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    Posted February 22, 2013 by
    smyrna, Georgia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Bitter pill: The cost of health care in the U.S.

    Medical bills are killing me, literally

    I spend, on average, around $500 per month, out-of-pocket, on prescription copays. I have several conditions, not the least of which is type 1 diabetes, since I was 2 years old. Now I am 50, and am somewhat worse for wear. I now have advance kidney disease as a result of long-term diabetes. I am eligible for a kidney transplant, which would add some years to my life. My children would like that very much. I even have a living donor, my sister, who has bravely and compassionately volunteered to be my donor. we are a perfect genetic match. Problem: the cost. I have had to withdraw my name from the kidney transplant program because I cannot afford the treatment. I have been to the clinic 3 times for evaluation and tests, and now, I owe the clinic $3000.
    I have excellent insurance coverage through my employer. it is expensive, nearly $9000 per year, but for a 90%/10% plan that is very good. Unfortunately, when you are looking at a procedure that costs upwards of $100,000, the 10% copay is considerable; too much for a poor single-income database analyst to afford. I invest the cost of the Mercedes that I would love to be driving, instead of my old dodge sedan, into keeping myself alive on $100 a bottle insulin.
    It doesn't seem right. The pharmaceutical companies, knowing full-well that I will die without the medication, keep jacking up the price. The same holds true for my kidney transplant. The clinic and the doctors can't be satisfied with 90% of the exagerrated cost of their care? They have to squeeze all of the blood from the turnip. They can't make any money off a dead man, but that doesn't seem to matter. there are plenty more victims where I come from.
    My choice is to die of kidney disease and diabetes, or live facing an insurmountable debt. I have already put all I have into trying to stay alive. The MRSA infection that cost me part of my left leg has not helped any. I am still up to my eyeballs in debt for that one. In fact, i am currently being sued by one of the hospitals because I have not been able to keep up with the $400/month that they want in back-payment. So, I am doomed, to pass away deep in debt to the people that I am so grateful to for trying to save my miserable life. If I could I would gladly pay for everything I have ever owed because the medical facilities and doctors that I have known have been keeping me alive since I was just a little kid. In spite of going on-the-table to surgery about 20 times in my life, I would gladly go one more time for the kidney, but I just can't face the cost. Goodbye cruel world. :) peace.

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