Yesterday I got insulin syringes from Harvey’s Pharmacy. Today I ordered glucometer test strips and was told that they couldn’t supply them. Gary, the very nice and thoughtful pharmacist who owns Harvey’s, explained it to me.
I have Medicare primary and Medicaid secondary. Medicaid doesn’t cover pharmaceuticals. Medicare, parts A and B, covers the biggest things—hospitalization—and the littlest things—testing supplies, i.e., glucometer test strips and lancets. Medicare, part D, covers prescriptions, i.e., insulin and syringes. Glucometer strips and lancets can only be bought under prescription, too. And what kind of government insanity puts syringes under one plan and strips under another?
When Gary got the paperwork package to renew his pharmacy’s participation in Parts A & B, it was an inch thick. It was so cumbersome that he would have had to pay a lawyer thousands of dollars to enroll, so he dropped it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the medical care system is finally going to die: buried under government paperwork.
My chiropractor has stopped billing government insurance because it’s not worth it. He’ll still see his patients and negotiate with them for payment—bring him a bucket of apples from the tree in your backyard and he’ll probably call it square—but he won’t do the government paperwork. It costs him more to submit it than what he gets paid back from it. He is paying the government to be allowed to bill the government.
I haven’t had any gynecological checkups in years because my doctor dropped me because I had Medicaid secondary. He got paid by Medicare primary—the major portion of his bill was still being paid—but billing Medicaid secondary wasn’t worth it to him so, in addition to dropping Medicaid, he dropped all his Medicaid patients. Ask yourself, how many of your doctors would still see you without insurance? Ask them.
The single biggest problem in the provision of medical care in America is government paperwork. It’s burying the system.
A large part of it is because the government is committed to stamping out fraud. There have to be ten thousand guards and safeguards to ensure that you, the taxpayer, don’t get ripped off. Your perceived cynicism and distrust is one of the main factors driving the paperwork. Also, Big Daddy Government wants to make absolutely sure that you only get what they think is good for you, and they are driven by the pharmaceutical companies, which have two lobbyists for every congress-person.
The taxes you send the government are being used to create government jobs for paper-pushers. You are not paying for quality medical care; you are paying the salaries of government clerks who process paperwork, and their bureaucratic bosses.
The neighborhood Rite Aid pharmacy has corporate headquarters where lawyers probably fill out the Medicare enrollment paperwork. Harvey’s Pharmacy just has Gary, who still makes home deliveries.
You want to cut the cost of medical care? Ask Mitt Romney what he’s going to do to cut the paperwork. Ask President Obama. Ask yourself, because the steadily increasing trend is that your doctor won’t treat you if you have government insurance and your drugstore won’t fill your prescriptions.
The American medical care system is being crushed by the weight of paperwork. The end is in sight. It’s not going to happen someday in the future. It’s happening right now. I’m taking insulin without being able to check my blood sugar levels.