In the light of currently raging health care debate, I penned down a humor column of my personal account in dealing with the health care system in the US which was published yesterday in The Daily Mississippian.
A Chupacabra named Health Scare
By Arvinder Singh Kang
Special to The DM
For those who don’t know what a chupacabra is, let me tell you my friend, it is a “goat sucker”. And yes, you can call it that.
Whether it considers that nickname derogatory has not been determined yet, because it belongs to a group of animals called Cryptid, a creature whose existence has been suggested but lacks scientific support.
However, searching for “Fox News chupacabra” in Google, gave me proof that my friend chupacabra is no more a silly Cryptid than Big-foot, Yeti (http://bit.ly/27ufOl) and Communist Health Scare.
If I was to consider myself an American and not an alien, as U.S. Immigration Services refers to international students, I would be a 4-year-old toddler. That is the amount of American experience I have, so I’m still in the process of making sense of things, which most of you would find easy to understand.
I’m still trying to make sense of why my doctor’s billing office charged me once for an emergency visit to Baptist Memorial Hospital in 2007 and then sent a collections agency who threatened to “screw my credit” and made me pay twice.
Even after proving it was a mistake in their billing, they haven’t sent my $259 back to me. Baptist Memorial says it has nothing to do with the doctor’s billing office, the doctor herself seems to have moved and the billing company CEO seems to have spent my $259 on Friday night booze.
And that’s why my toddler mind wonders when it watches people yelling to the government, “Keep your hands off my health care!” What on the earth? Whose health care? Definitely not yours - you the old guy in wheelchair! Neither yours Ma’m - you fat one in the silly t-shirt.
Do people seriously believe U.S. health care is not broken?
I wonder if these people ever got a chance to watch the House subcommittee hearings where witnesses testified about the practice of “post-claims underwriting,” which occurs when insurance companies cancel individual health insurance policies after providers submit claims for medical services (http://bit.l/1tH0gJ).
I’m still a smart 4-year-old American. I have a 2-year-old American friend, who got mad when he had to shell out more than $100 to get a tetanus shot after getting hurt with a rusted iron nail on the road, while he can get the same shot in his home country for free.
Back in my home country if I’m sick, I have two options.
If I go to a government hospital, I pay 10 cents (yes, you heard it right), and wait anywhere between 10 - 30 minutes to see the doctor.
No appointment, no insurance, it is as simple as that.
The second option is to visit a private clinic, the cost of which is still quite less then visiting one in the U.S.
The chronic care options might be limited and expensive.
However, for primary care, I do not have to wait days for an appointment with a physician in a country with three times the population of U.S. and at least twice the corruption.
Until recently, the term medical insurance was unheard of in my home country of India.
The U.S. spends the most on health care, more than Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada. Ironically the Commonwealth Fund found U.S. health care consistently under-performed compared to the health care systems of these other countries.
The study found two major differences: The U.S. being the only country without universal health insurance coverage and the U.S. has the highest cost of malpractice insurance of any nation in the study (http://bit.ly/k1PsE).
A lot of time we associate universal health care with socialism. If caring for “the least of these My brethren” is socialism, then so are all-loved Medicare, disabled and veteran health care programs.
Caring for others who have the least are the signs of a healthy and sane nation.
Caring for “the least of these My brethren” has made America “a beacon of hope” for the suppressed and underdeveloped parts of the world.
Steps in that direction would not diminish, but bring back the glory of the old days to what we so proudly call the U.S.A.
Update 2009-09-05: It took exactly 48 hours for the article to take its effect. The CFO of my doctor’s billing office left a voice mail on my phone apologizing exactly four times for the mixup. By monday, the pending check was in my mailbox. More power to the voice of the people!