Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Some Thoughts on Government Healthcare

As the "life and health guy in a P&C shop," I get to hear some interesting anecdotes about home and auto clients, and a recent adventure is quite illuminating:

Our client was cited for speeding in her '98 Mercedes. Oh well, these things happen. The state, however, was unsatisfied with her "proof of insurance;" they said they needed such proof for her '99 Jaguar.

One little problem: she's never owned a Jaguar, '99 or otherwise. We faxed up the proof of insurance for the Merc, along with a note explaining that this was her one and only vehicle. Apparently, this didn't satisfy the Columbus solons, who promptly ordered her vehicle confiscated and impounded [SEE UPDATE FOR CLARIFICATION].

My colleague spent most of yesterday on the phone with the local constabulary and the DMV, trying to get the matter resolved. Finally, he was able to obtain a hard copy of the actual ticket, which clearly showed the Mercedes as the offending vehicle. That should have been that, but the folks in Columbus said they needed direct confirmation from the locals, who in turn claim that they had already provided the necessary information.

He said, she said.

Meantime, the client is without transportation while the State continues to claim, in the face of contrary factual evidence, that they are right and she is wrong.

Now what, you may ask, has that story to do with health care?

Very simple: these are the folks who will be deciding what care you will receive, or even if you are to receive any care at all. It is not unreasonable to imagine the following conversation, come 2015:

Surgeon: Well, Mrs Smith, we're ready for your kidney surgery.

Mrs Smith: Kidney surgery?! But doc, I'm here for a fractured ankle.

Surgeon: No, Mrs Smith, the folks at HHS say it's your kidney, and they're the ones in charge.

Mrs Smith: But I have my family doc's note right here!

Surgeon: That's of no interest to me, HHS says your kidney goes, and so it shall.

Ah, brave new world!

UPDATE: Several people have asked the rather obvious (except, apparently, to me) question: so if they're looking for a Jag, why'd they take the Merc?

I completely missed that.

Here's the answer: she was driving the Merc, but her license was suspended. Since she had already sent in proof of insurance on the Merc, she assumed everything was copacetic. Unfortunately, it was not, and she was pulled over for driving with a suspended license and the car was then confiscated.

But her kidneys are fine
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