Monday, August 10, 2009

Why Government Health Care Can't Be Any WORSE Than Private Health Care

Via Kevin Drum, discussing a particularly Kafkaesque episode with his cellular service provider (in this case, Verizon), and the whole episode's tie-in to our current health care debate:

Frankly, my dealings with the government, on average, are better than most of my dealings with corporations. The government might sometimes provide poor customer service just because they lack the motivation to do better, but corporate America routinely provides crappy customer service as part of a deliberate and minutely planned strategy. I'll take my chances with the feds.

Yes, yes. I know. "DMV." "Lazy gummint workers." "Cell service is an exception." As is credit card service. And cable TV. And high speed broadband service (where it differs from CATV that is). As is petroleum. As is financial services. As are cars.

You know what? When there's that many exceptions to the, "Free markets are best for customers," rule then the rule is just WRONG. Get over yourself, business guys. You don't work that fucking hard to provide superior service. You work that fucking hard for an in-ground pool and vacations in Costa Rica. If you need to screw your customers to get the pool and the jungle tour, you just try to keep the mark on the gaff as long as possible.


DoTheLeftThing said...

The AMA folks like to say that "Socialized Medicine" would destroy the Physician-Patient relationship and the bedside manner that can have a positive effect on a patient's healing.
What the AMA (and others) overlook is that in the current health care "system" you the patient are not the customer - your insurance company is. The insurance company cherry picks its customers and providers; the former on the lack of pre-existing conditions (unless you are covered by a work-provided plan), the latter both on their willingness to accept what the insurance companies pay for their services and their willingness to accept the insurance companies' determination of what those services will be. The insurance company being the "customer" is the problem. Besides bringing down the cost of health care, eliminating this bloated parasite on the system would restore a patient/physician relationship based on their mutual determination of the patient's needs rather than the insurance company's bottom line. Single payer can't happen fast enough as far as I'm concerned.

Nicole said...

My personal bad service story... I took the kids to the pediatrician for a check up (at the same time). I get a follow-up letter from the ped's office a few weeks later - we haven't been paid for Evelyn's visit.

So I call Blue Cross. It takes almost 20 minutes to get a living person on the phone (good thing I work at home). I finally get a guy. I ask why they haven't paid my doctor. He says "Do you have any secondary insurance?" "What? No. Why didn't you pay the pediatrician?" He says, "OK, that's what we needed to know. The payment has been released."

They withheld a payment from a third party in order to get me to call them. Nice business model, if you can get away with it. Meanwhile, my pediatrician has to hire someone full-time to review all of these payments and credits, not to mention send out the letters to people like me. It is a ridiculous excuse for a functioning business I have ever come across.

And preventing Medicare from negotiating drug prices is actually criminal.

Nicole said...

It is the most ridiculous excuse for a business model I have ever come across. Sorry.