Even as a growing number of analysts are questioning the details of Obamacare, the sudden hospitalization of Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of former senator and current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, provides additional fodder to the ongoing healthcare debate.
Heinz, who is 74 years old, is the heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune. She is the widow of former Senator John Heinz, who was killed in 1991 in an aviation accident. Her marriage to Kerry in 1995 occurred when he was the senator from Massachusetts. Heinz was hospitalized on Sunday and is reported to be in critical condition after being flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Heinz was treated for breast cancer in December 2009 and went through two operations for lumpectomies. It is not known what specific health issues resulted in the current hospitalization. However, sources indicated that there was concern over the return of the cancer.
Regardless of the source of the current illness, it is taken for granted that Heinz will receive the very best of medical care, with cost being of no concern to treatments pursued. In the earlier process of treating her cancer, numerous doctors at the nationâ€™s finest medical facilities were consulted. The issue of Heinz not having to worry about the costs of her care is the central theme of many who criticize our nationâ€™s health care system.
For the millions of Americans who live daily without health insurance or any form of coverage, there is a constant concern over how they would deal with a medical emergency. These individuals know that they are one accident or serious illness away from devastating financial hardship. In fact, the single biggest reason for bankruptcy in the U.S. today is medical bills. According to the latest studies, the average hospital stay billed out at $15, 700, with an average daily cost of nearly $4,000.
These costs are onerous because so many people today find health insurance increasingly unaffordable. While the political debate over the current healthcare reform continues, there is one simple fact. That reality is that the annual cost of private health insurance, already out of the reach of many, has risen by as much as 50 percent in the last two years. Many plans for a family of four are now over $15,000 and it is predicted that a bronze plan under the implemented Obamacare will exceed $20,000 for that same family.
All of this brings us back to the hospitalization of Heinz. The reality we live in today means that many people diagnosed with cancer or other similar diseases have little hope of receiving the treatment or care that the wealthy can afford. Even with quality health care insurance, the co-pays and other costs create burdens that many cannot carry.
There are no simple or ready solutions to this situation. The morality of one patient dying because chemotherapy is too expensive while one with a large bank account survives is an issue that will see intensified debate in the coming months and years. Regardless of what caused the current hospitalization, Heinz is one of the lucky ones who will have superb medical care without financial considerations.