Swallow it down, what a jagged little pill
It feels so good, swimming in your stomach
Wait until the dust settles.
You Learn – Alanis Morisette
By Randall Grantham
Two things you learn in civilized society are that you never discuss religion or politics in mixed company. Everyone has an opinion just like the saying goes, but you don’t necessarily want to stir up an argument with the other end of that saying at a social setting.
I’ve learned that writing about politics or religion, especially Catholicism, can get people quite agitated. Although the time could not be riper for writing about the struggles the Catholic church is having internationally, I will not touch the subject.
I did talk politics with my doctor, who just happens to be a Catholic. That seems to be as good a way as any to lead into this column about politics, specifically, the Health Care Bill or, for those of you playing at home, ObamaCare.
I don’t understand what all’s in there. I don’t think anybody does. Still, something had to give in our system. We are the only country that relies so heavily on for-profit companies to provide the bulk of our health care programs and it was headed for the tipping point.
I’m not talking about doctors making a profit. They do and they should. I’m talking about the dreaded “middle man,” the insurance companies that scrape the cream off the top and leave many without affordable care or, in some instances, any care.
My doctor, who is also a loyal reader, brought up the subject the other day during my yearly visit. He noted that I hadn’t put in my two cents on the subject and wondered what I thought.
I responded by telling him about a mailer I just received from a local attorney who is running for the State House. He wanted me to sign a petition saying that, constitutionally, the matter is for the states to resolve and that we should support State Attorney General McCollum’s suit against the Federal Government challenging the new law. I had considered writing a letter to said attorney explaining why I would not be sending the signed petition in.
As a sole practitioner, for the past couple decades I’ve gotten my health insurance through my wife’s employer’s group plan. She’s been out-of-work for going on a year now and the COBRA extension that is now costing me over $650 a month will expire this year.
So I started shopping around for health insurance for the two of us: a non-smoking 50 plus male, four years post op from a total hip replacement who takes statins to maintain good cholesterol numbers and a less-than 50 year old woman who, without revealing any confidences, has a few prescriptions herself.
Sure, I’m a big-time lawyer. I can pay some high premiums you might say, although you’d be wrong. Well, so far, it’s not a matter of price. It’s “I’m sorry Mr. Grantham, we won’t insure you for any price!”
So I’m thinking this “can’t refuse coverage for pre-existing conditions” may be a good thing.
“Well, this new government program will ration our right to medical care” some say. Grandma’s not “shovel ready.” My doctor pointed out to me that insurance companies have been “rationing” care for years. We’ve just gotten good at working around it.
“My patient needs an MRI for excessive headaches.” Denied, says the insurance company, “We only authorize MRI’s if one pupil is more dilated than the other.”
Come here Timmy. Let the nice doctor look at your eyes. “Well, what do you know? One pupil is larger than the other.” MRI approved.
So my lawyer friend will not be taking my petition to Tallahassee, if he gets elected. Besides, when you look at it, the new law actually leaves a lot up to the states. In an attempt to provide more affordable and accessible coverage to individuals and small businesses, it creates state-based insurance exchanges. Now the states may beef up their oversight of the insurance market.
The Federal Government leaving these decisions up to the individual states? Well, that sounds positively Marxist! Or is it Fascist? I can’t keep up, but that hopey-changey thing might just work out for us after all.
Randall C. Grantham is a lifelong resident of Lutz who practices law from his offices on Dale Mabry Highway. He can be reached at . Copyright 2010 RCG
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