Friday, June 09, 2006

FEELING VERY PRIVELEGED, INDEED

Three days ago I had surgery to remove a tumor from my left parotid gland (one of the salivary glands, under the jaw/ear). Next week we'll get the biopsy report, but the statistics are good for it to be benign. I'm not a big fan of big medicine - that is, the industry operated by big insurance and big medical provider companies. When I owned my own company, a small (15 people) consulting firm, the cost of health care premiums increased every year, typically by 15 to 25%, a cost that became increasingly difficult to cover for my employees. And the insurance beaurocracy drives me nuts, to say the least.

But I've been sitting at home for the past 2 1/2 days feeling very priveledged to have available very fine medical care - the surgeon and his team were top notch, and the care, in general, has been good. (There have been some annoying experiences, but I can overlook these as just that.) My part of the costs will be 20% up to $15,000, at which point the insurance will cover 100%. With the annual deductable, my maximum out-of-pocket would be $3,500 - not exactly small change, but "rainy day" money will cover it.

I can't help thinking about people who don't have medical insurance. I can't help thinking about people who live in places where good medical care is not available. And I also can't help thinking about people who live where medical care is available, but only to those who can afford to buy it. I can't help thinking that I, my family and my friends, are all very fortunate and priveledged people.

The common thread of history is the juxtaposition of the rich and poor, the priveledged and unpriveledged, the powerful and the weak. In the context of history, including today, I'm among the rich and priveledged in this world, as most middle-class Americans are. This is not something to accept lightly.

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