Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Explaining the Smoking Wreckage of Obamacare

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, generally referred to (with a huge sneer, if you're a Republican) as Obamacare, is a classic example of a virtuous idea (allow Real People to actually be able to afford health care) gone wrong. Of course, it's had a lot of help going wrong ... the GOP has for years done everything possible to undermine it, and now that it's in trouble, they can point and say we told you so. Yes, Obamacare has problems, but the level of screaming hysteria, twisted statistics, and selective use of apocryphal stories has made it all but impossible to accurately evaluate it on its merits.

As a public service to you, Dear Readers, I offer this collection of useful information which may help you to evaluate your health care options. You may wish to take the short cut and just sign up for the Canadian Plan. Of course, you'll have to move to Canada, but at least they don't have Congress trying to screw it up.

Here we go ...

1. What Does "HMO" Stand For?

This is actually a variation of the phrase, "Hey, Moe!" Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Doctor Moe Howard, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget about the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eyes. Modern practice replaces the physical finger poke with hi-tech equivalents such as voice mail and referral slips, but the result remains the same.

2. Under Obamacare, Do All Diagnostic Procedures Require Pre-Certification?

No. Only those you need.

3. I Just Bought New Health Insurance Under Obamacare. How Difficult Will It Be to Choose the Doctor I Want?

Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors who were participating in the plan at the time the information was gathered. These doctors basically fall into two categories -- those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer part of the plan. But don't worry -- the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half day's drive away!

4. What Are "Pre-Existing Conditions"?

This is a phrase used by the grammatically challenged when they want to talk about existing conditions. Unfortunately, we appear to be pre-stuck with it.

5. Will My New Insurance Cover My Pre-Existing Conditions?

Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.

6. What Happens If I Want to Try Alternative Forms of Medicine?

You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.

7. My Prescription Drug Plan Only Covers Generic Drugs, but I Need the Name Brand. I Tried the Generic Medication, but It Gave Me a Stomach Ache. What Should I Do?

Poke yourself in the eye.

8. I Have an 80/20 Plan with a $200 Deductible and a $2,000 Yearly Cap. My Insurer Reimbursed the Doctor for my Out-Patient Surgery, but I'd Already Paid My Bill. What Should I Do?

You have two choices. Your doctor can sign the reimbursement check over to you, or you can die of old age before your doctor signs the reimbursement check over to you.

9. What Should I Do if I Get Sick While Traveling?

Try sitting in a different part of the bus.

10. No, I Mean What If I'm Away from Home and I Get Sick?

You really shouldn't do that. You'll have a hard time seeing your primary care physician. It's best to wait until you return, and then get sick.

11. I Think I Need to See a Specialist, but My Doctor Insists He Can Handle My Problem. Can a General Practitioner Really Perform a Heart Transplant Right in His Office?

It's hard to say, but if your co-payment is low enough, there's no harm giving him a shot at it.

12. What Accounts for the Largest Portion of Health Care Costs?

The cost of air time for commercials criticizing health care costs.

13. Will Health Care Be Any Different in the Next Century?

No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then.

14. How Can I Tell if I've Selected a Bad Health Insurance Plan?

Here are a few signs that you might have made a bad choice:

-  Staff physicians include Dr. Who, Dr. Kevorkian, and Dr. Demento.

- Your anesthesia choices include whiskey, a bullet to bite on, or a Louisville Slugger to the head.

- Your annual breast exam is conducted at Hooters.

- Tight fiscal controls prevent acquisition of separate rectal thermometers.

- The advice nurse on the phone tells you to "Take two leeches and call me in the morning."

- Tongue depressors taste faintly of Fudgesicle.

- Covered post-natal care consists of leaving your baby on Angelina Jolie's doorstep.

- Radiation treatment for cancer patients consists of having them carry packets of dirt from Chernobyl in their pockets.

I hope this has helped you to evaluate your options under Obamacare, or whatever is left of it after Congress gets done with it. You may be better off with the GOP version: take two tax credits and call someone who gives a damn.

Have a good day. Don't get sick. More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

Sounds like a pretty grim mess.

Duckbutt said...

The best advice is: Don't get sick. Or, if you do, Jack Daniels will help.

Mike said...

I've signed up to be a breast examiner at Hooters. How much is it going to cost me?

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

It started, not with a bang, but with a whimper.