Today I’m going to indulge myself – I’m going to complain about my arthritis.
At 4:30 am, I woke up to pain all up one side of my body and across my lower back. This is a recurring problem, when I went in to Immediate Care, they told me, “osteo arthritis.” They gave me a bunch of prescription strength Motrin and Ibuprofen, and a card for a very expensive chiropractor. I’ve seen a chiropractor, as well as a very highly recommended massage therapist. Unfortunately, it was really more stress getting to and from the appointments and paying the charges than it was worth.
When I tried to take the Motrin they gave me at Immediate Care, it made my stomach hurt so bad I locked it up in my fireproof filing cabinet and I have never tried it again. I don’t even like to handle the bottle – two words – volcano shits! Got that picture? With Sensurround?
Most of the time I just try to use “pain management,” using techniques I learned for natural delivery of my two children. Lamaze breathing is actually very helpful, and I use some yoga stretches too. And when I just can’t ignore the pain anymore, I find aspirin to be sufficient – as long as I take it with food, it doesn’t bother my stomach.
But, at 4:30, I wasn’t so awake, I wasn’t so rational – I rolled over and grabbed my ginormous bottle of aspirin and threw back a couple, and rolled back into bed. EEEEE–UUUUU! About a half hour later, I realized – “You DUMMY! You just took aspirin on an empty stomach!” So I did something else irrational – I got up and turned on the coffee maker, and drank a cup of coffee.
By the time I was really awake, my stomach hurt so bad I felt like a fire breathing dragon. I used another trick I learned in pregnancy – soda crackers. Works like gangbusters. Wham – big burp – and almost instant relief. And, whaddya know – at this point, I noticed my back didn’t hurt!
I’ve had to learn to deal with my own health problems, not just because doctors are expensive, but it’s hard finding a doctor you can trust. I’ll never forget the can of worms I opened when I decided I needed a “well woman check-up” a couple of years after my last kid was born. I just hadn’t been to a “woman doctor,” and I started getting paranoid. Good luck finding a gynecologist in this town – at that time, they were all men, Yolanda Wescott had just been in a very bad auto accident, and she was the only woman in the field. So, I went to Women’s Health Specialists, they had a sliding scale fee based on income.
Whoa, bad idea. The woman who examined me tried to tell me I had a “life threatening condition,” although she wouldn’t really explain what it was, and that I needed to check myself into Enloe RIGHT NOW! Well, I said, I’ll need another opinion on that, and I made an appointment to see my old midwife up in Paradise. She contradicted the woman’s diagnosis – so did a technician at Feather River Hospital. It turns out, I just had a lumpy old uterus – did you know, your uterus gets lumpy?
The woman at WHS had told me, I needed to go to the ER immediately! She was specific – Enloe. Come to find out, a lot of hospitals, I’m told Enloe, have a policy that they don’t let a doctor work at their hospital until that doctor has referred to them a certain number of patients. This woman was apparently using me to get her foot in the door at Enloe! She kept calling me at home, for two days, leaving me these creepy messages on my answering machine, telling me I was going to DIE! if I didn’t get my shiny ass down to Enloe! She kept telling me my income would qualify me for cheaper prices, or even Medi-Cal, which wasn’t true. She finally started telling me I should worry about how I would pay for it “later.”
Well, here I am, over 10 years later, with my lumpy uterus intact, thank Goddess for common sense.
Doctors and hospitals are greedy. They think they can charge whatever they want. They think people should be glad to be alive! Completely wiped out financially, but alive! People like Mike Wiltermood – who, by the way, doesn’t even do anything – think it’s okay that they make “about a million dollars” a year off people’s tragedies. Doctors and hospital administrators are the “One Percent.”
They’re also in charge of Obamacare. The Affordable Health Care Act puts doctors and hospital administrators in charge of administering the program and setting “affordable” prices. Well, like Andy Holcolmbe once said about the McMansions he was approving down the street from my house – “they must be affordable because somebody can afford them!” Like Holcombe, Obama does not seem to care who can’t afford them.
