13 February, 2009

Angry and frustrated health care rant.

What the hell is WRONG with healthcare in this country??? I know I'm not the first person to ask this question, but it's on my mind a lot lately. I went to the local Planned Parenthood (oh what a delight!) yesterday to get my annual exam and birth control, and they treated me like crap, like a street urchin. I actually left because I couldn't possibly imagine feeling that angry and uncomfortable and allowing one of their nurses (a NURSE, not a doctor. I know nurses have training too, but I would like a doctor, with a medical license, to look at me.) to examine me. I understand that those kind of places have all kinds of girls and women walking in, and I understand that working there would get some people kind of jaded and even a little judgmental. But if that's the kind of person you are, then QUIT. There are plenty of unemployed people in LA County who would joyfully do your job and provide quality service and care to people who cannot afford healthcare. I don't appreciate being treated like I don't matter and like I am some sort of low-life just because I happen to not have a job right now and am struggling financially. I probably have a hell of a lot more class than the bitter b*tches who work there. That's not really fair to call them that. I know not all of them are like that, but I'm mad. And another thing, what is the point of making an appointment if I have to wait TWO hours to be seen?? TWO HOURS. In a overheated, tiny, packed room. With not even a single magazine!! It's depressing. And, on top of that, I can't go to Planned Parenthood or a clinic for all of my healthcare needs. Free health care only seems to be attainable in clinics if you need emergency care or if you're looking to get birth control and an annual pap.

So today, I was online looking up health insurance plans for me and my boyfriend, just to know what we're in store for when more money starts, hopefully, coming in and we can afford some coverage. HOLY CRAP! You pay almost $300 a month and then you have to pay a deductible and then you have to pay a CO-PAY and sometimes 30% "co-insurance." What?!?! Why am I paying monthly? Where is that money going? If we're paying almost $300 a month, then why do we have to spend all this other money too? There is something severely wrong with our system.

So THEN, I looked up Medi-Cal. I mean I seriously cannot afford health insurance. I don't foresee a time in the near future when we'll have that kind of money, so there's gotta be some kind of option for us, right?? An option between paying thousands of dollars to take care of our bodies and paying nothing to be treated like crap and given sub-standard care (trust me from experience - I have been misdiagnosed AND manhandled in clinics: don't worry; I reported him). Nope. No Medi-Cal either. I don't have a baby. I'm not blind or disabled. I'm not a refugee. And I'm not pregnant. So apparently, MY body doesn't need to be taken care of. 

What am I supposed to do? What is Levi supposed to do? I have terrible vision and can't use glasses. I have to wear contacts because of my neck. Levi has scoliosis and works 40 hours a week on his feet. His back ALWAYS hurts. Do you think the clinic is going to take care of our problems? Nope. Do you think Levi even has time to wait two hours in a clinic if he needs to see a doctor? Nope. 

It just feels wrong. It seems like there should be some sort of option for us besides never going to the doctor. It seems like going to a clean, legitimate doctor's office, without having to wait two hours, to have a sore throat checked out or an eye infection treated shouldn't be a LUXURY. 

I don't know. Maybe we should just move to England or Canada, where the government values the health of their people. The United States is supposed to be a country where ANYONE can make it. Rags to riches and all that. How can you go from rags to riches if you don't even have your health to support you? How is anyone supposed to get ahead in this place? It just doesn't seem possible in a system that doesn't value all of its citizens. 


  1. I will never complain about the NHS again!

  2. Hi there... I am new to your blog, via Leesa's blog. I grew up in So. Cal and moved to France almost three years ago... I have to say, that it really disturbs me about the way the health care system is run in the U.S. It bugged me when I lived there, but it really bugs me when I can now compare it to a country like France, which has a completely different way of handling healthcare... I am really sorry about your experiences... When I lived in SD, I was a teacher for SD Unified and actually had really good health care, so I was really fortunate back then... I can't imagine how hard it is for people and for families to have proper health care, esp. now.. with the all that is going on... I will be back in Cali this summer, so I will be able to see first hand what you are talking about with the crisis and how it has affected people there in the States... I have many friends in California who have lost their jobs and who are struggling financially... I really hope and pray that things will get better over time...
    Take care and I'll check back again ...

