Surgery Center of Oklahoma Blog

November 29, 2011

National Health Care, Act 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — surgerycenterok @ 9:05 pm

You now have the government’s health insurance you have hoped for.  Hooray!  And it’s free!  Let’s say you live in Manhattan and you wake up with a little sore throat and you think,”wow…this is great.  I can go to the doctor now and it won’t cost me anything.  This sore throat isn’t really that bad, but what the hell, it won’t cost me anything!”  You walk to the nearest clinic and, WOW!  There is a line out the door!  Gosh, I guess everyone’s excited about this new health plan! You get in line (and it’s cold outside) and the guy in front of you says that they had just announced that if you were in line outside that you would need to come back after lunch.  Wow!  It’s only 8:15 am.  Boy they are really busy.  Just think of all of the folks getting health care now that weren’t getting it before!  This is just a minor inconvenience to you as you really aren’t that sick so you go back to your apartment.  Probably shouldn’t go to work because I might be sick.  Oh well, I’ll know right after lunch!

You decide to try a different clinic that is a little farther away, thinking that it might not be so crowded.  You arrive right at 12:30. The line is out the door again!  You get in line and begin your wait.  The line doesn’t seem to be moving very fast.  You hear a conversation up ahead and it goes something like this:

“I don’t think that doctor has any one in the exam rooms.”  ”What makes you say that?”  ”No one is going in and no one is coming out.” “Don’t they have to see us to make a living?”  ”I don’t know about that, but maybe not if the doc is on salary.  I think this clinic is owned by one of the big hospital chains here in New York.”  ”I guess if the guy is on salary, he really doesn’t care if he sees anyone or not.  He makes the same, regardless.”  ”Wait a minute!”  ”What does that sign say?”  ”It says that the clinic cannot charge you and that here’s a number to call if anyone here tries to charge you.”  ”OK. I feel better about this place already.” “How long have you been in line?” “Four hours.”  ”Wow.  What’s wrong with you?” “My elbow was kind of sore when I went to bed last night but was better this morning.  I just want to make sure that it’s not cancer or something.”  ”Good idea.”  ”Do you think you will get an X-ray or a scan of some kind today?”  ”Yeah, or I’ll have my lawyer get after them.”  ”Good idea.”  ”I also want to get a note that orders physical therapy from 3-5 every afternoon for awhile so I can cut out from work a little early.”  ”Yeah, good idea.”

During this conversation you notice that the line still hasn’t moved.  No one in, no one out.  The receptionist is sitting with her head down working on some kind of paper but you can’t see what it is.  She seems completely oblivious to the packed waiting room.  Sitting slightly behind her is a member of the NY police department.  Why would he be needed here? Now it’s 2:30.  You make your way to the receptionist to ask her how much longer she thinks it might be for you to be seen.  Chewing her gum she looks up from her magazine,  turns to the officer and says, “Charlie,” at which point the policeman stands and tells you to get back in line or there will be trouble.

You notice that your throat isn’t really what’s bothering you right now.  You are thinking about everything you’ve seen and heard today.  It all seems so confusing.  How could it be?  Health care for everyone couldn’t possibly mean health care for no one, could it?  Just then the receptionist opens her bullet proof glass slide and announces that the doctor has gone home with a sore throat and that no further patients will be seen today, thank you.

OK!  Well that explains everything!  Try again tomorrow!  You feel bad for doubting now.  Gosh it’s nice to understand!

G. Keith Smith, M.D.

  • Share/Bookmark

1 Comment »

  1. On your way back to your apartment, you notice a flashing neon sign “Approximate wait time 0 minutes”. You are intrigued and look closer to see its another Doctor’ office. You walk in and speak with the fine looking gentleman in a white coat sitting at the counter (no bulletproof glass). You ask him if this is a Doctors office and could you be seen today. He says “sure, how about right now.” You are a little confused after your experience that day in line and proceed to ask this gentleman who the Doctor is? He replies, “well its me!” You are shocked and ask him where his staff is currently and he replies,”Your looking at the staff.” You excitedly reply that you would love to be seen. He say “no problem, that will be $75 and I only except cash.”
    You think for a moment about how the past few years you have been paying $500 per month for private health insurance, and along with the $50 copays for office visit. Now that you pay nothing for health insurance, paying this Doctor$75 to be seen right away is actually quite a bargain.

    You pay the Doctor and he promptly sees you in the exam room, efficiently diagnoses your problem and sends you on your merry way with a prescription and a note for work that day and the next. You tell all your friends about your experience and continue to see this wonderful Doctor now and then for your healthcare needs. Occasionally, you will walk by the office and see the neon sign wait time . It never is more than 15-20 minutes and you routinely see happy individuals leaving his clinic.

    “National health care”…Bring it on!

    Comment by jason Sigmon — November 29, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress