Healthcare that Doesn’t Care

Posted: November 17, 2013 in Bike Culture, Cannabis, Politics
Tags: , , , ,

After my run in with that random homeless gentleman the other day I am left with a non-displaced acute mid-scaphoid fracture, my first broken bone. While the scaphoid isn’t a large bone, one of the little bones that connects the thumb to your wrist, its function makes it rather important. It also is slow to heal due to poor bloodflow to that area of the body. I will likely be posting less often for now and shorter posts; I’ll do my best to keep the quality up. My spirits remain high, life goes on and I keep moving forward. This is but another opportunity to learn and grow. Thus far I’ve almost perfected brushing my teeth and using a mouse left handed, still working on getting my one handed typing up to speed. Finding good in the bad, that is how I choose to live my life.

The accident happened on Thursday morning, at the time I thought my wrist was sprained, maybe broken. I doubted it was broken because I wrongly assumed it would hurt more than it did and swell more. Scaphoid fractures have been known to go unnoticed for weeks. I’m glad I am very in tune with my body. Though I was freaking out when I kept reading about how common surgery is and how often there are lasting problems, I calmed down when reading that non-displaced fractures like mine usually heal fine. I just worry about my breaking, parkour, poi spinning, and everything else I do that takes two hands (like typing fast). Videos of all the previous mentioned physical feats would have been posted up soon, now it will have to wait while I heal.

I have insurance through my mom, not an amazing plan but not an awful on either; this fact makes me luckier than many, though only for another month when I turn 26. While I love the healthcare reform I feel it has messed a lot up as well and is not the best option we could have went with. I personally advocate for a single payer option, since virtually every study done of it show decreased cost and/or better quality of care. If we had a single payer healthcare system I could have just walked into the closest clinic, best clinic, or one with the least wait by checking a clinic database or similar resource.

Instead, the first clinic I called only accepted my insurance for the doctor visit, not the x-ray which they knew was the sole reason I was there. No one felt fit to mention this when I called to schedule an x-ray on Thursday and told them my insurance. This fact was only mentioned after nearly three hours of waiting, forms, and finally briefly seeing a doctor. The clinic’s x-ray tech sent me to the hospital down the road that did take my insurance for x-rays because “they do that all the time”, but with only one page of my 2-page doctor’s order this time.

The hospital staff was much more helpful, and called back to the clinic to speak to my doctor. The doctor was flabbergasted that I left because “this never happens.” The hospital took the x-ray’s and had a far more competent doctor look them over who identified the fracture. Unfortunately they had no urgent care center, only an emergency room (about five times as expensive, only for real emergencies). This meant a trip across SF to the urgent care clinic and my third medical clinic of the day (who could have done all of this themselves, had I only known). Finally, 5 hours later I had a thumb immobilizing splint and a prescription for painkillers, as well as 2-3 different medical bills I would imagine.

The final doctor and I talked a bunch about the new healthcare reform. While it is awesome that being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition and I was able to stay on my mom’s insurance a few more years, this is not an ideal system. A single payer option would have negated all that run around and me risking further injury. Did I mention I was walking for miles or on the bus? I don’t own a car nor could I drive right now or even ride a bike with my wrist. The icing on my cake with the Affordable Care Act was signing up for healthcare.gov and having them over-inflate my yearly earnings by nearly $3,000, bumping me out of getting benefits. My issues with them looking solely at pre-tax income aside, I know how to do math and I know how to tell what  my pre-tax income is from what it isn’t. This isn’t even difficult math.

I’m wondering where the magical mystery $3,000 I am supposedly getting comes from. Maybe something saucy and risque like hooking, maybe stripping? Perhaps more respectable work like union carpentry or as a chartered accountant? Since the government is making it up I supposed they can claim it to be from whatever industry suits their needs. All I know now is that I need to contest their numbers and try to get this either explained or fixed. If I am making $3,000 more a year I want to know how I collect.

[EDIT]: It occurred to me after writing this earlier that I have had limited first hand experiences with a single payer healthcare system, which may have shaped my views. First, when I was sixteen I was in Germany with my father, it was my first time out of the country and I can speak some German. While there my father randomly fainted while we were packing to leave Nuremberg. The doctor we saw that day at a clinic, where I do not recall paying anything, said my father had a small stroke. We got quite good care and got home safe, albeit the trip was cut short. My second experience with single payer healthcare is a bit of an odd example, one people wouldn’t normally think of, Burning Man. At this year’s Burn I got a chunk of playa grit in my eye, which scratched my cornea, put me in medical for three hours, and left me rocking an eye patch for the rest of the Burn. My medical care, medicated eye drops, eye-waterboarding…everything was free. I even had to go to two different clinics, it was still free. My ticket paid for the event insurance which covered many minor injuries. Major ones required an airlift and that you have to pay for.

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