Friday, March 21, 2014

Obamacare, Stay Strong!

by Pa Rock
Easy Target

After spending several days preparing my tax information for the tax preparer - a good part of which was determining medical expenses related to my heart surgery of March 19th, 2013, - and finishing the project and turning it in - I returned home today to find another damned bill.  The hospital sent it along with a snarky note telling me to get it paid within seven business days.

They can take more than a year to get it to me, but they want my money in seven days or less.  What could be more fair than that?

I called the billing department and fifteen minutes later had a human on the line.  She began her spiel by telling me that the call was being recorded for "quality assurance," which is French for "if you cuss me or yell, I will have it on tape."  No pressure.

The sweetie, and she was extraordinarily nice, could not explain the bill nor make a clear history of where all this particular account had been and for how long at each stop.  Apparently my insurance had been billed in March and made payment in May.  Then Medicare was milked billed in either October or December, and made a payment in December.   Then the bill went to live with Jesus for three months before being sent on to me - along with a thinly veiled threat to get it paid ASAP.

Here is how medicine works - and it has nothing to do with President Obama.  Primary care physicians make as many referrals to specialists as possible, often within their own medical group, and the insurance gets hit at every stop.  The consumer (patient) also makes a co-pay at each stop and believes his doctor is sending him to specialists out of concern for his health and welfare.   Physicians direct patients to particular hospitals.  One sent me to a hospital a year ago who, it turns out, was on the governing board of that facility.  Hospitals often appear to be independent institutions, but tend to actually be owned by large corporations or churches whose motives are more about making money and/or achieving political aims than actual medical care.

(After doing a fair amount of sniffing around, I learned that the hospital where I was treated last year is part of a Baptist chain.  It's not on their literature, or in their name - but it is a Baptist hospital.  I would never, ever, EVER knowingly have allowed myself to be treated in a facility controlled by Baptists -  a group that I consider to be wrong on most of the major political and moral issues of the day.)

Doctors also have political agendas.  I have written in this space previously about two of mine who were far more concerned with scuttling Obamacare than they were with my health.  One of the greedy bastards even had the gall to ask me what I thought about Obamacare while I was lying on his office operating table with an open wound on my back - and I told him anyway!

I paid the damned bill.  (I just wish I could have had it during 2013 when it would have been of some minor benefit on my taxes.)  I was assured by Sweetie that it would be the last bill from the hospital.  (She assured me of that after about three attempts of me trying to pin her down.)  Now, when the next bill arrives, I do have her first name and extension number handwritten on the current bill - and a fat lot of good that will do me!

Okay, I've vented my spleen - and, Dr. Rand Paul, you can put my pithy opinion in your straw poll and smoke it!  Now its time to start filling out those Internet customer reviews on the hospital.  I will probably be more charitable than it's Texas-based billing department was with me, but not much!


Xobekim said...

Check with your tax person, since the bill was incurred in 2013 and didn't arrive until 2014. You may still be able to apply it to the 2013 taxes by amending your return. It is at least worth the cost of the call.

Don said...

That's exactly right. I had this problem with a home builder a few years ago and submitted an amended return. IRS had no problem with it.

Becky Neill Hamilton said...
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