Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How Do You Like Your Health Care Now?

Seriously. That's not a rhetorical question.

I came to a harsh and shocking realization tonight outside of Walgreen's while parking my car.

My son has one of those infections toddlers are always getting. Parents reading will know when I say that without blood tests, etc. the doctor at the after-hours clinic diagnosed it as viral and quickly provided prescriptions for some goopy pink-acilin and eye drops and ear drops for his pain. I was able to go to our Walgreen's directly while my wife took care of my son who had thrown up in the car. Because the doctor was able to transmit our prescription electronically I didn't have to wait for her return to get a paper prescription and I didn't have to drop off said script and have to wait or return later to get the medicine. The pharmacist didn't have my prescription medicine ready when I arrived. I would have to wait ten minutes. I called my wife. She said to pick up some Pedialyte while I was waiting.

I pay a premium back to my employer to have a "Cadillac" plan that not only allows me to go to an after hours clinic on this type of occasion but to only pay a small premium over my normal co-pay for such an occasion. With two small children it is money well spent to have such a plan.
All this was very good fortune but all the more reason I couldn't shake the realization that popped into my head minutes earlier.

A year from now under Obama-Care I will have to write quite a different story . . .

My wife and I will be up all night with the anxieties that befall any parent who can clearly see their child is not well. This anxiety is further punctuated by the shrill pain cry of a pre-verbal toddler pulling at their ears or eyes, not understanding what is causing their misery. The small dose of over-the-counter medication in the home will only have a very mild and temporary effect. One of us will have to take a day off of work to take our child to the Public Plan clinic, the one that is only open during banker's hours. The choice not to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night will be made based on the last occasion when we were waiting the entire night not to be seen in an overcrowded ward of patients similarly or worse off. Waiting only to be ultimately turned away in the morning because before we could be seen in the Emergency Room the Public Plan clinic would be open, meaning only the most severe cases would be admitted into the overcrowded and understaffed hospital. So our choice will be to endure the shrill cries and the lack of sleep but alas, daylight.

One of us will trudge off to the Public Plan clinic while the other is still bleary eyed at work even with three cups of strong coffee. The unfortunate parent who has to go to the clinic will be racing against time and traffic because arriving after the doors open means standing in an even longer line. The admitting agent, fresh from a career issuing licenses at the DMV and lacking all the empathy that Supreme Court nominees apparently must have in spades, will grunt and be generally distracted by my child's crying. This government employee will have difficulty finding our file on an overburdened and underfunded medical records system designed by the IRS - the same system that issues stimulus checks to pets and the deceased. At this moment the unfortunate parent trying to sooth the now persistent cries of the child will try to conceal their panic attack. They remember a friend, no urban myth by the way, whose records were lost; accidentally or "accidentally" deleted by some fumble fingered bureaucrat and the nightmare that ensued while simultaneously struggling with illness and all the necessary paperwork to be reinserted in the system. But this day the admitting agent finds our record but now has to call the Central Plan Administrator for an approval because it's only been three months since the last time our child visited the clinic and this sets off a red flag in the system for "free health care abuse". You see, to protect the nation from ever increasing costs there will be safeguards put in place to alert the admitting agents to the possibility of hypochondriacs and other chronic over-users.

Perhaps the increasing volume of our child's cries convinces the bureaucrat on the other end of the phone so now it will only be the better part of an hour before we are let in the back of the dingy clinic with uncomfortable seating to match the broken and dilapidated chairs in the waiting room. Choices of lighting and furnishing and whether or not there is a working TV or a clean bathroom at this clinic will be determined on the basis that now I am no longer a consumer with a choice, one they are trying to influence through these various accommodations but instead merely a ward of the state who can take or leave what my government offers me. Leaving of course, means leaving empty handed because the government run system is the only game in town. You see, private care options have been outlawed, made illegal because after crunching the numbers like so many other countries where they experimented with socialized care, it will be determined that this system can't exist with any competition. All providers and patients alike must participate or there will be a risk that none will participate.

Once in the exam room the doctor, who doesn't look well himself and is either overworked, depressed, unmotivated or all three, spends more time entering data into a computer terminal then he spends looking at our child. Something more akin to an interrogation than an examination by the doctor finally results in blood tests and a prescription for some pain medication. No anti-virals until they can determine the cause. There's a shortage of medicine after all. No profit means no surplus in an industry that is customarily late-paid a set rate by the federal government. Unfortunately the computer system is down at the time so the prescription will require a paper form in triplicate. After getting the necessary signatures and stamps the unlucky parent will drop off the prescription and head home with a child who is now so exhausted from crying they've lapsed into a fitful slumber.

The other parent will need to leave work early as long as the prescription can be filled on the same day. The only dispensing outlet will be a government run repository, again keeping bankers hours. You see the convenience stores will have since shut down their pharmacies because of the government controlled low profit margins and a continual lack of inventory.

And this is where the rationing of that one tiny bottle begins as we await the results of the blood test before we can get more medicine.

How do you like your Obama-Care now?

I know I like the current system just fine because I wrote this while my son was sleeping.

Whether you thought electing this guy to the Presidency was a good idea or not, this part of his agenda must fail.

Start calling your Senators and Congressman who can be found easily here under the Take Action link on the right hand side

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