So the heath care debate rages on. While the bullshit about death panels and other nonsense seems to have faded into the background (where it belongs), there still remains one argument that I see repeated over and over again:
“We have the best healthcare in the world”.
Am I the only one who sees the utter fallacy in this argument? If we’ve got the best, then the rest of the world must be damn-near dead. Considering that I don’t know many people who even have a frame of reference, it’s a spotty argument at best.
Some proof? Let me relay a story from today and then ask me how government would make this ‘great’ system worse.
My primary care physician (PCP) recently retired, due to having a newborn child. I’ve had a great relationship with this doctor since I started seeing him 3+ years ago, and I was honestly saddened to see him leave. But having a 2 year-old myself, I can understand. So, I jumped through the hoops, found a list of doctors that were (a) on my insurance and (b) taking new patients. Then I asked my son’s pediatrician (whom I trust) for some recommendations, since picking a doctor off a list isn’t the brightest idea. So I got a name, called, and made an appointment. Today was that appointment.
I have a pretty detailed medical history, including some major bone surgeries from my early 20’s that now require a daily NSAID. I also take a medication for my stomach, since I have a family history of acid reflux, and OTC medications don’t work for me (anymore). And, to top it off, I take a medication for ADD. While I’ve had ADD since I was a kid, I didn’t start addressing it until my son was born. I was concerned about being able to focus and pay attention to important things, like feeding schedules, a child running around, etc. Also, I had basically lost the ability to read for anymore than 5 minutes at a time. After that, the words would literally begin to swirl. Certainly not a good thing for one planning on returning to school.
So I leave work early so I can get to the doctor’s appt, since this was the earliest time they could see me. I bring the three meds I take with me, so I don’t come across as some random guy begging for pills. Once I fill out the paperwork (one page for medical history, 5 for insurance-related info), I sit. And wait. Almost an hour later, I see the doctor. A nice guy, no problem there. We go over my medical history, then he gives me a short physical. Again, no issue. Then we discuss my medications. Come to find out, he’s not comfortable writing the script for my ADD meds without me having a psychological exam. Mind you, I’ve been on this for over a year. But again, I can understand his situation. What I take (Adderall XR) is considered a controlled substance, so just handing it out to people who ask is a quick way to lose your medical license. So he indicates that once we get that squared away, he’ll determine whether or not to write the prescription. He’s completely within his rights to do so. While annoying, I understand and agree to go through the hoops. Now here comes the frustration.
Since I’ve never had a psych evaluation, both my new doctor and I aren’t sure how exactly to go about it. So he has one of the nurses place a call to my insurance company. After 25 minutes, 2 hang-ups, and a rude person on the other line, we determine that I need to call a special ‘psychology’ number. So I take the number and go home.
When I get home, I grab the phone, a notepad, and my insurance card. I call and speak to a woman who proceeds to do the following:
- Explain to me the difference between a doctor and a psychiatrist
- Why it’s in my best interest to see a psychiatrist on a monthly basis for my ADD meds
- How my PCP isn’t really qualified to prescribe the meds I’ve been taking
Now I’m a reasonable guy. And I understand rules and protocols. But this is ridiculous. I now have to make an appointment with ANOTHER new doctor, go over my history again, to receive a medication I’m already on. And the kicker? Once I get an appointment, I have to call them back to have them authorize it. Yes, the people who told me I have to go get an appointment have to authorize it after I make one.
Since I’m almost 800 words in, I’ll cut this short. The long and short of it is that my new doctor agreed to write me a one-month script, since the med in question cannot be refilled, and requires a paper prescription from the doctor. This will give me time to go see a shrink, let them evaluate me to again prove that I have ADD, then I can go about my business.
And on a side note, my wife went in and out of the DMV last week in 10 minutes to renew the tags on her car. So the DMV did in 10 minutes what my doctor, a call center, and the ‘best system in the world’ couldn’t do in 3+ hours.
Bring on the socialism.