Does anybody read these?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another "Commie" rant

OK, you've been warned. And I'm not really a Communist. I love Jesus. Now, if you're interested in Commie rants, feel free to keep reading. If not, there's a little red box with an X in the corner...

I got yelled at when I went to the doctor today.

Not because my blood pressure was high, I forgot to take my medicine or because I was fatter than the last visit, although all those things are probably true. But, lucky for me, the doctor I went to see was my therapist.

I haven’t been there in months. Because my co-pay is $50, and that’s a lot of money. But when you’re having panic attacks and anxiety, you just finally have to say “I’m not healthy and I need to go to the doctor.”

So I don’t eat this week. At least I won’t shoot myself. It’s a trade off.

But joking aside, I really didn’t go because I couldn’t afford to go. Yes, I have two jobs, one with really great health insurance, and I still couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. Because mental health co-pays are ridiculous, if your insurance covers mental health at all. And, that’s with “great” insurance.

Anyhow, I was telling my doctor about the new political group I am in, and we started talking about issues and we ended up on health care reform. I’m sure it had something to do with me telling her that I stopped coming to see her because I couldn’t afford my co-pays, but it morphed into a whole discussion on the state of our country’s health care system and why something has to be done about it.

Our conversation really blew a lot of popular arguments out of the water. First of all, here is a doctor telling me she wishes we had a single-payer system. Yep, that’s right. You see, right now for-profit insurance companies, mostly HMOs, pretty much set the rates for physicians. Dr. Joan told me that in the 1970s she worked part time and actually received more money per hour from the insurance companies than she does now. So, here she is, at a time when she should be retiring, and she’s working more than ever just to make ends meet. Do you think that the CEO of the insurance company makes less today than he did in 1978? Because I don’t think he does.

For-profit healthcare is bad. And people don’t realize how bad it is because they don’t actually pay for it themselves or they are relatively healthy.

If you’re a nerd like me, you might pour over your explanation of benefits when you get it from your insurance each month. You might see that a prescription that gets billed to your insurance for $12 at Target gets billed for $35 at Walgreen’s (true story). And you might see the little dance that your health care providers do with your insurance company.

You see, this is what the dance looks like. You go to the doctor. Your doctor bills the insurance company $150. The insurance company tells the doctor the visit only really cost $50, $20 of which you have already paid. Now, does it cost $150 for the doctor to look in your ears and write a prescription? No, but the insurance company is pretty much only going to give her about a third of what she bills for, so she better not ask for less or she’ll screw herself.

But it gets better with the insurance company paying $2,400 on a $10,000 hospital visit. (Once again, true story.) Because not only are insurance companies (who are more accountants and less doctors) dicking doctors over on what they’ll pay for services, but they’re also raping you and your employer on the insurance premiums.

I’m lucky. My work pays 90 percent of my premiums and I pay 10. That’s really good, because my insurance premium is over $600/month. So, let’s do the math. My office visits are $60, $20 of which I pay. When I fell and got hurt, they paid $2,400. All my medicines are generics because they stopped paying for my name-brand stuff, so I pay for that. The insurance company is still making an assload of money off me. And they’re making an assload of money of you too.

Yet, when money was tight, I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. So, that argument about not wanting America to have rationed care? Well, we already do. And imagine if I were one of the 50 million people in our country who don’t have insurance. Oh, and by the way, guess who pays for their care? Did you guess everyone who has insurance? Because we do. The hospital has to recoup their costs somewhere, and that somewhere is the people who pay.

There’s also the argument about waiting for care. We do that here too. If you don’t believe me, let me send you a picture of my hole in my mouth where my tooth used to be. I’m out of dental insurance until January. Speaking of waiting for care, some of my long-time readers might remember when I was unemployed and uninsured and working my ass off to find a job with benefits because I was having health problems. No one should have to do that, because it’s scary. No one should die because they got laid off from their job.

Or what about substandard care? You think we don’t get that when some bean counter at our insurance company decides that we’ll be just fine on prescription X instead of prescription Y because X is cheaper? And, exactly what kind of care you think the uninsured are getting? Because I’m guessing they’re not going to top surgeons at Vanderbilt.

So, we have rationed care. We have substandard care. We wait for care. And we do all of this with insurance. Insurance, I might mention, that is raping us and our employers on a monthly basis.

How is this better? Really? I wish that one person could honestly explain how it is better. I suspect to some it’s better because poor people who don’t work don’t “drain” the system. But they do. And with this economy, any of us could be next. And I don’t know about all of you, but I’m not really healthy enough to shop around for new insurance.

We need health care reform. And, by reform I mean, “We need to tell health insurance companies to go fuck themselves and make health care nonprofit.” We are the only country with for-profit healthcare. We also pay more for healthcare than any other civilized nation. We really should be getting more for our money, but CEOs need to fly private jets and live in mansions. While I wait next year to get a plastic tooth for half-price.

(P.S. I just saw a tweet saying that insurance companies spent more than $88 million dollars in campaign donations to fight health care reform. So, seriously, who do you think the problem is here. Obama? Really?)

0 comment(s):

Post a comment

<< Home