Sunday, October 4, 2009

Single payer sounds like a good idea all of a sudden...

I used to have some philosophical objections to a single payer health plan... even though I absolutely supported a universal health care initiative, single payer seemed like it created some situations that I would theoretically consider human rights issues, even though from a practical perspective I recognize that single payer delivers high quality results.

I was starting to change my mind over the past couple months as I started to notice a few perverse incentives in health care that seemingly could only be mitigated by single payer. I still wasn't sure, though...

Anyway, all of the above is a nuanced discussion that I may elaborate on tomorrow if I am in the mood for it. What has suddenly convinced me that single payer is a really good idea is much more present and visceral.

Now, I work at a major multinational corporation, I am a salaried employee, and I pay for the most comprehensive health plan my employer offers. While it is true that my employer got rid of all the HMOs a few years ago and now only offer PPOs (which are sweet because you can pick your own doctor with virtually no limitations, but which suck because you typically have to cover 20% of anything that is non-routine), I still think I have what would be considered pretty good health insurance. You better damn well believe I pay for it.

Total out-of-pocket costs for the birth of my first child: FOUR THOUSAND MOTHERFUCKING DOLLARS.

It was supposed to be $1700. Things didn't quite go according to plan, but then again, it wasn't like it was a cesarean or required a visit to the NICU or anything. Pitocin induction, epidural, vaginal birth. We even left the hospital early.

The problem is, there isn't a single unified entity I can complain to. There are at least FOUR parties involved in this fuck-overage: The OB my wife was seeing initially, the midwife, the hospital where she gave birth, and the insurance thieves company.

If it was single payer, even if they decided to fuck me in the ass to the tune of 235% of the initial quote (and by the way, WHY THE FUCK is it legal for insurance companies and providers to conceal net prices from their customers???!?!?!??) at least then I could call somebody up and argue. As it is, basically all I can do is roll over and spread it.

So uh... if I put ads on this blog, will anybody click-through?


  1. C'mon, Jay. You know that the government bureaucrats would sneak in afterwards to deny a substantial portion of the cost, and your out-of-pocket expenses would be thousands of dollars. Just switch to a better insurance company.

    Did I mention the waiting list for childbirth in Canada is so long people have to wait nine frickin' months to give birth?

  2. You know that the government bureaucrats would sneak in afterwards to deny a substantial portion of the cost, and your out-of-pocket expenses would be thousands of dollars.

    You kid, but this probably would be the case in any sort of initial implementation in this country...

    Just switch to a better insurance company.

    hehehehe... Yeah, my blood pressure goes up about 30 points whenever I hear someone talking about how government healthcare would "take away choice" from the public. UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM....

  3. Hi, Jay! As an employee of the evil empire: call and complain about the bill! That's always the first step. There are many times that something isn't entered into the computer correctly, so it doesn't get paid, or you are billed for an extra day you weren't there. Call the hospital and ask for an itemized bill (you have the right to a fully itemized bill) so you know what all the charges are, then contest the claim payment.

    If you want more help, email me at triskelethecat at gmail dot com and I'll give you more steps to take.