I Love My Single-Payer, Public Option Health Care Plan
Yesterday, I had my second annual physical exam with my new health care provider. In this year of Health Care Reform, you will want to know how it went. We have been told to beware of anything the government does, because if the government does it, it couldn’t be very damn good. Who is telling us this? Republican politicians. Hey, aren’t they government employees?
I got the notice the other day in the mail that I was due for my next annual physical exam with a request to make an appointment. I called the number on the postcard and did not get a telephone tree. I got Rebecca who arranged for my appointment a week hence. So much for the six month wait nonsense.
Three days later, I got a reminder postcard of my scheduled exam along with notice of my primary physician’s name who examined me last year. Two days later, I got a reminder in the form of a mechanical phone call as to the date and time of my physical exam and it repeated the precautions on what to do and not to do in preparation for the exam.
On the scheduled morning, I found the parking lot only partly full and walked the short walk to the elevators. My building was clearly marked and I presented myself to the reception desk. I also had the option of checking in on the reception room computer. The young man pointed out the waiting room where there were about thirty chairs and seven people waiting. It was 8:30 in the morning, an early appointment at my request.
And there it was, yes, there it was, the sign on the wall notifying me that if my wait was past ten minutes of the scheduled time, to notify the reception center of that ghastly wait duration. Within five minutes of my scheduled time, a friendly young nurse called my name. I was pissed, because I was just beginning a magazine of eloquent prose and poetry written by Veterans of these United States.
Ms. Nurse took me on a short walk to a spic and span room where she weighed me and took my blood pressure and asked me the usual questions. We chatted about health care reform issues and within minutes I was in Dr. Nguyen’s office where he was clicking away on his computer. After a friendly smile, he asked me if I had any health care issues and inquired about other standard physical exam matters. I did have one issue that I mildly inquired about and he scheduled me for a specialist. He gave me the usual physical exam for a man of my age and pointed me to the desk for the specialist appointment.
Another huge wait to see a specialist -- four days hence. After the lab work, I was done. But, I didn’t want to leave yet, because I was simply having too much fun. So, I retired to the main building where they have retail shops and a pastry shop that could not be ignored. Supping on coffee and the marionberry muffin, I sat down in a resplendent sofa chair to read a free current newspaper and people watch. Even though one veteran does not know the next one, there is amiable chit-chat about all manner of things. There is every conceivable sort of veteran there with help at every corner.
I watched as a nurse escorted a veteran up from his comfortable chair. He hesitated and with her firm arm in support, he clicked in his leg prosthesis and disappeared with this nurse down the hall to his appointment. Then a curiosity. A cross-dresser in his 60’s sat down next to me talking on his cell phone to a friend in a volume clearly designed for the rest of us loungers. He was making a date and soon wandered off into these friendly surroundings.
I went to the information desk to inquire if there was a way for me to compliment those who work so hard to make this health care system work and who were so friendly, kind and competent to me. He whipped out a printed form for exactly that purpose.
That night, I was half awake, watching television, when my cell phone rang. It was a mechanical voice reminding me of my appointment with the specialist three days after this one.
Who is it that says the government can’t run things well? It is the Republicans saying those things. Do they feel the same way about our military? Do they feel the same way about the government programs they legislate? Who was the incompetent force...the civilian folks that sent our warriors into harm's way without body armor.
I love my single-payer public run health care option -- The Department of Veterans Affairs at my local VA Medical Center.