Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Health Care

I spend most of my time getting coughed on and sneezed upon from early autumn until about Easter. I am surrounded by as many sick people as a guy pulling a Bubonic Plague death cart in Elizabethan England. Shockingly I recently acquired an annoying sinus infection. A guy like me can't have these sort of infections, as I need to scream into microphones every now and again, and then immediately walk outside into 7 degree weather with a sweaty head. You do that with an existing sinus problem, and you become Tom Waits with a horrific fever. Then you die alone in a room with a rubber privacy curtain. The flickering images of the Ellen DeGeneres Show on a TV mounted on a wall bracket will be the last thing you see. This is a scenario I am actively trying to avoid.

A guy like me has health coverage. No worries. I will just stop on in to see the doctor, get some pills, and get right. Bam. It's just that easy.

Instead I did the following. 1) I go to see my primary care physician so I can get a referral to the Ear/Nose/Throat specialist. 2) I call the office to set up an appointment with this doctor. I am placed on hold for 20 minutes. I get an appointment 3 weeks later. 3) I wait 3 weeks and go to the appointment. The office visit lasts approximately seven minutes. He prescribes a spray for me, and calls it into my pharmacy. 4) I go to the pharmacy. They don't have any record of the medicine being called in. 5) I call the doctor's office. I am placed on hold for 20 minutes. They promise to call it back in. I leave the pharmacy without the medicine 6) I go back to the pharmacy the next day. The medicine is there, but they have no record of my insurance coverage. The spray, made by Bausch and Lomb, cost $54 without insurance. I leave without the spray and attempt to find my new insurance card. 7) I cannot find my new insurance card. 8) I talk to the HR person at work to find out how to get a copy of my card. She refers me to an 800 number. 9) I call the 800 number. They direct me to a website. 10) I go to the website. I can't log in to print out a temporary insurance card because I don't have my group number, which is, of course, on the insurance card. 11) I call the 800 number again to get the group number. 12) I print out a new insurance card. 13) I go back to the pharmacy to get the medicine. The insurance card is presented, but according to their printout, I don't have coverage for any prescriptions. This is incorrect, as I know I have coverage. That means I have to 14) call the 800 number again to find out why this is showing up that way on my plan. I am told I have to call yet another 800 number for the company that handles this portion of my health coverage. 15) I call the other 800 number, and put them in touch with the good people at CVS. 16) I get the medicine. It costs me $39 out the door. It probably costs 48 cents to produce. It took 31 days from the onset of the first symptoms.

I got sick in France once. In France, they have pharmacies where a person is on staff to give you what you need based on your problem. The idea is to have someone with medical training on hand in the same place as the actual medicine so you can make it a one stop trip for smaller medical problems like say, a sinus infection. Here is the process... I walked in, described what was wrong, and she gave me pills. It took about 15 minutes and cost about 15 euros.

People get real worked up about the health care situation in this country. I have no idea if the Obama Administration is trying to fix the problem the right way or not. I'm not really sure how to even install a light switch, so I have no idea about a complex issue like this. All I know is that anyone that is not trying to fix the situation is either getting paid really well by lobbyists, or is making a kazillion dollars with the current game. Does it really have to be so fucking hard to get medical attention? I can literally buy anything I can dream up and have it delivered to my house in 24 hours. A bass boat? Check. A gorilla costume? Check. Angry German pornography? Check. The exhumed corpse of Gavin McLeod? Probably. Yet, I can't get simple medication until I complete this Chinese Fire Drill. There has to be a better way.

Quick notes: I like Pittsburgh at home as long as you can get them at -3. That extra half point could kill you at 3.5... Everyone I hear thinks the Packers are going to win on Sunday. Seriously, is there anyone outside of Chicago that is talking up the Bears? Yes, Jay Cutler is probably a big douche. Yes, they are not an impressive team on paper. But everyone is on the Packers. That is why I am on Chicago +3.5 at home. The Bears with points at home in a Playoff game? Why not?... I got a great deal on some bottles of 2005 Ahnfeldt Merlot at $22 per. I guess the winery wanted to move some cases quietly, and made this superdeal price available online at a few places. Really big complex merlot for the money... Kudos to the folks at Sam Adams for the seasonal Pils they have just released. Having drunk my way around Bavaria, I gotta say that this beer can hang with the good local stuff from there. Highly recommended to fans of Pilsner Urquel.


At January 31, 2011 at 4:46:00 PM EST , Blogger Cannon said...

Well,if you don't like our Amreican system of medical care,then you can just go back to France and be healthy and happy and surrounded by hot chicks who will blow you just cuz yer an American Rock Star. Ya Commie Infidel Socialist Running Dog Imerialist...uh...Jerk...Yeah.

At February 10, 2011 at 1:07:00 PM EST , Blogger ScottyJ said...

I can't believe your primary care physician ever saw you in the first place without your card.

I've been going to the same primary care practice, literally, my entire life.

In 2011, The exasperated, bitchy woman at the sign in desk won't let me be seen without seeing my card.

Indeed, there has to be a better way.


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