All of you who read me regularly know that several weeks ago I fractured a number of bones on the top of my left foot; I think they are called tarsals or meta-tarsals. Whatever.
You can read all about the original incident here: https://toritto.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/my-left-foot/
In any case, I am coming along fine. I have been wearing a cast for the last two weeks. Yesterday I saw the bone doctor (he does only feet) who removed the cast, took x-rays and proceeded to put me in a somewhat smaller cast for two more weeks.
“Try not to walk on it.”
“Doc do I look like Pharaoh to you? Do you think there is a sedan chair outside with 8 nubile young women waiting to carry me around?” I walked out of his office to my car. I have crutches but they are useful only if you are young; when you’re 74 they are impossible to use without risking life and limb.
Back to the interesting part of this adventure.
This week as one of his first orders of business President Trump signed some executive order which will begin the end of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act under which some 20 plus million people have obtained health insurance.
As an old guy I have Medicare, which pays 80% of my healthcare costs. I have a supplemental policy which covers the remaining 20% not covered by Medicare. It is interesting that the supplemental policy which covers only the 20% not covered by Medicare costs twice as much as the Medicare policy itself. All hail the private sector.
So a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday I visited the emergency room of our local hospital and told them at the desk that I believe my foot is broken.
“Name? Address? May I have your insurance cards please?”
After demonstrating my ability to pay I am sent off to the broken bone room to see a young doctor of bones. There must have been something in the Florida air that day; by the time I was through there were three of us with fractured foot or ankle bones.
After the x-ray comes the official announcement of a fracture. There would however be no “treatment”. No cast on the foot. My foot was put in a splint. Strictly a temporary solution designed to hopefully not make things worse. My guess is that this is what you got when you broke a foot in the middle ages.
I was given a referral to a bone doctor at the orthopedic supermarket across the road; a large group practice of many doctors each with their own bone specialties. The son of my primary care physician practices there; he only does hands, wrists and elbows.
Now I take such instructions with aplomb, I have insurance.
Trust me on this; you were not getting to see a doctor at the supermarket without insurance. Not without a large cash deposit in the absence of insurance.
This ortho-supermarket practically wanted a blood sample indicating I could pay before I got to see a doctor. This place is ALL about the money.
So what do you do if you don’t have insurance? Millions may find out in the next year or two. Many of the poor are currently covered under Medicaid but the Republicans are determined to cut funding for that program too. Here in Florida our Governor and legislature routinely cut Medicaid funding.
Currently under Obamacare many have policies with very large deductibles. For many, having to pay the first $5,000 or so in medical costs before the policy kicks in means it really is of little use in treating a broken foot. The ortho-supermarket would want their money up front from the patient before treatment. This place don’t do billing.
Medicare has an annual deductible of $183. The Ortho-supermarket collected it from me lest I visit again in two weeks owing them money. I pointed out that the emergency room would have billed Medicare first and it is they who might bill me for the annual deductible. Not to worry. “If that happens you will have a credit here.”
And so our new President and the GOP move forward in repealing the insurance coverage of millions while nothing has been done about a replacement. Don’t hold your breath.
I guess it’s let them die. Or hobble around with a splint. That’s the way it used to be n the good old days.
I sent an email to our illustrious Senator Marco this week demanding that he consider his constituents. There are over 1.5 million Floridians on Obamacare. I asked that he not vote for repeal in the absence of a replacement program. Put your constituents first.
I got a very nice “Thank you for contacting me” reply. Not a word about the subject matter. Just an empty suit.