5 co-pay. 5x17=85
So, right there in a normal month about $100 goes right to doctor offices. Wash is not the only one who is terminally ill in AZ so imagine other people who also have more than 10 doctor visits a month; on a fixed income, especially for those who also cannot work $50 a month is a LOT.

How about prescription costs? Those vary from $4-$10 per medication for the Rx that are covered- again a 4 week period there's 15 different Rxs. Again, let's go with the lowest co-pay cost and that's 4x15= 60
Let's add that to the other amount and already in a month we've got more than $150 out of pocket costs. NORMAL MONTH.
Let's also count in the Rx that are NOT covered by insurance (about 6 a month) and of course we bear the entire cost of those which usually comes to around $600 or so a month. Sometimes more.

Arizona is asking those who are already part of the sickest AND poorest population to add more. Now again, $5 may not seem like a lot, and for those who are healthy and visit the doctor once a year it is not a lot of money.
But for the people on MercyCare of AHCCCS - again literally the sickest and poorest people in the entire state it's asking a lot. Imagine tomorrow you cannot go into work, in fact, you might never work again- but you can't get unemployment. Imagine then you have to travel at least 10 times a month to various doctors- how do you get around now? Cars are expensive, bus is unreliable and your insurance company no longer will have a "Dial-A-Ride" service. Ok, on top of that you need to still feed yourself and your family. And pay rent. And utilities. Oh, and remember to add $100-900 on top of all of it as your out of pocket costs for everything.
Welcome to being sick AND poor in Arizona! You're kinda screwed any way.

We may be very poor, my husband is dying, but I still have a voice. Taking away healthcare for the poorest and sickest...?
How is that humane?

I am poor. I am also a human being, a Citizen of America imbued with rights to Life NOT "Life... as long as you are not poor".
Healthcare IS my lifeline!

I fear for the future here.


  1. This breaks my heart. I know medical care is expensive, but when you lay it out like that and compound it with being sick and not able to work, it's just unbelievable. Thanks for writing about this.

  2. Tashi,

    This Blog entry, elaborating on "the numbers" is just so good. I wish that your previous good Blog entry concerning medical/other expenses, and also this one............ could be part of "Public Testimony" that's read; and transcribed for the Record, (in select Healthcare Committee Meetings), in the Arizona State Capitol Building. Your blog entries are just that good, and (so emotionally) moving.

    If I were in Arizona, I'd offer to do it for you, too, Tashi!! Time for Healthcare Reform............ *big-time*!!