Bend over and “Quack”

I have several doctor’s appointments next week, (personal things).  And as a member in good standing of America’s recently unemployed, I’ve struggled to keep my COBRA up to date, holding my breath as to what to do about my medical coverage when it runs-out, if things don‘t start looking-up for me.  Health care reform doesn’t kick-in until 2014, (without a public option) baring in mind the republicans might still try to squash what little progress has been made.

Then along comes great-braying ass, Republican Representative-elect Andrew Harris of Maryland to point-out how out-of-touch he and his whole party ARE, and have been.  Last week Harris showed his true colors when he voiced his outrage that his personal federal health insurance wouldn’t kick-in for a month.  Benefits for new members of congress don’t take effect until AFTER they’re sworn-in.  Herr Docktor Harris is a board-certified medical doctor, who ran on a platform of opposing and repealing health care reform.  He’s un-phased by the fact that obscene wealth by way of premiums disappear into the black hole known as the insurance industry.  The lion’s share of insurance monies going neither to patients in need nor to health care providers — but rather to shareholders and executives who make unfathomable profits from people‘s natural desire to stay alive.  Heartless capitalist greed at it’s finest. 

I live in a Philadelphia neighborhood that’s surrounded by teaching hospitals – historic Pennsylvania Hospital, and Jefferson Hospital & Medical College.  I’ve often heard it said there are two types of people who go into medicine: those who have a strong desire to help heal people, and those who merely want to get rich.  Doctors do well these days but not the way they once did.  All the real money is in being made by the middleman sponges in-between.

Harris, who is newly elected to congress must be the variety who sought wealth.  After all, he jumped-ship from medicine to politics to defend the world’s most ineffective and corrupt money-laundering scheme – the American health insurance industry. 

Harris, in full earshot of 100 plus people at congress’ freshman orientation is quoted as saying: “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed.” 


Most employers don’t allow health care to kick-in until after 2 or 3 months on the job, and even then people are faced with opting for the least expensive plans if they want to see any earnings leftover in their paychecks.  This flap from Harris should not be overlooked.  He, like so many who enjoy lives of privilege, resent meager entitlements that merely define society’s human decency.

We don’t have the best health care in the world.  We have the best physicians and hospitals — with the most effective Ponzi-scheme running interference between the patient the their doctor.  A vast number of Americans fail to wrap their minds around this and confuse health care providers with insurance parasites.  I would like nothing more than to see Dr Harris’ Hippocratic Oath exposed for the hypocrisy it really is.

And lest we forget the pharmaceutical industry.  “Take 2 Extra strength Alieve and be pain free all day” – but don’t be surprised if you find yourself with lymphocystic colitis (a more virulent form of IBS) that never quite goes away.  A physician recommended both Naproxen and Ibuprofen for the pain I endured when I tore my rotator-cuff lifting oddly-weighted objects at my former job.  I alternated the products as directed, which in turn ate-away at the lining of my stomach effectively leaving me incontinent — leading to more and more medication (including steroids from the prednisone family) – all but destroying my quality of life.  Don’t take either Advil or Alieve for periods longer than a few days.  Just ask me, I’m living the damage first-hand.  Both Advil and Alieve are BIG money-makers that every decent pharmacist in the world will tell you should be by short-term prescription ONLY.  The best way to control pain is to rise above it, and forget western medicine.  It’s about the bottom line, and not the lining leading to your bottom. 

As we all know, Capitalism wins.  Doesn’t matter if it’s making dangerous medicines available over the counter or turning people’s natural desire for they and their loved ones to live a disease-free life — not when there’s BIG money to be made!

Switching gears (ever-so-slightly) I live between 2 major hospitals, but my old medical plan sent me to a hospital nowhere near where I live.  Long before health care reform, I was already being dictated-to by my insurance company.  So dutifully, I went to my inconveniently located hospital about fifteen years ago for a full, routine physical. 

When I arrived, I learned my doctor’s office was flooded by a broken waste pipe — but not to worry — appointments were being “doubled-up” in an office on the ground floor of the medical building across the street.  I trekked across the street to the temporary location and signed-in.  I was guided toward a make-shift changing room where I handed-over my clothes to a nurse who promised to lock-them-up for me and would return with a little locker key on a wrist band.  She gave me a backless medical gown to put-on, and I was shown to a conference room temporarily serving as an examination area.  She neatly pulled a long sheet of disposable paper down the length of the gigantic oval table instructing me to lie-down, telling me the doctor would be right with me — and she would return shortly with my keys.  I also got a little “airline-sized” mini-pillow for under my head.

