The new medical insurance premium for my wife and I will be just a few dollars shy of $2,000 per month for 2017. This amounts to $24,000 for the year. Should either of us have a serious illness or medical procedure, our out-of-pocket expenses will be $11,000. Therefore, we could potentially be out $35,000 in medical expenses in one year. I hope we aren't, but the potential is always there.
Of course, that would be better than a $100,000 medical expense or being shoved into bankruptcy because of medical bills. It is easy to rack up several hundred thousand dollars in medical expenses.
President Trump appears to be moving fast on his promises. I hope he acts fast on affordable health care because it's killing me.
I continue to hear from people who have achieved Social Security disability status. They were declared disabled by a doctor and were eventually legally approved. This not only means a nice monthly check from Social Security but it means medical care provided by American taxpayers.
I'm for anybody who is truly disabled to have this help from the American taxpayers. Sadly, there are many reports of people who have obtained crooked attorneys with connections to crooked doctors who know a crooked judge who help them be approved for disabled Social Security. It's bad for America when people lie and fake an illness to get a disability check. Unfortunately, when the government is writing checks, multitudes line up to get their share, whether they deserve it or not.
If I live a few more years, I can apply for a full Social Security check and I will have Medicare. We will only have to pay for my wife's medical insurance for a little while and thus life will go on. The point is that most of us are feeling the pain of health insurance costs.
Mr. President, we need help — fast.
Hospitals and doctors have been gouging the government and insurance companies for a long time. For years, the government and insurance companies have paid it, but things are changing some. Insurance companies are no longer paying for everything or paying the full price they are being charged. One doctor recently told me that he has to bill the insurance company about three times more than he would normally charge a patient to just receive close to the amount he needs for a procedure.
While our new government leadership is supposedly working on a plan to fix medical care, they need to fix the rising cost of a college education. Too many college graduates are racking up $60,000 to over $100,000 in debt with horrendous interest rates being charged by some lending institutions.
Colleges know they have a gravy train. Thousands of students across the country who meet the conditions can receive $5,815 in government money paid directly to their college of choice. Colleges then tack on thousands of dollars more that families or the students often have to borrow. Colleges, in turn, build bigger buildings and incur more debt that in turn requires more and more tuition from struggling students and families.
Many federally funded colleges pay big salaries. One college president in Kentucky made about $400,000 a year at a tiny private Christian college. That's not that huge, as some presidents today make close to a million dollars a year. What is interesting is that his board of trustees promised him this same salary package upon his retirement for the rest of his life plus medical insurance, an apartment, a car and even his cell phone.
Where does this money come from? The money comes from federal grants that we the taxpayers pay — and from struggling students who rack up big debts so that a retired college president can receive almost $400,000 a year and additional perks for the rest of his life.
Sadly, many academic institutions are crumbling across this country. There are numerous cases of campuses closing and being sold to bigger institutions or closing altogether.
Average Americans can't handle what we are being handed in medical and college costs. We need help fast.
Glenn Mollette is an American syndicated columnist and author.