I’ve just been for a long walk, thinking about the post I just uploaded here. While it is great that my doctor, and his team (including numerous other people), was able to help me so much, I find myself unable to let go of one piercing, painful issue:
I could only get all this fantastic and wondrous help because of Michelle, who works at a job where she gets paid more than the average salary. This means we can both be covered by the maximum level of private health insurance. And that in turn means I don’t pay anything to see my psychiatrist; it’s bulk-billed (he once told me, when I asked about this, because he used to bill me upwards of $150/visit, “I don’t need the money”). Each of the three times I was laid up in hospital last year, it cost about $200 for admission, and that was all, for 3 x 7 weeks of inpatient care. I only had to pay at the end of each stay for the medication I consumed.
This is a high-end private psychiatric hospital. In their orientation book it does say patients who don’t have such robust health insurance, who are on Medicare, have to pay $800/week, each week, to get the level of care I received.
This is outrageous. I am no more deserving of that level of care than anyone else. I’m just ridiculously lucky. I’ve long thought I was the luckiest man in the world, but there are times when you have such a painful apprehension of the magnitude of your own privilege (white, male, middle-class, middle-aged, home-owner, university-educated, no serious debt) that you can hardly stand to face anyone.
It’s unjust that the high level of care that I received, and continue to receive, is only available because of my fortunate circumstances. This bothers me very much. It makes me burn.