To weigh in on the healthcare debate is in some ways fundamentally silly, especially when reform is being halted by those claiming that “Americans” don’t want reform. (It’s amazing how the vast majority of the Americans I know apparently aren’t American.)
Some people believe that any move toward Obama’s plan is a move to Socialized medicine. Socialized is a word meant to scare people, although we have a socialized military, police force, fire-fighter force, postal service, pre-college education system, etc.
Those who manage to move beyond simply snarling the word “socialized” say that there are two huge consequences to socialization. 1. “Bureaucrats” would get to decide whether I receive care. 2. I might have to wait for treatment.
I’m not all that sure how this would be different from the system now. I belong to what is likely the largest insurance company in California (because of where I work; I would never be able to get insurance on my own due to some pre-existing conditions). To listen to those against reform, this should mean that my doctor and I should get to make medical decisions based on what’s best for my health.
However, there is nothing my doctor can prescribe and no one he can send me to without insurance authorization. This means that bureaucrats are deciding what treatments and drugs I may have access to. This week, they’ve held up two prescriptions (one is a simple refill and one is a larger dose of an existing refill to combat an exacerbation of symptoms).
As far as waiting for treatment goes, I’ve had to wait several months for the neurology appointment I have this week. My insurance company has negotiated a contract meaning I can’t see the allergist I’ve been going to for years. While waiting for an appointment with one I can go to, I’ve been deprived of both my allergy shots and a very necessary asthma medication for over a month now. I have no idea when I’ll be back on them. One specialist can’t give me a follow-up appointment — they’re just too booked up–and there’s no one else to see unless I wanted to drive a few hours (as it is, I have to drive out of town to see the specialists I’ve referenced here). My son has had to wait five weeks to see an ENT after he tore a membrane in his ear even though the referral was marked “urgent.”
I’m extremely lucky to have insurance and I’m extremely lucky to have a caring Primary Care Physician.
But whoever thinks we don’t need reform in this system apparently isn’t using this system as much as some of us do, or else they would be able to see that something has to change.