16 March 2010

Health Insurance Entitlement Reform and My Broken Teeth

In an attempt to get back to writing in this blog - something that has not happened in about six months - I've taken a week off of work. This happens to coincide with spring break and the last, last, final, penultimate push for health care insurance entitlement "reform". The former is, in fact, the reason I've taken off of work; the latter is a running joke. A running joke, that is, until it actually happens.

If health care insurance entitlement "reform" passes in one of its current Democratic forms, then I may actually have to find a new job, as I do not expect that the insurance currently offered by my employer will survive. And I would really like to have health insurance, and insurance that I can generally count on, for that matter. I've had experience with the minimalism of government run (or influenced) health care, and as I sit and write today, I experience the long-term results.

While in the Army, I had some dental issues. My teeth were not very healthy. However, as the dental care structure at my base was stretched thin, my problems were not bad enough to qualify me for a dentist's chair on base. I was, in no small way, told that I was healthy enough. As a 20-year old, bullet-proof young soldier, I did not take matters into my own hands - which I absolutely should have done. Indeed, it took me another three years to do that.

When I did finally address my dental issue, it had ballooned into sixteen fillings - literal trenches in all of my molars. The wicked irony is that I had to get the dental work done so that I could pass a commissioning physical and re-join the military. What I should have done, indeed, what I should have been told to do (as a 20-year old private) is to take care of it myself, on my dime, and on my time. However, I bought into the "you're in the military, they'll take care of it" myth. And now, as the silver fillings put into my mouth some fifteen years ago literally split my molars, I am painfully aware of the wrongheadedness of relying on government agencies to take care of such personal matters as health care.

I do not relay this story for sympathy; I do not want my Representative to tell my story on the floor of the House. This small story is a cautionary tale, and one which I will certainly tell my students. Take care of yourself and your family. Indeed, force yourself to take care of yourself and your family. No one else should, and abdicating this responsibility to the government ensures that no one will.


Sailingbum said...

Good to see you back..

Bob M. said...

Sailingbum - Thanks for that. Thought it was about time. Hope to have something posted this afternoon. Happy St. Patty's Day.

Anonymous said...

But as a strapping young man at a ripe age of 20, did you have the finances to take care of your dental needs without asking mom for help? The Navy "took care" of my teeth as well, but I didn't have many other options at that age.

Bob M. said...

Anonymous - Of course I had the finances, in hindsight. The issues I had then are dwarfed by the ones I have now simply because of time. If I had applied my money well then regardless of who was "supposed to" take care of it, I would not be in the pickle I'm in now.

That being said, I wonder just how good the local dentists were near the base I was stationed at...