I Don’t Really Hate Them All, I’m Sorry I Said That.

Dear US Healthcare workers: I don’t really hate you. I’m sorry I said that. The vast majority of healthcare workers are kind and wonderful people; there because they really want to help.

I still have bad experiences though, and I marvel at that: almost everyone involved is a good person. People are trying their best. Yet for me, results seem 50/50 at best. Statistically, my criticisms of US healthcare are valid: we really do pay twice as much per capita as every other civilized country for healthcare, yet have some of the worst outcomes.

I have my opinions about why: Our chosen cost control and fraud prevention mechanism has become the fraud, and cost, in the system.

It all started with Ross Perot back in the 70’s. Medicare hired his (at the time) tiny little firm, EDS, to implement an electronic record keeping system. Back in the infancy of computing, memory was expensive. A coding system was implemented to represent descriptions of things to save memory. It was also implemented as a cost control measure; since it was all standardized, and computerized, they could easily search for and reject procedures that didn’t “match” with diagnostic codes, and reject any other errors or perceived discrepancies as well.

This government contract is where Ross Perot got all his money.

The private insurance industry quickly followed suit. Almost immediately, administrative warfare developed. Doctors and institutions had to hire staff to code and submit claims; insurance companies hired legions of claims processors to scrutinize and deny anything they could. The grain and complexity of the coding system quickly multiplied with growing computing ability and everyone’s vested interest in trying to either get paid, or not pay, for every little thing.

Today, this is known as the ICD-X coding system, where X is the current version. We are currently transitioning from ICD-9 to ICD-10. In this dictionary of medical procedure codes is virtually every single individual pill, poke, prod, pad, process, procedure, etc. that exists in the medical world. And it all has to be tracked, submitted, scrutinized, rejected, argued about, resubmitted… every. tiny. little. detail. This is why a tylenol costs $10 at a hospital; the pill is dirt cheap, but… the tracking of it is insanely expensive.

Today, this administrative warfare costs us about 25% of our total healthcare bill.  What was supposed to prevent fraud and waste, has become the fraud, waste, and useless expense in our system.

What’s worse, the system seems to have grown to absolute dominance. Everybody is trapped in the belly of this beast. This is why, despite the best intentions of the vast majority of healthcare peeps, the outcomes remain poor.

I am sorry I spoke so harshly about so many people trapped in the belly of the beast. I do not hate any of you; you are truly wonderful people.

I just want the beast to die, and for all of us freed from the madness.

Injured. Again.

It’s mostly been a good summer at City Hall. But, my back and ankle problems have culminated in this:

So yeah. Ouch. 4 days later, it’s not a bad sprain, but it’s still going to take me out for a couple of weeks at least. I’ve been keeping it up as much as possible, and applying Arnica on it 3-4 times a day. But I’m still working, I’m not taking time off, and a day at work means walking, lifting, and climbing ladders. It hurts, and it costs me healing and recovery.

I’m not entirely sure what to do next. I think I’ve had a discreet chronic minor ankle injury that I’ve just turned into an acute major ankle injury. But I’ve also got back problems that I think are affecting my ankle. I need help from medical professionals. Unfortunately…

Have I mentioned how much I despise the medical industrial complex? I need to see a doctor. I’ve got a good sports orthopedic doc, it just takes a while to get in to see him and he is just good, not right all the time. I need to see a chiropractor regularly, but that takes time and money, the two things I never seem to have enough of.

But seriously, fuck the American medical industrial complex. I have paid, and continue to pay, so much, for the privilege of having bad experiences with doctors and insurance and medical facilities. I hate them, I hate them all. I hate them fully and completely without any reservation. The American medical industrial complex is a thoroughly corrupt, greedy, inept, totally fucked up system. It does not help me, it just takes my money. And usually, wastes my time too. 

For myself, I’m going to start my back exercises again. That’s something I can do, that probably won’t hurt, doesn’t cost money, and doesn’t require someone else to help me or forms or appointments. It’s just the time and commitment of doing it regularly. I never seem to have any time to do anything else, especially not take care of myself.

Except, for one thing: Playing footbag has been how I’ve taken care of myself, in so many ways, for so many years. Physically, mentally, spiritually; footbag has been my refreshment and salvation. Yet, to be able to do this one thing I do, to take care of myself, I must consistently fight other people, and always the weather, to do it.

This IS the time I take to take care of myself. And, It’s already a constant battle to get that time: One pre-scheduled time slot a week, no rainchecks, no concessions. So, I work my ass off the rest of the week, fight like hell, and make make damn sure I get that time. But, it seems to be all the fight I’ve got, and all the taking care of myself time I get. It doesn’t matter whether or not I can walk; I may not get to play footbag, but I’ve still got to carry my own laundry up and down two flights of stairs.

Speaking of time, here’s the scoreboard for the year:

June 26th: Yet Another Great PhatTyre Sport First Rally and A Fun Thirty One – 2 hrs

July 3rd: 3rd of July – 1 hr

July 11th: More Props at City Hall – 1/2 hour solo, 1 hr circle hack, I’m calling it – 1 hr

July 18th: First Fun Then Disaster (above) – 1 hr

That puts me at 40:30 for the year. I had *just* caught up, but then my ankle has limited my play time, putting me 3 hours behind, and destined to get even farther behind now that I’m injured and need to take a week or two off.

By the time I can kick again, I will have to kick 2 full hours every week the rest of the year to meet my goal. But I can’t even kick that much in a single weekly session right now. The only way I’m going to make that goal, is a lot of time in the Homie Hole. Mark my word: there will be issues. If kicking in the Homie Hole regularly is the only way I can play footbag, I expect it to become a fight to be able to play there at all. Bring it the fuck on.

Thanks for tuning in!