This dude gave a quote for a smoking-related article on CNN that I think is a) dumb and b) illustrates a point about paying for healthcare.
So, $139 is too much to pay to quit smoking (when apparently everything else this guy has tried has failed)--fine. But to imply that "they" would rather pay for lung cancer... when the treatment would involve some combination of surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy, along with hospital stays, and medication, and would cost THOUSANDS of dollars, that makes $139 seem more like a bargain. Essentially, this guy is saying that $139 out of his pocket is intolerable, so he'd rather make his insurance/Medicare/Medicaid (or whatever health coverage he has) pay for lung cancer instead--because clearly, if $139 is too much for this guy, then thousands is beyond his reach.
Retired radio broadcaster and iReporter Gerald Dimmitt, 65, has smoked since he was 14."I've always smoked a pipe," he said. "I have successfully quit about 40 times." But, he says, he always restarted, because "it calms me down."
Dimmitt has even more incentive to quit now, since developing lesions and irritation in his mouth. After speaking to his doctor, he received a prescription for Chantix, a pill to aid with smoking cessation. But when he went to pick up his prescription at the pharmacy, he was charged $139 (because it's not generic) for two weeks worth. Outraged, he left the Chantix behind.
"If smoking is so dangerous ... why then do they want to charge $139 to make me stop? There is something very wrong with that. I guess they would rather pay to take care of lung cancer," he said.
I'm largely a supporter of some form of universal health care (although not single-payer), but I'm still torn on some issues, and this is one of them. This guy is going to deliberately forego a treatment that could help him stop smoking and save himself and his health insurance (or Medicare/Medicaid, I don't know what he has) thousands of dollars because he doesn't want to pay out of pocket. Essentially, his insurer is now going to pay for his poor judgment that he's acknowledging publicly on CNN.com.
Now, is the answer to subsidize anti-smoking therapy? Maybe that's not a bad idea, if we're going to suggest banning smoking on federal property and such--use penalties on one side and rewards on the other, give a little extra incentive. Is the answer to penalize such people who are deliberately NOT trying treatment which may be effective in quitting who are deliberately placing an extra burden on the health care system? Maybe--in the private insurance world, these people may already pay a higher deductible, and I'm okay with that. I think that even with a universal health plan, people should be required to pay for part of their health care. ER visits should cost money. Prescriptions should cost money, especially brand-new brand-name meds like Chantix (although I'll admit, $139 for 2 weeks does seem steep).
I just hope his insurer read his little "comment". I guess it's less "dumb" than I initially thought, because if his insurer will pay for his lung cancer why should he pay to quit smoking? Oh, I don't know, unless he'd like to LIVE without CANCER. Because lung cancer kills you. People (myself included) need to take some freaking responsibility with their own health.
Now I'm all riled up to start my Monday. Grrr.