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Health care mess

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Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 12:18 am | Updated: 6:23 am, Thu Oct 10, 2013.

Letter to the editor

To the editor: When people say Obamacare will take away our choices, put bureaucrats in charge of our health care decisions or create an unworkable, complex mess, I wonder where they live. As far as I can see, that’s what we have already.

I’ve taken a certain prescription for years. I’m out. My employer changed insurance companies this year; supposedly it was a seamless transition. They charge extra unless you use their online mail-order pharmacy, but I couldn’t get on their website. A couple long phone calls later, they updated enough information so I could log on, but the prescription hadn’t transferred from the old insurance. I called the clinic triage nurse, who sent them a new prescription.

Next day, I got several messages from the insurance company. They’d spelled my name wrong, they had my mailing address wrong and they told me this drug I’ve taken for years is no longer “approved.” They only allow a cheaper alternative, a drug I tried before and reacted badly to. They said my “doctor” (i.e., nurse) must call them and beg for a waiver for the “unapproved” drug. I work full-time, and most of these long calls must be made during working hours. Weeks later, my prescription is still not even ordered.

Two years ago, I worked in England. I felt bad; I called my local clinic and got an appointment for the next day. An actual doctor cheerfully examined me. No payment, no insurance hassles. I rode my bike to the nearest pharmacy and filled his prescription in 15 minutes, for less than it would have cost here. The doctor called a few days later. (Oddly, this didn’t feel like “slavery”.)

Obamacare isn’t the system I wanted, but it’s what we got because neither party would challenge the health-care industry monopolies. But it does mean almost everybody can have insurance, and it may save on costs. Why do the Republicans hate that idea so much they’re willing to sabotage our whole economy to stop it?

Burns Cooper, Fairbanks

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