Friday, March 10, 2006

Depressing Thoughts For The Weekend

The government run medical clinic in our town, which is for indigent patients, is a shining example of our tax dollars at work.

Today I called it to speak to someone about a particular patient of the clinic that I needed some information about.

After I got the requisite automated operator, I was able to navigate the options available using the keypad of my telephone.

I was able to talk to a person at that point. Unfortunately the lady could not help me with my request.

So I was put on hold. I sat on hold for approximately five minutes before the phone started to ring, to be answered by a different female voice. I am using the word answered loosely. Before I could say a word, I was asked if I could please hold. "Sure," I said. I wasn't in any big hurry.

That was 11:30 this a.m. After sitting another 5 minutes on hold, I decided to pursue another avenue of gathering the needed information, which took less than 2 minutes.

However, I decided I was going to conduct a little test. I had not yet hung up the phone with the indigent clinic. Instead, I put it on speaker, and went about the rest of my work.

By noon I was ready to go to lunch. My call was still on hold. I have a timer on the phone that keeps track of the length of the phone call. It was now over 30 minutes.

I decided to go to lunch, finish up some hospital work, and get back to the office.

Fast forward. It is now past 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I am back. My phone line is still on hold. I have finally decided to hang it up. After almost 3 hours on hold.

How this could happen is beyond my imagination. Every phone system I know of has a mechanism of notifying someone endlessly if a line sits on hold.

Well, who cares? You could ask that question. We all should care.

Because this WILL be healthcare in the United States. It is going to happen that eventually the government is going to take over health care. It WILL happen. Most likely in our lifetimes. And this is an example of the service we will be getting.

The reasons I say that are many, both big and small. But the main reason it is going to happen is because of man's selfishness. You see, we want someone to take care of us.

"I shouldn't have to pay for my healthcare."

For years Americans have looked to employers to provide them insurance. They never saw the hidden costs that were there. Corporations are now getting out of the business of providing coverage. Too expensive. And people are outraged, feeling this is something they are entitled to have. Why? Employers don't pay for your auto insurance. Or home or renter's insurance. Or your food. Or make your house payment for you. Why should they have to provide health insurance?

The system will reach a breaking point in time. And who is going to be there to swoop in and pick up the pieces?

Our politicians. With wild promises to deliver the impossible. And Americans will go for it in a flash.

And when the government runs the program, incentive to give excellent care will end. There will be no competition.

We'll have no choices.

Kind of like the poor people in my town, who have no other choice than to go to this particular clinic I write about today. God help them.

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