April 30, 2011, 2011
What’s affordable? Affordable is the current buzz word in healthcare, gas, food, household goods, and just about everything consumable that we buy today. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, affordable means:
- being within the financial means of most people
- costing little
My 89 year old mother thinks nothing is affordable anymore. Her definition is in line with number two above. She remembers when gas was 20 cents a gallon, fish 20 cents a pound, and a nickel bought you a nice piece of candy. She’s has been retired over 25 years and, by being frugal and buying mostly affordable (cheap) items, has done well for herself.
My wife and I both have full time jobs as do the majority of our friends and our definition of affordable is more in line with number one above. I am not frugal. In my world, money is a vehicle that takes you places and does things for you and those you love. My patients often view money as a destination, always saving until they have enough to live their dreams. They really don’t know how much is enough and many become ill or die never having realized their dreams.
Everyone defines affordable differently. To some, gas is not affordable. They complain bitterly about how much gas cost them as they drive 15 miles to buy affordable cigarettes. Mr. B used to complain that health care was unaffordable. He could never pay my bill. However, Mr. B could afford a 3 pack a day smoking habit and the 5 drinks he consumed every night at the local tavern.
Mr. R yelled at me last week. “I am spending $500 dollars a month on my medication and can’t afford to keep spending that much!” Mr. R finds healthcare unaffordable. He can afford the S series Mercedes (starting price$ $91,000).
Ms. ManiPedi can’t afford a lot. She is in college. Her parents are footing the bill. They work hard to support her. She baby sits when she can. She can afford a manicure/pedicure weekly, highlights in her hair and an I- Phone4 with unlimited texting. Her parents can’t afford her, but pay anyway.
Affordable is one of those terms that can be manipulated easily for one’s own gain. When you hear the politicians and insurance companies talk about affordable healthcare, they mean cheap! Remember, in most of life, you get what you pay for and you buy what you value.
If you value your health, cigarettes and alcohol are unaffordable. Exercise and proper diet are very affordable. Healthcare is expensive. Be frugal but sensible. Buy good health the old fashioned way, with sweat equity. If you are ill, make healthcare your number one priority. Work with your physician as a teammate, not against him. Do everything in your power to get well. Shop pharmacies for the best price (don’t buy from Canada or over the internet). Sure, the big box pharmacies have drive-through convenience; they also often charge a big price for that same convenience.
In the end, you decide what is affordable and what is not. What is your health worth? That’s your decision as well. Who is responsible for your healthcare? You are, not the insurance company and not your doc. Be responsible. May you be so blessed as to never know the disease you prevented.