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For a variety of reasons, I’ve had to see my doctor more than I typically care. Not that I have anything against her personally, but it usually means something is wrong with me. This last visit, she decided that I better go see a specialist because my test results didn’t match up with the symptoms. I’m a health enigma apparently.

Now nothing against the staff or doctors at this specialist, but they have taken the whole ensuring the patient is who the patient says she is to a new extreme. That plus the redundancy in answering questions makes me a bit cranky.

I’m used to stating my name, date of birth, address and whatever other information they deem necessary when I check in for my appointment. I then also had to fill out a health history form. Okay, so that’s nothing new when visiting a new doc. But when the nurse called me from the waiting room, she first asked my name and birth date – because somehow, I might have swapped places with a doppelgänger in the five minutes I waited to be called back. I get it. Preventing insurance fraud, ensuring they’re treating the correct patient.

The nurse shows me to the room, does the standard pre-visit checks and then proceeds to ask me the questions I just filled out on the form. What was the point of filling out the form if you were going to make me tell you anyway? Did you think I was lying on the form? Are all med people following House’s example and assume that everyone lies?

Okay, whatever. Redundancy and paperwork that the government would be proud of, but moving on.

The nurse leaves and not even three minutes later the doctor comes into the room. And she then asks me my name and birth date. Clearly, even though I’m by myself, I guess it could be foreseeable that someone was waiting for some signal from me to come and switch places in the whole three minutes, even though that person would have no idea which room to enter. But whatever.

Doctor the proceeds to go over the work the nurse did. Okay, that’s cool. It’s for diagnostic purposes. I get it. No complaints. We do our visit thing, she tells me the next steps, then sends me to check out with a form that has my name and birth date on it.

Here’s where I almost lost it. At check out, the time that you pay your co-pays/fees, the check-out person proceeds to ask me my name and birth date, despite me just handing her a paper with it. WHAT?!? Um, okay, I get preventing insurance fraud and ensuring they’re treating the correct person, but who in their right mind would trade places with you to pay for you? Not that I would complain. I’d gladly turn over payment of medical bills to someone else. But I think we’ve crossed a line somewhere. Procedures should be put in place by organizations for quality assurance, blah, blah, blah. But procedure for the sake of procedure is a bit ridiculous.

While I’m on the subject of procedure for the sake of procedure. When I tell you I have never had a surgery, and I think I would know, then stop asking me a million questions about a million specific types of surgeries. No surgeries means no surgeries. That doesn’t mean no surgeries, except for that appendix removal. Nope, I would know if someone cut me open for any reason. So do we really need to ask about each specific type of surgery? Again, procedure for the sake of procedure does medical malpractice not stop.

And since we’re on the lovely subject that’s had so much news lately (despite my efforts to avoid it), let’s talk about the ridiculous cost. While I agree, health care coverage is a problem with millions of people un- or under-insured. But the bigger problem – the cost. It’s ridiculous. I even supposedly have “good” coverage and I still pay way too much for anything beyond the standard check-up. For instance, I had a MRI. The cost before my insurance’s “negotiated rate” – over $3,000. After the “negotiated rate” – over $2000. I had to pay out-of-pocket $420 something. Luckily, the hospital being generous, gave me a 20% discount if I paid today or within 2 weeks, which brought it down to about $336. Still ridiculous. Especially considering this was to check for a PREVENTATIVE purpose.

So I say to the insurance companies, stop OVERCHARGING for everything! Any preventative test or procedure should cost me NOTHING. Because in the long run, if my doctor catches the cancer or other disease EARLY, the costs are minimal. But if I have to wait for said test because I can’t afford several hundred dollars a pop, then the costs will be double, maybe even triple to you my dear insurance company.

To the insurance companies and Washington, I say my health is all I got – it’s all anyone has in the end. Stuff comes and goes. Things change or break. But my health has to last me, ideally 80 or 90 years. So, I shouldn’t have to choose between my health and what I need to do to maintain it, and buying groceries for my family. If the pols actually gave a damn about anyone other than themselves and party politics, that is what they’d be working on – figuring out why health care costs so much and how to lower the costs – and not be dictating to doctors what they can and cannot do.

Get a clue. That is all.