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As one of the millions of uninsured Americans trying to stay healthy in this country, I had to make my annual trip to the Doc-in-a-Box (as my mother used to say about urgent care clinics) to get my prescriptions re-written. This doctor was a new one, though, whom I'd never seen before. I was told he'd see me for a charge of $60 and then only write one month's worth of my prescription, and having only 1 day's worth left on my prescription I agreed to the terms. What happened during the visit was mostly routine, until I started explaining my situation. His response absolutely floored me.
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The doctor was friendly and put me at ease while the usual checks were being made such as looking in my ears and throat, checking breathing, etc. I explained why I needed the medication I was on: I cannot function without it due to severe pain. I'm not on any narcotics and this drug is not even classified as a pain reliever but somehow it works magic and lets me not have to feel chronic muscle pain and stiffness, or at least not to the degree I feel it when I'm not on the meds. It also greatly reduces the number of migraines I get, so that my $20 per pill migraine meds don't have to be purchased or used as often.

As any good doctor would, he asked me about my symptoms and what my suspicions were about them. I mentioned that thyroid disorders run in my family and I suspect something may be wrong with mine. He checked it and said it was slightly enlarged and then said he wanted to order a battery of tests. I told him I'd be happy to take any test he wanted me to take, except I am uninsured and can't afford the fees for the thyroid tests. I also mentioned I'd recently moved out of the area and would need to find another doctor but came to his facility since they already had my records.

That's when he started to say things I never thought I'd hear a doctor say, at least not one in the Deep South. He said that regardless of what my political beliefs might be, the biggest crisis we face in America is healthcare, and that I should vote for a candidate who supports universal healthcare.

I almost fell off the examining table!

He said that we already have socialized medicine, then held up his VA Hospital ID badge. He said he was only filling in at this clinic over the weekend but normally works for the VA. Then he told me that he's an independent contractor who has to purchase his own health insurance but also pays into Medicare and Medicaid. He said he considered it "paying double" but really, everyone who has health insurance is in that same boat, aren't they? I told him I'm also a contractor, but recently took a pay cut just to get the job I'm in now and the health insurance wasn't affordable for me after that cut. It would have cost me another $10/hr just to sign up for the contracting agency's health care plan.

He repeated his message, telling me no matter what my political beliefs are that I should vote for a candidate supporting universal healthcare, and he said that it's a crying shame that the richest nation in the world does not guarantee health benefits for its citizens and doesn't treat healthcare as a basic human right. I told him not to worry, that I'm very liberal and will definitely be voting in support of universal health care.  I didn't name names.

Then he did something nice and wrote my prescriptions (the daily one and the migraine one) for six months instead of only one. The nurses were impressed and told me they don't know what I said to make him do that but I must be great at sweet talking! I think it was the confession that I know exactly what he's talking about and want to see a change just as much as he does.

This is only anecdotal evidence, but it made me hopeful that more people out there will be paying attention to this issue and voting in their own interests this time, choosing someone who will help this great nation finally take care of its own citizens.

Originally posted to rioduran on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 07:10 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips? recs? (30+ / 0-)

    I've been offline for a few months so my TU status went bye-bye. Recs are greatly appreciated!
    Also, any TU's out there who want to tame the tags, feel free to do so. Those were the best ones I could come up with.

    "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." --George W. Bush

    by rioduran on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 07:11:45 PM PST

  •  heath care cost are killing (6+ / 0-)

    businesses left and right with our jobs being shipped to countries that have Universal health.  and with what we spend, we only have the 37th best health care in the world -- yeah us -- psst

    Born in Oklahoma Raised in Ohio Escaped to Meechigan!!!

    by MI Sooner on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 07:17:08 PM PST

  •  Great story. (6+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, you are competing against the GOP debate. I don't recall it being brought up in their debate though.
    Hopefully your diary will get a bit more attention now the debate is winding down.

    We have no future because our present is too volatile. We only have risk management. The spinning of the given moments scenario. Pattern Recognition. ~W. Gibson

    by Silent Lurker on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 07:18:30 PM PST

  •  Going to the doctor is scary enough, (6+ / 0-)

    Worrying that even buying insurance will wreck you financially is downright petrifying.

    Who'll stop the rain?

    by jhop7 on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 07:19:03 PM PST

    •  no kidding! (7+ / 0-)

      I'm hoping to get picked up permanently at this job so I'll have health insurance, sick days, vacation and holidays. Or else I hope to get a job somewhere new that will include health care or at least pay me big enough bucks to purchase it on my own.
      I threw my back out moving into my new apartment and in the past 3 weeks I've spent $425 out of my own pocket in chiropractor fees, just to be able to get around again. Of course with a messed up back, I didn't work as many hours as usual so my most recent paychecks are tiny. Had to spend $99 to take my son to a Minute Clinic last week, $60 for this doc, $425 for the chiro, and a couple hundred for prescriptions. Now I'm broke and rent is due. It f'ing sucks.

      "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." --George W. Bush

      by rioduran on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 07:28:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish you well, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rioduran, YoyogiBear, Newzie

        and I hope your back gets better soon.

        Who'll stop the rain?

        by jhop7 on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 07:44:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What's a 'Minute Clinic'? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rioduran, Kitsap River, Newzie, Indy1776

        It sounds like WalMart Health Care.

        The American health care system sucks ass.

        I live in Japan - another country with universal health care - and wrote a diary here about how it works, including the monthly costs, which are totally transparent:

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        Americans would love hassle-free, universal health care.  It doesn't cover everything (in Japan, Chiropracters aren't covered), but it takes care of most things, businesses would love it, and even doctors would probably be thankful to be delivered from the clutches of greedy insurers.

