Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Turn your head and cough.

Much of my time now is spent in the the Medical Delivery System. The medical industry has become, well… an Industry! The friendly family doctor has been replaced with a “Doctor Factory” where your health issues are processed. The System consists of three interlocking components, the medical Provider branch, the Insurance branch, and the Pharmaceutical branch, which are tied together under a single unifying goal: amassing huge profits from your illness! Here’s how the system works:

Provider Branch – These are the factories where the doctors labor in indentured servitude in a hopeless attempt to pay back their huge medical school indebtedness. Here the Provider employs a mult-pronged security team of receptionists, physician-assistants and nurses dedicated to one goal: preventing the Patient from having any contact with the doctor. The Physician Assistants are employed by the Provider to remind the doctor that he/she can be replaced with a lower cost alternative at any time.

Insurance Branch – These entities thrive, much like a parasite, to suck money from the patient and dole it out to their co-conspirators, the Provider. Insurance companies have worked out an extremely complex monetary transfer system with the Provider whereby the Provider accepts a lower fee than the Insurance Company wants to pay them, under the threat of breaking the Provider’s kneecaps. By the way, the Insurance Companies get the reduced rate – you don’t.

Pharmaceutical Branch – Like its street smart brethren in the criminal underworld, the Pharmaceutical Branch gets the public hooked on drugs through incessant television advertising. For example, convincing middle-aged men that they need have “Cialis for Daily Use” so they can be ready to spring a boner at any moment. The Pharmaceutical Branch also visits the Provider Branch, offering golf junkets and vacations to Bermuda to motivate the doctor to push unnecessary drugs onto their patients.

The system works flawlessly. The following is a working example of a typical Medical Delivery System event:
  1. Patient pays Insurance Branch a huge monthly premium.
  2. Believing they are sick, Patient calls the Provider for an appointment.
  3. Provider receptionist puts the Patient on hold hoping Patient will die in the interim.
  4. Patient persists. Provider receptionist gives Patient an appointment time, scheduling it far enough in advance in the hope the Patient gets better (or dies) before showing for the appointment.
  5. Patient shows up for appointment thinking they will be seeing a doctor. Patient is seen by a Physician’s Assistant instead.
  6. Physician’s assistant, not being a doctor, (therefore unable to determine if Patient is sick) advises the patient to quit their job, take Tylenol, and drink lots of fluids. Patient is sent home.
  7. Patient doesn’t improve, repeats steps 1 through 4.
  8. Patient shows for appointment and is now allowed to see a doctor - not to exceed 15 minutes in length. Doctor is only allowed to touch the computer, but not the Patient.
  9. Doctor asks what TV advertisements Patient has seen then prescribes the most expensive pharmaceutical. Doctor then plans his/her two week vacation in the Bahamas.
  10. Patient takes the pharmaceutical prescription to the drug store, which contacts the Insurance Company for payment.
  11. Insurance Company refuses payment for the expensive pharmaceutical suggesting instead, a more reasonably priced generic knock-off manufactured by a lead toy factory in China.
  12. Patient ingests the pharmaceutical which either, A) Does no good, or B) Side effects make the Patient sick.
  13. Patient repeats steps 1 through 11.
  14. Patient is now starting to irritate the Provider, so Provider, A) Refers Patient to a more costly specialist, in an attempt to intimidate them out of being sick, B) Sends Patient to a Lab to be poked with needles, in an attempt to annoy them out of being sick, or C) Convinces the Patient that they are fine and sends them home.
  15. Patient receives multiple separate bills for each individual contacted during Provider visit, and a statement from the Insurance Company explaining why it will not pay the bills.
  16. Patient pays Insurance Branch a huge monthly premium.

What’s the best part of the American system of health care delivery? It’s not considered "Socialism".

1 comment:

Rachel said...

As a self-professed socialist, your punchline sent me in paryoxisms of mirth.

They say laughter is the best medicine. So when can I expect the bill?