The Evil in the System

This week has been a prime example of the utter wrong in the American medical system. It started with the fact that to get silicon implants, one has to be involved in a government study for five years. Okay….simple enough…someone is going to follow my breasts around for five years (images of men in black stalking me, staring at my chest). However, this involves over an hour’s worth of paper work filed at the doctor’s office that noone thought to mention until Monday afternoon. I could have spit nails. I did use abundant profanity in the general direction of the girl on the phone who really should have mentioned it over a week before when we opted for silicon in the first place. At any rate, I screamed to a number of people, including two of the doctors and the whole thing suddenly righted itself. I went in and sat in a comfy green chair, while the doctor’s staff asked me a ridiculous number of questions about maladies that I’ve never heard of and then asked me to sign off on many little lines. Done. If the government wants to pay someone to stare at my chest for the next five years, okay.

The next was the insurance company….I’m not sleeping well (obvious reasons) and as being well rested is important before my next surgery, I called Central Family Practice and LeAnn said, “Let’s get you some Ambien”. She calls it in and, lo and behold, the insurance company won’t pay for it. Sam and I discover this at 7 o’clock at night when we go to pick up the prescription. Apparently, the insurance company won’t pay for Ambien on a regular basis, but the doctor can call in a one-time override, under special circumstances. Of course, it was after office hours, so we’d have to wait until the next morning or pay for the whole cost ourselves. I had warm milk and slept moderately well. I called CFM in the morning, they called the pharmacy, then called the insurance company and now I can go get my prescription, but they covered it at the lowest level they could (we still pay about a third of the cost). Anyone else think insurance companies are evil? Stand up and shout now. The insurance companies in America insist that they have to keep cutting coverage and raising prices to counter the rising cost of litigation and the pharmaceutical companies’ excessive price ranges. Bullshit. At the same time, many insurance companies are posting record profits year in and year out. Someone do the math for me.

The airlines. We booked flights to England with the intention of visiting Sam’s family. We had to cancel. Obviously they were non-refundable, unchangeable, etc. However, there’s a medical exception clause in there. British Air is currently deciding if a cancer diagnosis and surgery are valid reasons for canceling our trip. They may refund our money..they may not.

All of this leads to what really gets me aggravated. I’m 35. I have two young children. In the past 5 weeks, I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, had multiple biopsies, one surgery and I’m about to have a bi-lateral mastectomy on Friday. Someone give me a break! The people at the plastic surgeon’s office acted like I was the problem. The insurance company is completely unaffected by my current condition. The woman on the phone at British Air barely registered what I was telling her before shoving me off to the customer service group (who don’t accept phone calls, by the way, only fax or mail) The money grubbing, profit chasing attitude in this country has obviously stamped out basic sympathy in way too many people. I don’t expect folks to weep and wail, but some common courtesy would be nice.

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