[Content Note: Hospitals, Medical Practitioners, Fat Hatred]
Some of you may remember in early September when I was rushed to the emergency room with an unidentified illness that felt an awful lot like dying.
I've learned since then that our health insurance -- which is from a reputable insurance company and provided by an even more reputable engineering firm -- doesn't have a flat-rate on E.R. visits anymore; everything is charged to me on a percentage basis until I hit the ludicrously-high "catastrophe" point for the year, at which point the insurance graciously agrees to step in and cover everything because if my medical debt gets too crushing, then I might quit my job and inconvenience my employer.
Anyway. I have so far received separate bills from this one visit, totaling to over $1,000. That's one thousand dollars for a visit where, if you'll recall, the hospital did jack-shit and refused to diagnose me with the thing I was suffering from (and which was later cleared up immediately with antibiotics issued by a nurse practitioner). And the big reason why the hospital (and the follow-up specialist) refused to diagnose me with it, was because despite having a massive family history of X (with at least two cases in recent memory, one of which was suffered through by my mother), is that (a) I'm slightly younger than when X usually manifests and (b) unlike my mother, I'm visibly fat and therefore it's easier to blame all my medical conditions on Chronic Fat.
And since the specialist cost $400 to go to so that he could inform me that I am Fat, that means I've spent $1,500 this year alone on a preventable-and-treatable condition because far too many doctors can't look past the fact that I'm Fat in order to treat me properly. They literally tell me to come back when I don't weigh so much. I am denied affordable care because I am Fat and forced into unaffordable emergency care when a preventable-and-treatable condition flares up.
I kind of feel like we should have a national conversation about this, rather than harping on about how much fatties supposedly cost (Spoiler Alert: Not so much as you might think!). If, simply because I am fat, I am forced-by-fat-hating-doctors to use more expensive medical treatments than their thin patients, then the resulting driving up of the costs isn't because I'm fat, but because my doctors are prejudiced.
Maybe we could talk about how much fat prejudice is costing the country?