I kept waiting for my key, but she never come back…

I waited and waited…

…and waited some more .  It was very chilly in the conference room and not terribly comfortable on the hard teak tabletop.  But I waited patiently wishing I had a magazine or something to pass the time.  Instead I mentally redecorated the room, putting up an imaginary chair rail, changing the drapery treatments and lighting fixtures until I focused on a stain on the acoustical tile ceiling.  It looked a little like my home state of New Jersey as my eyelids grew heavy with boredom…  Granted, these were unusual circumstances, but WHY do doctors offices ALWAYS overbook as if the patient’s time has no value?

Eventually I started cat-napping, waking-up whenever I heard footsteps anywhere near the door.  But no one knocked, so I drifted back to sleep only to awaken abruptly to find myself surrounded by foreign exchange students, some of whom were wearing turbans and scrubs, and all of whom were taking notes presumably about me.  I actually screamed out loud when I realized I was THE all but stark-naked center-piece in the middle of a table surrounded by at least sixteen students.  I jumped-up grabbing the paper strip behind me and ran down the hallway clutching the paper runner to hide my backside.  Even Princess Diana’s wedding gown didn’t have a train as long as mine.

The hallway led me to the main-lobby waiting room filled to capacity with people wearing normal clothes and plus ME – the one irate crazy -man screaming at the top of my lungs demanding my clothes back.

“Oh Mr Whiting, there you are.” the nurse-receptionist said “We’ve been looking everywhere for you.”  Amber’s shift was over and she must have left for the day without telling anyone where she’d placed you.“ 

Swell, that’s just great.  

I complained  how I’d been there for over three hours, when suddenly someone entered through the automatic sliding door at street level sending a gust of cold air catching my make-shift ensemble exposing all that God gave me to the entire waiting room.  Some people laughed while other people merely gasped.  I was frozen in shock, and rushed to a janitor’s closet while my clothes were located.  

I hurriedly dressed amidst the slop-bucket and mops I left with my ball cap pulled down over my face with chortles coming from the other patients – never to return to that hospital ever again. 

I demanded to change hospitals during the next “insurance open enrollment period.”

Yes, Representative Harris, we have the best health care in the world.  Especially if you’re among the select few who’ve stumbled into the sugarplum privileges of congress.  But I have a personal message for Andrew Harris – wait the freakin’ month for your god-damned insurance to kick-in and shut the fuck-up until you get a brain-cell.

11 thoughts on “Bend over and “Quack”

  1. In 1996 I had a major heart attack. I went to the hospital at 8:00, telling them I was having acute chest pains, pressure pain, usually the sure-fire indicator of a heart attack. St Joseph's Hospital Tacoma, put me in a waiting room for 45 MINUTES before looking at me, I nearly DIED because of their incompetence. This was NOT an insurance issue, it is a health care issue. Everywhere I go I see cut rate health care being doled out by idiots who only want to know what insurance you have. Doctors are no longer the wise helpers and healers they once were, they are as money grubbing as lawyers and politicians and we, the middle and (growing) poverty classes are paying the price of their greed. More and more, what is prescribed is not what is needed, or best, but what pharmaceutical company is paying the largest kick-back. We need something farther reaching that what Obama got passes for health care reform. But as usual, not only are the Ratpublican'ts going to fight to make sure we get little help, they fight to make sure we get either no help or direct harm. America needs help.

  2. Mark, pick up & read (if you haven't already) a book published last year by T.R. Reid entitled, "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care." After reading this book you will know just about everything any thoughtful American needs to know about how to reform our health care model. Obama & the Democrats are on the correct track but the Pee Party/Repbulicants, egged on by moronic shills for the entrenched money interests of Big Insurance, Big Pharma, etc., had to be dragged kicking & screaming just to get as far as we did – which isn't far enough. When you read the book you'll understand. Personally, I like the Bismarck Model used by Germany, France, most of the rest of the EU, Japan & others.

    And Beihl, keep chipping away at the idiots & morons of the extreme right-wing. Their motto may be "Onward to the Past" but I'm not buying it!

