Breaking Point

The hair, the single thread, holding us to this place is fraying.  The primary care doctor I saw, one of the doctors Blue Cross Blue Shield asked to fill out one of the forms related to prescriptions that had been written, although she did not treat me for any illness or condition and did not see any of my medical records, wrote on that form that I had a history of ulcerative colitis and allergies.  While she was at it, she should have written up that I was morbidly obese, psychotic, and had cancerous legions throughout my internal organs.  If you’re going to shoot, aim for the heart!  So… while I have not been denied health insurance, YET, I have a second round of forms to bring to said doctor so that she can fill in more damaging hearsay and destroy our chances of ever getting health insurance again.

Let this be evidence to any and all other Americans living and working in this United States: DO NOT EVER SEE A DOCTOR.  A friend recently suggested using a fake name, traveling to another city, and paying out of pocket for any tests… literally, to periodically guess at what tests might you need to check in on your health, have them done out of pocket with a fake name, and then go about doing medicine on your own.  I admit it sounded a bit too far-fetched at first glance.  But actually?  After what we have been through?  It’s the best advice I’ve heard.

Is this really the future we face by choosing to live and work in this country?

Deep breath.  Positive thinking.  It will work out.  But wait… even when we do finally manage to get some kind of coverage (our back-up option is to pay COBRA $1500/month for 18 months and then take all the agencies who denied us coverage to court) — what then?  I am frankly too terrified to enter the system again.

Can we ask doctors to see us, but not make any diagnosis?  Ever?  Can they suggest medicines and then let you go buy them in some black market?  Is it possible to have a relationship with a medical provider that is under the radar of the insurance industry?

I’m actually a bit afraid.

And you should be, too.  Do you know that insurance agencies are now compiling a numbered system that can be sold to other agencies, similar to a credit score, for health insurance?  Consider each time you see a doctor, chiropractor, mental health provider, emergency room, community clinic, or medical laboratory to be like missing a mortgage payment… it’s a hit to your score.

Ultimately, insurance is a bet.  They are betting you won’t need it.  You are betting you will.  Each time you collect on their bet is a likelihood they aren’t going to want to play with you again.  Win enough times and you get kicked out of the casino.  At what point does it make sense to not play?  How can anyone be compelled to buy insurance if it costs them a fortune to have it, another fortune to use it, and then precludes them from ever having it again?

Considering the tight wallets on working families who do not have employer benefits combined with what it really means to experience the medical insurance business system as a consumer… having health insurance doesn’t make a lot of sense.  And add that in New Orleans, you get access to better physicians if you seek care in free clinics.

I would really love to stay here, to continue to advocate for working immigrants, the poor, and the disempowered.  Our family has one heck of a lot to give to this community.  But why should we bother, really?  In the end, is there anything for us?  I’m starting to doubt it.  This really could be the last straw.  Somehow, I have to go into this doctor’s office Monday — the one where the physician herself cannot be bothered to even speak with me unless I am paying for her time — and beg and plead for help in finishing these forms in a way that suggests all of her previous “history” notes were incorrect.  Right.

Meanwhile, we continue to hope that any random problems the kids exhibit go away on their own.  As for me?  I feel so frustrated, angry, and desperate… now it’s MY fault that we are not insured.  It shouldn’t be, but there it is.  What if I were really, truly sick?  What if I had a history of mental illness?  Or a serious chronic illness?  Or had a childhood cancer?  What would be the options if anyone in our family had that kind of profile?

I think that by the end of this, both Paul and I will suffer from at least one from the list above.