Thursday, July 6, 2017

Moron of the Month - July 2017

Up until two weeks ago, I didn't know who this rat bastard was.   I look at his name and it reminds me of something you take for acid reflux.   That's fitting since my research on this dope has made me gag ever since.

This will be a rare political diatribe from yours truly because this guy made me so freakin' mad last week.  Priselac is the president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Hospital in LA. which is where the stars go to die.   Well, in an edition of the Sunday Los Angeles Times last week, Cedars-Sinai took out a whole page ad so Priselac could bloviate ad nauseum on the health care issue in America.   He took Congress to task for tinkering with Obamacare as it worked on the Trumpcare replacement.   He was one of the big shots who consulted with Obama to create the Affordable Health Care Care and challenged why anybody would mess with it.   

Forget the fact neither the new plan or the previous Obama debacle solve any problems.   Indeed, they just create more.   I've been laughing out loud at my Facebook page where "friends" wring their hands at the repeal of Obamacare.   I would counter that 99.9 percent of them don't know what is in either bill. That's okay because the lawmakers didn't either.   Both bills are over 10,000 pages!   And I'm guessing that bureaucrats, who are woefully out of touch with America, also are clueless.   From his full page ad in the LA Times, Thomas Priselac sure looked like a moron to me.   A well-paid one, I might add.  He's in the top 3 of salaries for medical professionals at 2.77 million dollars a year. Yeah, I really want this asshole making decisions for me.

So, on that Sunday, not only did I have to endure Priselac's printed prattle, but I had to withstand it one more time when it was used as part of the sermon in my church.   Oh, puh-leze!  Can we please stick to the Gospels and leave the political yapping at home??   There are times I go to worship and the whole morning morphs into an episode of "The View."

But I digress....

Okay, I will admit that this whole health care discussion is a complicated one and certainly way beyond my pay grade of skills.  At the time of inception, I was told by my financial consultant to avoid Obamacare because it would quickly crumble.   And he was right.   I'm hearing the Trump version is really not that much different except there are unfortunate cuts in certain areas.   Regardless, what is being crammed down our throats either way is nothing but medical welfare.   It's great if you're poor and somebody pays for your care.   It's great if you're rich and somebody pays for your care.   

There is no better example of how fucked up this all is than me.  Because I'm trapped in the middle.

Most people I know have their health coverage comped either by work or by retirement plan.   I have some friends who have this for life.   Most of them are quite vocal when it comes to Obamacare.   We need it, they say!  Well, that's a little sanctimonious as far as I'm concerned.   Please travel a few months in my New Balances.

I have a nice cache of doctors, topped by my terrific internist who got me through a lot two years ago.  None of my physicians are in the so-called networks required by these goofy exchanges of the ACA.  And I want to keep my physicians and pay through the nose for the privilege.

This gets dicey because I don't have health coverage paid by any employer or lifetime pension package.  Nope, I'm one of the unfortunate folks stuck dreadfully in the middle of this fight which Priselac discusses in his op ed advertisement.  There are millions and millions of us who are private contractors and must pay for our own health insurance.  And, as pricey as it is, I would want it no other way.

But, still, the burden is heavy.  I currently pay almost nine thousand dollars a year for a health plan.   Oh, I could pay more for a better plan.   I know some folks who are up over 12,ooo bucks a year.   As it is, I need to go a little cheaper. This means my out-of-pocket deductible is $6,000.   Essentially, my health care coverage is there just in case I get hit by a bus or I'm involved in a 10-car pile-up on the 10 Freeway.

As it is, my health care plan is one of the last ones out there for private people that actually pay anything for out-of-network services.  Oh, sure, they have doctors in their preferred status.   I canvass their directory.   Lots of physicians with Asian and Middle Eastern last names.   I'm sure they're okay.   Not for me.

So, the premium charges would be normally tough to swallow if that's all there was to my medical expenses.   But, then, I meet the year 2015.   When I actually had some health issues.   Okay, in retrospect, they could have been a lot worse.   But, even in their most benign states, I got clobbered financially.

Let's see....

Four emergency visits to my internist.

Six different lab reports on blood to see what was causing my liver to rebel against me.   Turns out it was because I had been taking Celebrex for my knee. Ah, pay attention to those side effects listed in small print on the commercial.

I had occasional throbbing pains in my lower abdomen.   To figure that out, I had to have...

Two MRIs.

One ultrasound.

One CAT scan.

Ultimately, it was discovered there was a gall stone stuck in my common bile duct.   So, I then had to have...

An endoscopy to remove the gall stone.

Wait, there's more...

You will remember I tripped over my own two feet down in the garage.  I fractured my knee cap in three different places.   This necessitated...

One emergency room visit to St. John's Hospital, which luckily is in most networks.

X-rays at three different times.

A shot of morphine.   Did nothing.  

An appointment with an ortho guy who was in my network.   He was surly, did not speak English, and told me to go to another doctor.   For the thirty second consultation, he charged me $500.   Not covered.

Fortunately, I found another great young ortho guy who helped me mend the fracture with the use of a knee brace.   I wore it for four weeks only.   It cost $700 and none of it was covered by insurance.  Why not?   Well, it fell under one of the non-paid regulations as a medical device that insurance companies had to follow as a result of Obamacare.   When I let the invoice for this sit on my desk for two weeks, I got a call from the supplier of the brace telling me I had a week to pay or they would turn my account over to a collection agency.   The supplier of the brace was...

Cedars-Sinai, home of this month's moron, Thomas Priselac.

So, over the course of the end of 2015 and the first six months of 2016, I had to address payment for all of the above.   This is why my American Airlines Advantage Card now has a balance of over $14,000.   This is in addition to the nine thousand dollars I pay a year in health insurance premiums.

Where's my options, Thomas Priselac?  Or any of you who constantly yammer endlessly on the merits of affordable health care.  I don't profess to have the answers to any of this.   But the stuff in place right now?   Well, that shit ain't working.   

Thank you, Thomas Priselac for having, as my father would often say, all the answers to none of the questions.

Dinner last night: Hamburger and cole slaw.


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