The quest for drugs
Posted on May 6th, 2010
Last night was terrible. Between thunderstorms that lit up my room to near daylight levels, Little One getting lost, Little One fussing at me and the sinus infection I wasn't able to sleep at all.

Around 4:30 AM the thunderstorms had moved on, so I booted up the computer to see if Steam could reinstall Guild Wars while I attempted to sleep. This time Steam got download speeds of 450+ kbps and the game was ready to go within 45 minutes. I shut everything back down and resumed trying vainly to sleep.

The first thing we did this morning was to call the doctor I'd been assigned. This is when we discovered that they aren't taking new medicare patients until June. No exceptions. Since I'm sick *now* this doesn't do me a lot of good.

We then made an appointment with my previous doctor and were over there by 10 AM. Upon checking in, we informed them of the change of insurance (from straight-pay to a care plan) and were told that they wouldn't see me, as they don't accept the care plan. So three years of being a good client amounted to zip. Mom offered to pay it out of her pocket, but they refused that offer, claiming it would be fraud. Let me state this again in plain English: my parents can give me computers, lots of cash, free lodging etc and it's fine and dandy according to SSI, but if they pay one cent towards my medical care it's fraud?! What beancounter came up with THAT? They could have been politer about it; it was lovely being treated as a second-class citizen. Even better is the fact that the care plan's directory LISTS THEM AS A PROVIDER.

We then went to the local pharmacy, which has a walk-in clinic. They don't accept the care plan EITHER (the pharmacy itself does, as oddly as that sounds). However, the nurse was nice enough to direct us to a practice that did. Before heading over there we stopped at home to print out directions and call ahead to confirm they take the care plan. They did, so we were off.

The visit over there went as expected. Fill out a bunch of forms, get looked over by the nurse and visit the doctor for a moment. He proscribed a short round of antibiotics and we were on our way.

At the pharmacy I splurged a little lot. I feel like crap. I need chocolate. On the way home from there we stopped at the Italian deli where I took advantage of the Reuben special (Reuben, Root beer and Chips for $4.25) and picked up a few extras. They had pumpkin cake! I've been wanting to have some of that for a while now, but the grocery stores are all out of pumpkin (something about a recall?), so I got a tray. Note that the deli is run by Amish, so the pumpkin used in the cake was fresh grown.

Shortly after lunch, we left again for the Hobby Lobby. Mom got the papers and some of the stamps she wanted while I picked up wood scraps and some tile to use the wood-burning kit on.

It was about 3 PM when we got home from there. As I'd been up over 35 hours straight, I skimmed some things online and promptly took a nap. About four hours later I got up and started doing things again.

Of note I've created a new Guild Wars character. This is because my play style and the class choices I'd made don't clash well. After much research I created a Ranger/Warrior -- the best of close and ranged combat. My other character was a Elementalist/necromancer. Elementalists are great at range, but their spells use up energy (thus have ammo limits) and suck at close combat. Necromancers are more of a support class, and I'm used to Tanking. By contrast, rangers get a lot of support skills and a LOT of powerful ranged abilities without the limited ammo and weak armor of elementalists while warriors get lethal close combat abilities, also without ammo limits.

Now that my character's classes match my play style, I'm doing very well very quickly. In fact, I might start assisting people that are just as new to the game as I am but not as quick to pick up the mechanics.

My dinner was a burrito meal I picked up at the healthy junk food store the other day. It's not sitting well despite being low fat and 'healthy'.

Mom spent the evening either crying or at the verge of tears worrying about what'll happen if my psychiatrist doesn't take the care plan. They've stated that they accept it if the patient is already established. I've been going there for at least 18 years, so I *should* be established.

Some of my evening was spent looking up some of the details behind this refusal of services and treatment of people under this care plan. I expected one of two main reasons. My first guess was the prevailing right-wing world view that the poor are lazy and getting something for nothing and thus are contemptible for existing. The other guess was that people on medicare/medicaid tend to be real pricks and nobody wants to deal with them. Both make sense as there's plenty of examples -- no cherry picking is required here.

In the end neither was the case. The "no new patients until June" thing has to do with some bill that's being fought over in government (not Obama's big ol' Health Care Plan everyone has been talking about -- another health care related bill). It goes into effect June 1st and makes changes in the way clinics handle their paperwork.

The other reason is that the government is effectively strangling care givers. Doctors are more likely to be sued by the government for malpractice than normal folks, plus the government has the right to audit the paperwork and sue over that. Additionally, practices lose money on medicare/medicaid patients as the government often doesn't pay a fair price. As if that doesn't make the situation touchy enough, there's also the lovely fact that the government plans are more controlling than insurance companies when it comes to what medications or procedures they'll cover.

So to end this post on a high note, here's a story about a woman that gave her cable, internet and phone provider a very clear message. The disclaimer on page 2 just makes this all the better.
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