  3. Thank you Leesa and J! :) Our system here is truly aggravating. It really does make me consider moving to another country. Hopefully, things will change soon with our new President and all his plans for improving our country and getting us out of this hole. I am very ready for change; many Californians and Americans are. And for the time being, I just need to try not to think about it too much and get back to appreciating all the amazing things I do have. :)

  4. De rien! I have a lot of HOPE that things will change now, even if it takes a long time! It will take a long time to make better what was screwed up over the past 8 years... I think our new Prez. is a very capable and intelligent person....
    BTW, I'm coming back to Cali. this summer to visit... I've missed the ocean and sun AND warm weather sooo much! I'm a total So. Cal girl (through and through) but get this... After living in France for almost three years (I lived through three winters here already and this one has been the coldest since I've been here) I actually now consider 45F to be "warm." I rarely see the sun in the winter time. I can count on my hands how many times I've been in the sunshine... What's the weather like now in Long Beach?! Hope it's warm!!
    Have a nice day.... Leesa : )

  5. Levi and I actually watched Sicko the other night, and we want to move to Europe now because of the superior health care. How was the move to France? Are you a citizen now? If you aren't a citizen, can you still use the free health care? We want to start out by moving to England since neither one of us speaks French at the moment. And then we want to make the move to France. It seems like an amazing place to have a family, and it seems to appreciate the quality of life more.

  6. Oh! Also, the weather in Long Beach has been pretty hot and cold. It's been kind of finicky. One day it will be raining, and the next I'm wearing my flip flops and short sleeves. Fairly warm though. MUUUUUUCH nicer than other parts of the world for sure!

  7. I'm soo with you, lady. Good for you. We all need to get fired up about the healthcare crisis in this country!

  8. Hi Jasmine.

    I just came across your adorable blog and spent the last half hour reading through old posts when I came across this one. It is old news to you but it is something that I am currently dealing with.

    I am a Physician Assistant student (kind of like a cross between an NP and an MD) and am doing a rotation in an OB/Gyn clinic in. We see about 60+ patients a day, 85% of whom are on Medical or have no insurance at all.

    I am so sorry you had a bad experience at PP. There is no excuse to treat a patient rudely or disrespectfully. I wanted to let you know, from the perspective of someone who works in a similar setting with similar a patient base, why this sometimes happens.

    On any given day, my morning starts out seeing a 19 year old girl who is pregnant with her 3rd kid or another teenager or young adult who needs to be treated for Chlamydia. It then continues with about another 20 similar patients, then another 20 patients who are also pregnant but are in more stable situations (but still have hardly any means to care for their next child), which leaves about 10-15 patients a day who are responsible enough to get their annual exam and ask for birth control.

    Even though you try to not let it bother you, it can be immensely frustrating to be constantly teaching patients the need for birth control and the use of condoms in order to prevent the spread of STDs yet feeling like your efforts are in vain, when you see young person after young person come in for prenatal care or for cervical biopsies due to past HPV infections or for STD treatment...

    I can't be sure but I would be willing to bet that the reason why the people at the clinic were rude to you in no way was a personal attack on you. Rather they probably had just seen many other patients who for various reasons tested the boundaries of their patience. At least for me, when I see a patient who is at the clinic for birth control and an annual exam it makes the rest of the day a little more tolerable knowing that not all young women out there are being so wreckless with their bodies.

    I commend people who choose to work for low pay (trust me they could be getting paid a lot more elsewhere) in order to serve a population that is medically under-served. It is seriously hard work and there is no one around to pat you on the back and congratulate you on giving back to the community, even if that community doesn't realize your efforts. In fact, there are not a lot of trained medical professionals willing to work in places like PP.

    As for seeing a nurse as opposed to an MD...there just aren't enough MDs who are willing to work such long hours for little pay when they have outrageous medical loans to repay. I hope one day you have an experience with an NP or PA that changes your mind about seeing a mid-level practioner for medical care. PAs are trained in the medical model, very similar to MD/DO, sans the residency after school. PAs (or NPs) are very adept at handling many medical management issues, especially something as routine as an annual exam and birth control prescriptions.

    I hope I do not give the impression that I am in any way defending the treatment that you received at PP. There is hardly ever a reason to be rude to a patient and as medical personnel our first priority is to the patient and his/her health. That is why most of us chose to still go into this field despite this being an age of frivolous lawsuits, patient overload, and arbitrary restrictions placed upon us by insurance companies.

    I too, have high hopes that with this new administration things will begin to change for the better. Everyone deserves to be healthy and have good medical care. On another note...you probably would qualify for something called Family PACT (http://familypact.org/en/home.aspx) which is a free program that allows you to see any number of OB/GYNs for routine gyn care and birth control prescriptions. That way you woudn't have to go to a PP.

    I hope you have a wonderful and healthy day.

    P.S. I lived in LB for five years while attending CSULB. I miss The Deli News on Bellflower and Open Sesame all the time.


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