1:38 PM

The Healthcare Debate

So here is my problem with the entire debate: NO ONE has asked those who actually fall under the "government" health care that is use now.

I get the true Federal Government Health care Plan. IT SUCKS! As a military spouse (not active duty) I get what the government already has in action for taking care of my health care needs. Active Duty service members get completely different care, including pushing me out of the way so that they can be seen. It is called Tricare, for those of you who don't know.

For those of you who do know & have romantic ideologies that we get this wonderful care for free, you are sadly mistaken. Nothing is ever free & nothing comes "free" without risks. My family unit not only has to make many sacrifices like moving all the time, often times to places you don't want to be, to being separated over & over again missing every important event & holiday in our lives.

How this system works (though I hear that the Air Force is the exception to this rule) is that you don't get to see the same physician twice (unless they are a the only specialist). You may be assigned the Primary Care Physician (PCP) that you choose but then when you call to make an appointment when you need one, & he/she may be booked for months! So you end up seeing who is available, which may also be the one doctor you clash with.

Secondly, when you call to make that appointment for "sick call" because the flu snuck up on you, the untrained, regular Joe on the other end of the phone gets to make the decision if your condition is serious enough to get an appointment same day or if you need to call again tomorrow, & the next day,..until there is a free appointment.

You need to see a specialist, like the orthopedic, right? Your PCP gave you the OK to go see the one in the clinic. You call to make an appointment but none are available until 2 months from now. What? Why? Because your base/post also is a training facility & the active duty get the first appointments. Then conveniently when those appointments are finally free in 2 months, the orthopedic is taking his 2 weeks vacation! You then have to wait 2.5 months in pain, with no solution or answers, gradually getting worse day by day. What job let's you take 2.5 months off until you can get an appointment?

Forget trying to find an "alternative" route to your health care unless you want to pay completely out of pocket by seeing the physicians in town like Chiropractors. Only active duty get any coverage for this practice but only after they have a referral from their PCP & usually only if the on base/post facility has one contracted with them.

Dental? Not free. We still have to use United Concordia at a low rate. But they don't cover anything. You want anything outside basic care, you pay for that out of pocket too.

vision? Right! They will give you an eye & contact exam, but they don't cover those trendy new glasses or any contacts. You still pay for those completely out of pocket.

And let's not forget the numerous times that "they" loose your records! Though many are starting to switch over to electronic records system (which I support) but your older records aren't in the system & will get lost...at least 3 times in a year.

I don't get to choose my care or my physician. I don't get to be seen when I "need" to be seen but only when there is availability. I don't get completely "free" care, but have to pay a lot out of pocket still to get the better care, especially since I have glasses & contacts. I also don't get "personalized" care. Since I never seen the same doctor twice, I never get to build a rapport with the physician, which means each appointment I have to start all over from scratch! It gets old repeating yourself & your medical history.

I have to say the Laboratory of most all facilities have been awesome. You get orders in the system for whatever lab work you need. You go see them. They take the labs. You leave & they send the results back through the system. However, I have had labs lost for months before. 2 months to be exact!

By being pushed through a "system" often times things are over looked & misdiagnosed. I can't count the number of times I have been brushed off for long periods of time, suffering, before they finally take it seriously...usually because I am yelling at that point! I had a girlfriend who was misdiagnosed her entire pregnancy as having the flu for months when in reality it was preclamcia which resulted in an emergency delivery because she was on the verge of a stroke when they finally decided it wasn't the flu. I have another friend who had been trying to get care for 2 months but nothing was available for her & her "symptoms" didn't seem severe enough for same day appointment to find out that she had Stage III cancer!

If you think for a second that completely free & full coverage government health care is a solution, please, come take my care for a year & see how you feel then? When you need an emergency surgery & show up 30 minutes before your appointment time but don't get taken into surgery until 8 hours later, let me know how you feel?


April said...

That totally blows. I knew it was bad, but had no idea it was THIS crazy...holy cow! It doesn't surprise me, though. My dad has been yanked around by the VA so bad...it would take me forever to tell you what happened to him. Thank goodness he has Medicare as a backup!

Good luck to you, girl. :( I suddenly feel VERY grateful for my Blue Cross plan!