A couple of days ago, I was speaking with a patient and her husband about several health issues that she was experiencing. When I suggested a referral, she and her husband balked, because neither had health insurance. They admitted it was available through their employers, but that it was too expensive, and that they hadn’t opted to have any. I understand. It certainly is expensive!

But we were talking about health risk factors, and she admitted to smoking one to two packs per day, which amounts to about $8 per day where she buys cigarettes. I asked her if she ever considered applying that money, some $240 per month, to health insurance premiums. She and her husband, both nice people that I enjoyed speaking with, seemed to have an epiphany. ‘We never thought about that!’

I wonder how many people never have? And it isn’t just smoking. How many young, uninsured persons have smoking and drinking habits, have satellite dishes, have spinners on their wheels, have cell-phones with text-messaging, photos and web access. And then complain that they just can’t afford health care.

Maybe, we need to point this out. Not in an angry way, not in a mean way. But in a realistic way, that says, ‘You can, in fact, afford it. But here are the things you can’t!’ Lots of people can’t afford it. But lots of people could.

Ed

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