Below this really good article below from the Enterprise Record (!) tells us, “But just having an insurance card doesn’t necessarily mean you have access if there’s no doctor that will open his doors to you to accept the insurance that you have — that’s the challenge.”
Tar and feathers for Bronco Bama.
How will the Affordable Care Act impact Butte County?
By KATRINA CAMERON-Staff Writer
POSTED: 07/28/2013 12:41:24 AM PDT
CHICO — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is health-care legislation that will extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans beginning Jan. 1, 2014.Everyone, including individuals and businesses, is confused about the uncertainties of the law, said Rose Krepelka, vice president of Interwest Insurance Services, at a meeting with one of her clients.
“People don’t understand what they’re buying and the insurance companies don’t know what they’re selling,” said Nicole Johansson, director of marketing and communications at Enloe Medical Center.
On Oct. 1, state and federal governments will launch online insurance marketplaces called exchanges, where uninsured individuals can shop for new plans.
Open enrollment occurs from Oct. 1 through March 1, 2014 and Californians can shop the insurance market at www.coveredca. com. The new plan won’t be effective until Jan. 1, 2014.
The federal government will enforce a requirement for all individuals to have health insurance, and the uninsured will be subject to a tax penalty.
The exchange is available for anyone, Krepelka said. The government will provide a subsidy based on income, family status and if the individual doesn’t have affordable care through their employer. The employer mandate requires large business employers of at least 50 employees to provide affordable health insurance to its workers, she said. The employer mandate has been postponed for a year, to January 2015, so businesses have more time to shop the market.
Insurance cost will be based on an individual’s income and household size, and pre-existing health conditions won’t be taken into consideration, said Jamie Pilgrim, a customer service representative for the Sweeny and Sweeny Insurance health department. This shows how much a person qualifies for assistance from the government, which will assist with paying monthly.
“No longer will people be denied for pre-existing conditions,” Pilgrim said. “A lot more people will qualify for insurance.”
Approximately 15,000 to 20,000 more people in Butte County will gain access to health insurance next year, said Dr. Richard Thorp, a Paradise physician and president-elect of the California Medical Association.
The Affordable Care Act doesn’t ensure access to health care though because it is already difficult for underinsured people to receive physician services.
“The good thing about the Affordable Care Act is that it gives them the opportunity for access because it gives them an insurance card,” Thorp said.
“But just having an insurance card doesn’t necessarily mean you have access if there’s no doctor that will open his doors to you to accept the insurance that you have — that’s the challenge.”
The initiative provides insurance for people who are uninsured, but the medical providers may be reimbursed less.
“What the Affordable Care Act promised to do is to provide insurance for people who weren’t insured,” said Mike Wiltermood, CEO of Enloe Medical Center. “The problem is that in order to finance this, the people are cutting the amount that they’re paying us.”
Medical providers are still unsure of what insurance plans will be offered, and there are some concerns that the plans aren’t going to pay sufficiently, Wiltermood said.
“We’re not seeing the contracts yet that really spell out how these plans work,” he said. “So it’s difficult to say what the overall impact is going to be for Chico and Butte County. It’s going to hurt hospitals and physicians before it helps them, and I’m not sure it it’ll ever really help them.”
Another way people in Butte County will be impacted by the Affordable Care Act is that it increases the wage level for Medi-Cal, Krepelka said. Some people who didn’t qualify for the federal assistance will because 133 percent of the federal poverty level will apply for Medi-Cal.
“It’s important to remember that the Affordable Care Act isn’t just about insuring people,” Wiltermood said. “It’s an attempt to create further accountability for health-care providers — but in the process, it’s costly.”
Reach Katrina Cameron at 896-7759, kcameron@chicoer. com, or on Twitter at @KatCameron91.