Earlier this week I received a call from one of my three health insurance companies. It wasn't from Ms. Johnson in Claims, or Mr. Snodgrass in Customer Satisfaction, or even Miss Blintz in the Rising Premiums Department. The phone call was from the actual "company" itself. It was from an automated system that was little more than a sad commentary on the impersonal and artificial state of corporate America today.
The metallic voice told me that it had an important message for me, one that would have an impact on my health. Okay, that got my attention. The voice then informed me that it had a great concern for my privacy and would therefore need for me to tell it my date of birth. I responded by asking for its date of its manufacture, but the machine voice was not amused, nor was it compliant. After another computer-generated warning that my health could be in peril, I gave in, laying myself bare before the god-like apparatus and telling it what it wanted to know.
But that wasn't enough shaming by an appliance. The next request was for my zip code. Having grown bored with the canned interrogation, I turned my head and coughed up the necessary five digits.
It was at that point that the machine actually did share some information regarding my health care. One of my doctors had prescribed a new medication, one that was rather expensive and one that the insurance company, an entity that is far more medically astute than some old highly-educated and experienced doctor, decided that I did not actually need. My doctor and I each had to make formal appeals, and the machine was calling to tell me that my situation had been re-evaluated and I could now do as my doctor had ordered more than a month ago.
Next the machine wanted to know if I would I like to speak to a human? No, I responded, but I did leave a message that the machine may not have the necessary installed vocabulary to repeat!
Isn't it a comfort to know that corporate America has found another way to keep from hiring people - one more way to increase already obscene profits, keep CEO salaries at shamefully astronomical levels, and deny jobs to qualified and hungry individuals.
And don't even get me started on automated checkouts in stores!
Something tells me that things will only get worse under a Republican Congress.