peter at workI lived in San Francisco from 1979 until July 2008. Health costs and housing costs are the two things that slow my efforts to return. It’s home and I miss it.

On October 9, 1992, a Swedish tourist in a rental car hit me on my way to work in downtown SF and I lost my lower right leg. I worked for one of the most prestigious design firms in the world and had employer insurance. Even so I was out of pocket at least $20-30 thousand dollars, and have had to pay for all or most of 5 out of 7 prosthetic legs (the other 2 legs I had to pay 10% which is considered “good”). I would estimate that is around $80,000.

The rental car company was protected from liability to a maximum of $15K. The swedes thumbed their noses at me and my lawyer. So the costs have always been borne mostly by me, as has practically all therapy and psychiatry since.

There is an Obamacare kind of thing here in Massachusetts, but it leaves much to be desired. I had to file for early retirement at 62 recently, and the SS benefit bumped me into paying premiums and some high copays. So, quite apart from the pain and suffering and other issues that attend a traumatic loss like this, upon which no price can be placed, I have had to bear the medical costs nearly 100%. That is a huge chunk out of a retirement nest egg. If I live as long as my father and aunt, I will be buying about 6 more legs before I die. So I may well end up as though I had never had a high paying job or successful career because…yup, US health.

Peter Little