A needle of Hope
amid a haystack of Chaos.

Morgan Spurlock — Eeking by in America

Created: Thursday, June 16th, 2005
03:01:43 UTC
Last modified: Thursday, June 16th, 2005
03:27:43 UTC

His show where he and his fiancé lived on minimum wage ($5.15 / hr) for a month was *wholy* accurate from my personal experiences with the said nightmare. With two people working two 8 hour jobs each, they barely had a positive balance of $26.00 at the end of the month.

Yet their medical expenses were another nightmare. Yes, like my medicine (and the subject of his show next week), Human Growth Hormone therapy, which costs *literally* $5 per bottle to culture the bacteria that produce it, is sold on the market for $2500. My daily dosage is $200! Think about that! $75,000 a year in medicine necessary to keep me alive!

Know what my doctor's initial advice was? Move to Europe.

He wasn't joking. He said I had 10 years left, max, unless I started getting treatment within 2 years and I would have more luck in Europe than America. Turns out he was partially right. Due to gross negligence (at best) that he was not aware of at the time, I was taken off of growth hormone therapy (that i'd been on since I was 2) when I was 14. Now the insurance companies will not insure me because it is a pre-exisiting condition, nevermind that my doctor was (dare I say fraudulently?) mistaken in his diagnosis. In fear of a multimillion dollar lawsuit. you do the math! $200 / day * 365 days / yr * 77 yrs = 5.6 million .. you'd need a cool 30 million just to keep pace with inflation.

Basically, I'm being given the medication for free on a month-to-month, no-contract pro-bono basis with absolutely no assurance they will continue it. My level of life has improved so drammatically since I started taking it on 22 March 2005 that it is literally undescribable. I am more awake now after 3 hours of sleep than I was in January with 18 hours; 15 hours a day was my norm for 2004.

I would need to make $90,000 a year, minimum, after tax, to afford the medication. That is so fucking ridiculous. In the course of one of my many days spent in the 'free' Harris County medical clinics (the tests to determine if I was, indeed, growth hormone deficient cost more than my parents make in a year; testament to America's horrible system), I heard a tragic story of just how far the American Dream has soured:

There was this woman; she looked a lot like the mom who lost her son in Fahrenheit 9/11. She asked me if I had diabetes. I said no, I have the near-polar opposite hypoglaucemia but that's not why I'm here, that I needed expensive growth hormones. She said, "Ha! Some one told you the government would pay for THAT?! Hell, son, I can't even get diabetes medicine necessary for my life!"

She explained that she was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 42, apparently the average age of Type 3 diagnosis. Her job does not provide health insurance (what does?!) and no other insurance company would give her coverage due to the diabetes. She told me how she *needed* roughly $20,000 a year in medicine and that her doctor had told her what she must do to get it. So, in order to afford it, this mother of 3 did the following:


  1. Quit her $33,000 a year job

  2. Divorced her husband of 22 years

  3. Had a seperate billing address than her "ex" husband

  4. Registered for welfare for herself and the children (expires in 5 years thanks to Republicans in 1999)

  5. Registered herself as permanently disabled (this takes a year of hoops from my own experience)

Because she jumped through all the hooops she can collect $250 / month / child (that is *nothing*) and can get the medication for free, while still living in the house of her husband. She cannot marry him because then his income would be counted as hers and she wouldn't qualify for prescription compensation.

The above wouldn't work for me. Why? Because some beauracrat of the United States' Medicaid (what I actually became "entitled" to after jumping through 11 months of hoops) decided — unilaterally — that my condition was too rare and since they couldn't get 'group rates', meh, fuck the tax payer.

I don't believe in the socialization of healthcare — at least based on the limited research i have done, and I have never experienced a European system — I do, however, *firmly* believe in *profit percentage caps*: If a bandage costs $0.05, the max you should be able to charge is $0.10 If it costs $5 to make growth hormones, hell, hook me up for $10 a day. That's just $3,650 a year, and that is affordable.

-hope-

Time spent composing this document: 26 minutes.