Thursday, July 30, 2009

At the Doctor's Office

So, I drove my father to an appointment this morning and picked him up after his procedure was done. This gave me ample time to go get blood drawn for my own appointment next week, eat breakfast, and sit in the waiting room for a little while. What I witnessed in that waiting room was nothing short of disturbing.

I'm sure I was the youngest in the room. Most were white people over 50. There was only one black woman in the room.

The way the room was set up, not everybody could participate in the conversation. I was one of those sitting in the wrong place to participate.

One of the women was diabetic and afraid she'd lose her current health care. One was unable to qualify for Medicaid and seemed unhappy about it, but certainly didn't think a public option would solve his problems. One guy used to have some kind of gap or additional insurance, but the policy wouldn't let him renew for some unknown reason. At least two of them didn't see why they should be providing health care from those people who come across the border. You know - immigrants. Nobody specified if they distinguished between the legal and illegal ones. (Did you know that legal immigrants pay taxes? Taxation without representation. There's a concept for you.)

At one point, the black woman indicated surprisingly gently that she was under the impression that the target audience for this public option was the uninsured, not immigrants or to take away people's current insurance.

At some point in all of this, the receptionist had had enough. She slid the glass window shut fairly forcefully and moved away from my view and got someone else to sit there right behind the glass.

I had enough, too. And of course the conversation soon moved on to something else. But I had to wonder which part of the whole scene infuriated the receptionist the most? It infuriated me, but that's because it seems that nobody seems to know where the money's coming from right now.

When someone goes bankrupt with high medical bills, how does the entire system deal with right now the sudden non-payment of all that money? Who do you think is paying for it? Where do you think the money to deal with the uninsured is coming from right now? If you lost your job today, could you afford the COBRA payments? Do you stay at a job you hate and work for an employer you despise in order to keep your health insurance? When you go shopping, do you think you pay for that disgruntled employee with your purchases or not?

Now, I live in Connecticut. In this state, if you go to a hospital with a life-threatening emergency, it's illegal to refuse to treat you. I know they can refuse to treat you if you can't prove you can pay in Florida. It was that way when my grandfather had a ruptured appendix fifty years ago, and it was that way when my friend called me at 7am a couple of years ago begging me to let her give a hospital my credit card number while she got her mother's insurance information together so the hospital would treat her. I will never live in Florida. At least, not unless I have my insurance information tattooed on my forehead.

Wait, isn't that supposed to be the Mark of the Beast?

Oh, man, I'm just too wound up about this...

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