I Wait In Debilitating Pain While ObamaCare Bureaucrat Determines My Care
Howard J. Warner, American Thinker
Along with many other citizens, I have been affected by changes since adoption of the Afforda-ble Care Act of 2010. I am a practicing dentist and have studied medical economics. Democrats provide personal vignettes to sell their federal programs, but Republicans rarely use this method.
I purchase health care for my family (which includes my wife and daughter) in the private sector and have simplified this analysis to avoid boring readers. In 2009, I paid about $7,000 for pre-miums and carried about $5,000 deductible for all medical costs and co-pay up to $11,000 in drug expenses. I had a primary care physician employed by a local hospital I found excellent, caring, and able to take the time necessary to perform a thorough history and physical prior to ordering any tests. I routinely expected premium increases of 6% annually. Referrals to special-ists were determined by my physician in conjunction with me; insurance company interference did not occur, and procedures were not denied or delayed due to preauthorization.
Sadly, this is no longer the case. About a year ago, I developed a condition that can be devastat-ingly difficult. I developed vertigo (a condition of spinning) that makes one nauseated. I had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance as I passed out and had a weak pulse. The care at the hospital emergency room was excellent, and many tests were performed to rule out a seizure, brain aneurism (expansion and leakage from blood vessels), cardiac event (skipped beat), stroke, or transient ischemic (low oxygen) event, which could be fatal. After two days in the hospital, I went home with a diagnosis of positional vertigo (vertigo related to head position due to crystal abnormalities in the inner ear). Several more events occurred; I underwent further tests to ensure that my heart was not the initiator of these incidents. In the springtime, I again had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. After two additional separate hospitalizations, I decided to seek specialty care in New York City (as I live in a small upstate New York community), as my symp-toms did not fit the profile of typical positional vertigo.
The neurologist (a professor at Columbia Medical Center) whom I saw ordered several tests that would further examine this diagnosis and also rule out more obscure issues. Approval for some of these tests required almost two months – an unreasonable delay. I am scheduled for my fol-low-up appointment late in November, the soonest appointment available.
During this time, I also experienced leg pain from spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column nerves). Twenty-four years ago, I had successful surgery to treat my lower back. I attempted conservative treatment with physical therapy, chiropractic, and anti-inflammatory medica-tions. After over six months, I sought orthopedic care. I had the necessary testing to diagnose the cause and had a spinal steroid injection, which was helpful. As the benefit lessened, a second injection was indicated, but I now await insurance company approval. The pain is severe and debilitating, but I have continued to work. Unfortunately, when I offered to pay directly for the injection while waiting for the insurance approval, I was denied this opportunity.
What has happened to America? I can’t pay to get care and must wait for some bureaucrat to determine my care while in pain. Is this managed care under Obamacare regulations? Now I pay almost $17,000 per year in premiums. I now have $11,000 in deductibles and co-pays. This is about a threefold increase in eight years. Soon the increases for next year will be announced. Since Obama took office, they have averaged over 12% per year.