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Friday, June 12, 2009

"We Don't Take Cash"

“We don’t take cash”

I’ve been all over the intertubes, today, looping for another Bone Doctor.
Looked in San Antone, Austin, San Angelo….
Many, on their webpages, had buttons that said “click here to make an appointment”.
When I did so, I was redirected to another site…that wanted $$$ to continue.
Wouldn’t give me a phone #, address, etc, w/out first ponying up.

I also kept getting the same tired-sounding girl…turns out that there’s a new (to me) “service” that Doctors use: The Appointment-Making Service.
I guess the Doctors are pretty busy…Jut strange and new to me.

Hopefully this “new” service has cost-saving and/or efficiency benefits…

What floored me was being told by many of these Appointment Setters (is there a proper title??) that the Doctor’s Office in question didn’t take cash.
This shocker came when they wanted my insurance information….I don’t have any, of course….so I said “cash”.

Long ago, when I was 13, I happened to be in Toronto when I needed stitches removed.(unfortunate machete juggling accident;almost removed my thumb.)
I was vacationing with my Grandparents at the time.
We located a clinic, had the procedure done, and Papaw was looking for someone to pay…running around with his wallet held before him like a baby bird.
The folks there kept saying “ we don’t need any money…it’s paid for”
It was as if they were speaking Hebrew….he was truly amazed.
Took longer to get the non-payment issue sorted out to Papaw’s satisfaction ( he tipped a nurse $5) than the procedure itself.

This is a wholly different critter. They apparently “don’t take cash to weed out the po’ folks. One can pay with all manner of credit card and through an insurance company middleman…but not with the coin of the realm.

I hafta wonder if this adds cost to the provision of healthcare.
Don’t know ,really…just wonder.
What I know it does is exclude folks like me..who don’t have insurance and don’t use plastic.
I’ve heard the word “rationing” used as a bludgeon by numerous (mostly) Republican politicians, this last week. Seems they are afraid (in a less than truthful manner) that a Single Payer System, or any other Government funded creature, will have the effect of “rationing” healthcare.

I have shocking news!!

We already have rationed healthcare. It’s called the For Profit Healthcare System…and is the most expensive and inefficient system in the First World. And it IS rationed.
Only the rich and those lucky enough to get “benefits” get served.(and folks on Medicare/Medicaid). Those of us who are not rich, not employed, and not destitute enough to qualify (my wife brings in just over $1000/month, and we make too much jack), we are left to make do.

This is known, I believe, as “Falling Through the Cracks”.

The Doctor I finally got an appointment with…or rather the girl who finally let me through the filter to get an appointment (at the end of July!)…couldn’t give me a ballpark figure. Just didn’t know.
Said to start with $250, and “go from there.”
I can only guess what an MRI of my hip is gonna run.

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