FWIW, www.bugmenot.com solves the registering problem.
From the Los Angeles Times
Nation’s healthcare crisis gets personal
October 7, 2007
I write a lot about healthcare reform. Now it’s personal.
I was diagnosed this past week with diabetes. As of Friday, I was injecting myself with insulin, something I’ll be doing four or five times a day, every day, for the rest of my life. Without the injections, I’ll likely die.
Scared? You’re damn right I’m scared. What’s going to happen to me? What’s going to happen to my family?
I got past the shock pretty quickly and am now stuck somewhere between denial and anger. Depression will soon arrive, followed eventually by acceptance. Something to look forward to.
This is an uncertain time for me, but I know this much: I’m more convinced than ever that our medical system is a mess and that a single-payer insurance program is the only realistic way we can achieve universal coverage, promote preventive treatment and make healthcare affordable to all.
And if contracting diabetes is frightening for a relatively well-insured person like myself, what must it be like for any of the 47 million Americans who lack health insurance?
According to the American Diabetes Assn., nearly 21 million U.S. adults and kids have the disease – 7% of the population. About 15 million of this number have been diagnosed. The rest have no idea that they’re afflicted.
With obesity rates soaring, as many as 54 million others are strongly at risk of contracting diabetes in the future.
In my case, diabetes struck not because I stuff my face with Big Macs and fried chicken, which I don’t. I take good care of myself and am not overweight – considerably less so since unexpectedly dropping about 15 pounds over the past couple of months.
No, it’s almost certain I got nailed because a genetic time bomb finally exploded.
My father, Paul N. Lazarus III, who produced the movies “Westworld” and “Capricorn One,” has Type 1 diabetes and is now nearly blind. My younger brother has Type 1 and is doing well enough. My aunt had Type 1 before it blinded and then killed her.
The doctors say diabetes – almost certainly Type 1 – has been lurking in my DNA since I was a child, waiting for its time to strike.
But why now? I’ve lived 46 fairly healthy years, except for certain pharmaceutical pursuits during college. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I exercise as regularly as I can. What did I do wrong?
Probably nothing. The stress of my recent move to L.A. and starting a new job didn’t help, but it’s not to blame. This was going to happen no matter what.
I had a good idea something was wrong when I noticed that my weight kept going down no matter what I ate, and that I was consumed with a thirst of biblical proportions (accompanied by a commensurate increase in bathroom breaks).
I visited my doctor and had a blood test. The bad news came just days later. I was immediately referred to a specialist, whom I’ll call Dr. B.
Dr. B was great – knowledgeable, sensitive, empathetic. Problem was, Dr. B didn’t take insurance.
Excuse me? I said.
Dr. B explained that it just wasn’t cost-effective for him to seek reimbursement from insurance companies. It was too much hassle, he said, and he didn’t get paid enough for his efforts. Dr. B said an increasing number of doctors were cutting ties with insurers for the same reasons.
If I wanted to see him at his private practice, which was most convenient to my home, each visit could cost me hundreds of dollars – not the most appealing prospect when one’s facing a chronic disease.
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