  3. brother bob is correct about t.r. reid's book. he mentioned it a while back, so i had the typist read it to me. it's the best argument for health care reform out there.

    the typist's stories aren't as entertaining as beihl's, but she recalls being employed at a bookstore in her youth where, because of high turnover, you had to be employed six months before you were eligible for health insurance.

    she's also been in a position where her c.o.b.r.a. ran out and she found herself at the mercy of a disinterested med school student who first wrote prescriptions for medications not available at the public health clinic's pharmacy, then wouldn't return the clinic's phone calls when they tried to contact her for a substitute prescription.

    the angry drone at the same public health clinic who was in charge of the bridges to access program (a prescription drug benefit program for the poor) decided she didn't like the typist and kept 'forgetting' to process the typist's prescription request.

    just because you're poor doesn't mean you should be at the mercy of the incompetent.

  4. @Duck: How anybody could read T.R.Reid's book & not support universal health care in the U.S.A. is beyond me. One would have to have one's head up one's ass – or up the asses of the health care insurance lobby – in order to oppose universal health care. But the, I guess, I've just summed up the Pea Party/Republicants & their moronic shills like Parah Salin, Luch Rimjob, Blenn Geck, et. al.

    • You may deduct ealuifiqd medical expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents, including a person you claim as a dependent under a Multiple Support Agreement. You can also deduct medical expenses you paid for someone who would have ealuifiqd as your dependent for the purpose of taking personal exemptions except that the person did not meet the gross income or joint return test. You deduct medical expenses on Form 1040, Schedule A (PDF), Itemized Deductions. The total of all allowable medical expenses must be reduced by 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income. For more information, refer to Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.

  5. Brother Bob. I'd love to be able to, but right now, my meager funds are going to rent and food, with a bare little left over for gas for my minivan, and utilities. I own three pairs of pants and no warm shirts, and if anyone has watched the national news lately can tell you, this area just went through a cold, icy week that the region is ill prepared to deal with. I cannot even afford to go buy one warm shirt, let alone pants as I am quite heavy, so like all heavier Americans, I get the penalty of everything being more expensive to buy, and my chances of a good job are lower. I do start a temporary, part-time job on Monday, with some chance of being full time IF I am good enough. I guess I should be appreciative that this makes me poor enough to get public health care, but, as usual their answer to anything is "How many dozen pills can we prescribe for you this week?" We need do to something to ensure that doctors in all walks of like cannot get paid by the pharmaceutical companies to push their drugs. I have seen too many doctors become little better than a legal form of the same drug pushers out in the streets. I no longer trust health care or doctors.

  6. Mark, first, I was sorry to hear you'd suffered a heart-attack. Keep on top of what you need to do to avoid that ever again.

    I too am down to no clothes that fit me. I was a 32" waist before prednizone, and no matter what they tell you, the weight isn't coming off. I can't breath in a 38" pant, and 40" pant fall off me. They don't make a 39". But I digress…

    the biggest 'sales-pitch' problem health care reform has faced, is getting low information voters to understand nothing is being taken away from them – in fact they have everything to gain. If the commercial health insurance industry were to face a public-option competitor, the price of health care would go down for everyone. That sector of the economy would take a 'hit' but nothing like what the rest of the nation is currently enduring.

    • For the previous awesnr, Medicare isn’t PRIVATE insurance here, it’s the public system. So yes, it’s very cheap (free)!All our health insurance companies are fairly good, and mostly give a fair price with good coverage our public system ensures we don’t have a similar problem to the US with insurance companies competing for cut-throat profit. Personally, I’m with MBF, and it works for me. However, if I were you I’d just shop around until you find the best deal.It’s not hard, because there are only a handful of funds. If you’re young and healthy, look around for a fund that offers extras cover for a reasonable price, as you’ll be unlikely to use the basic hospital cover much. If you’re a bit older, it’s worth reading the fine print so you don’t get a policy that excludes important things, like cardiac problems for example.Good luck!

    • It is mostly a spoernal decision. I prefer a large company with a local office staffed by a professional agent who I can speak with face to face in case I have a claim or a question. I dislike playing phone tag with a mindless voice on the telephone or a computer robot. Often those e insurance quotes are low balled to get your business and then later the rates will be raised. You don’t necessarily have to visit each agent. use the phone, get quotes, then choose the best one for you (not necessarily the cheapest quote)

  7. And as we have already seen, lawmakers are deep into the pockets of insurance industry. Way back, when I lived in Vermont (my home state) the law was passed making auto insurance required. My premiums went from $205 per quarter to $217 a month. No accident, no additional coverage, just a huge ass jump because I could no longer say no. Tell me that law was passed for our benefit, and I'll tell you how that is a lie. This was about 1985 or 86, and marked the end of my trust in our government.

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