        When I go home for x-mas, I'm going to sell the benefits of Universal Health Care to all of my friends and relatives.  One of the only reasons I don't move back to the US and resume my life there is because I have zero faith that I can find adequate, affordable health care.

        American overseas? Register to vote at www.VoteFromAbroad.org

        by YoyogiBear on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 08:20:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If it pronounced (3+ / 0-)

          "MY newt", I might be okay with it, assuming they check every little sign and symptom in detail.

          However, if it is pronounced "mi NUT", then I have a problem.

          January 20. 2009 cannot come soon enough.

          by Crisis Corps Volunteer on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 08:31:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Minute Clinic (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AllisonInSeattle, YoyogiBear

          ...IS almost Wal-Mart healthcare! It's CVS Pharmacy health care. It's a tiny, closet-sized doctor's office inside a major pharmacy chain store. The place really is a doc-in-a-box. I took my son there for a strep test and consultation for a sore throat and other cold-like symptoms.

          "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." --George W. Bush

          by rioduran on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:01:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  God help us. What a ridiculous system. (4+ / 0-)

            I was visiting my Dad (who is pretty Republican though no longer a Bush supporter) in Arizona last year and he was sort of bragging to me about the WalMart prescription drug plan and how great it was.

            I actually think he was trying to convince himself that it was somehow superior to what the rest of the industrial world does.

            Personally, I'd choose Universal Health Care, which would be more comprehensive, easy to administer and easier for Americans to use.

            I hope you get well.  I am truly disgusted at the sort of crap Americans have to put up with when it comes to health care.

            The only reason the myths about Universal Health Care keep coming up in discussions is because too many Americans simply don't understand how it actually works.

            American overseas? Register to vote at www.VoteFromAbroad.org

            by YoyogiBear on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:17:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The sad/funny thing is, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rioduran, Silent Lurker, YoyogiBear

              people like my redneck Republican relatives ridicule (wow, didn't mean to alliterate so much) Docs-In-A-Box places, but at the same time blame immigrants/uninsured clogging up ERs for high healthcare costs. Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing more quick care/minor emergency clinics. Until we can force people to confine their broken bones/gashes needing stitches/babies with asthma attacks or high fevers to 8AM-6PM Monday-Friday, we are going to need non-ER places that can handle these types of things. (I know this from experience - having to take the spouse to the ER for an ugly but minor power-tool incident not during normal work hours.)

  •  I see a neurologist for migraines. (6+ / 0-)

    Last time I was there, he told me I should get another MRI, and I said I would as long as my insurance company would pay for it.  He said, "Screw the insurance companies!"

    Apparently he and your doc are on the same page.

  •  I'm surprised, but not very... (7+ / 0-)

    if he is a VA system doc especially, he knows we have the infrastructure in place. I work for a Military Health benefits coordinator and I agree with him as well, we could probably do the changeover within 12-18 months. I have always been somewhat flummoxed why medical services are not treated as fire and police services are. And I understand doctor's and the costs they bear going to med school, Well, here's the thought have the government pay off every doctor's student loans willing to work in the new system, subsidize med school education, but you will not be allowed to practice medicine outside the system if you take the gov't up on that offer.

    I'm not just for "universal" health care, y'see I'm for revolutionary healthcare. The entire system needs to be reworked from the ground up, or we will face a bigger problem later. Making sure health insurance covers everybody, doesn't address the inequity on the other side of the equation. Insurance costs contribute to health care costs, but so does profit taking by major hospital corporations, doctor's making their office visits worth 200$ for 5-15 mins (admittedly this pays for support staff too-I work in the industry) The whole mess needs to be looked at not in terms of fixing a bridge, but building a new one, with a better, stronger design.

    •  student loans (6+ / 0-)

      Well, here's the thought have the government pay off every doctor's student loans

      Absolutely... most countries with univeral health care provide either free or heavily subsidized med school, so that doctors are not graduating with $150,000 in loans they have to pay off.

    •  I'm with ya there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AllisonInSeattle, Newzie

      It needs to be completely overhauled. I've seen how those profits are put back into posh doctor's offices. The clinic where I saw this doctor had a 60" plasma tv in the waiting room. Nice, but completely unnecessary.
      I've listened to hospital billing collection agents discuss their tricks of the trade and how they'd get patients to put several thousand dollars worth of hospital bills on their credit cards, which would get the collection agent a fat bonus. Of course the bill was incurred for medical services rendered and was past due, but the fact that the collection agents have unfettered access to a person's credit report and can talk them into adding a big dollar amount to their credit card instead of working out an interest-free payment plan sort of disturbs me.

      "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." --George W. Bush

      by rioduran on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:08:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great news! I tell every health professional (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rioduran, Silent Lurker, Newzie

    I come in contact with the same thing. I tell them I'm paying full boat out of pocket, no insurance, and would deeply appreciate it if they'd vote to support someone who'd support universal health care.

    They usually say they would, but who knows if they mean it.

    Sicko was good, as it let us see what other countries are really like, re health care.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:15:20 PM PST

  •  Most of my patients have Medicare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosbo, rioduran, Silent Lurker

    and it's a lot simpler to take care of them -- I know what's covered, and the coverage is quite good although the pay scale is stingy.  I don't have to worry I'll bankrupt a family by sending someone to the hospital.  Medicare is just about universal health care for everyone over 65, and it serves the people it covers pretty well.  Medicare for everyone wouldn't be perfect but it'd be a lot better than what we have now.

    We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

    by david78209 on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:05:03 PM PST

    •  I forgot to add... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cosbo, rioduran, Silent Lurker

      I urge patients who don't have insurance to rattle their congresscritters' cages for universal health coverage.  I hope we get it as soon as we have a competent President.  Dubya would farm all our health care out to HMO's, especially if Halliburton and Blackwater were in that business.

      We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

      by david78209 on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:08:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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