Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Think Healthcare

Having just spent an agonizing three hours tonight being tortured by consumer research people about my radio listening habits (listen to a five second blip, fill in the bubble, 600 times), I really don't have the strength or wit (and some would question evidence of my ever having the latter) to marathon post (although this opening sentence betrays a plenitude of verbosity).

Suffice to say, read Paul Krugman today and for his next several articles. Once again he has hit the nail on the head of what the administration would rather not think about, do anything about and for god's sake, don't let the American people in on. Like the American people don't know that healthcare in America is really screwed up. Social Security we may not understand, but healthcare we all have to deal with.

Just today I received a letter from a doctor's office demanding payment on something for which I have already paid. After a painful 30 minute conversation with a collection officer well acquainted with her inner biatch, I hung up and rang my insurance company, certain I was in the right, HA! Seems the doctors used to bill once for treatment in their offices. But then it became mandatory for all doctors to have hundreds of very expensive machines in their offices and the poor doctors had to find a way to pay for them. At first the insurance companies ate the increased costs of doctor visits, but eventually they found a way to pass the cost on to the consumer (that would be me). The doctor now bills separately for the visit and for any tests done in office, which means the patient (me again) has to pay two copays, one for the doc, one for the machine, thereby doubling the cost of the visit for yours truly. I explained to my insurance provider that as an HMO subscriber, I expect complete coverage, while giving up a degree of choice. She explained to me that I would adjust to higher healthcare costs like I have to higher gas prices. So I hung up, went outside and stuck my head in the sand. Read Krugman, we'll talk again later.