By Michael Olenick, a regular contributor on Naked Capitalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @michael_olenick
Receptionist: Beegbaux Medical Clinic, can I help you?
Newly Insured: Hi. I have a new Obamacare policy and I’d like to schedule a visit.
Receptionist: Who is your insurance with?
Newly Insured: A company called Corporate Welfare Assurance Company. You’ve seen their ads on TV, “The President’s giving you CWAP so sign up”
Duh: don’t you read the news? This is a respectable medical clinic: we don’t take CWAP here.
Newly Insured: I pay 18% of my gross salary for quality affordable healthcare. I’ve had a strange looking growth for ten months but after scheduling an appointment under my old plan my last insurance company dropped me before I could show up.
Receptionist: All that is very interesting and I can relate – despite working in a medical office I have ACA CWAP insurance myself — but there’s nothing I can do. Bye. [Click sound]
[Cut to a montage of various receptionists for each line]
Receptionist 2: No, we don’t take the President’s CWAP.
Receptionist 3: We tried working with CWAP insurance but they kept threatening to drop us from their network if we demanded to be paid, and eventually did so. Sorry.
Receptionist 4: We’re out of network for CWAP but if you’d pay us $150 we’ll look at you.
Receptionist 5: For a regular doctor visit? Nope. Sorry. But…
Newly Insured: [Cutting her off] Trying to use CWAP is a hopeless pain in the ass.
Receptionist 5: Well, if it’s a screening colonoscopy you’re looking for you should have said so. CWAP covers those if you’re over 50 though you have to pay more if during the procedure the doctor finds anything and fixes it.
Newly Insured: I’m still pretty young and .. wait; who said anything about a colonoscopy? I just want a doctor.
Receptionist 5: Well, let me look at the menu of items covered… Are you into wine?
Newly Insured: Uh, yeah, I guess. I usually have a glass of wine with dinner.
Receptionist 5: Great! CWAP covers residential substance abuse treatment. Pack a bag, leave the bottle behind, and we’ll have you enrolled this evening.
Newly Insured: I don’t think it’s a good idea to try giving up alcohol while trying to navigate this CWAP.
Receptionist 5: Hmm. Well then how about a syphilis test? If you were a woman I could offer you tests for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, a urinary tract infection and HPV but you’re a man so it’s one Bad Blood test for you.
Newly Insured: Bad blood test?
Receptionist 5: That means syphilis. It’s from a list of slang terms for venereal diseases that the CDC created at this web address: http://www.cdc.gov/std/healthcomm/HPVGenPub2004ApD.pdf
Newly Insured: Wouldn’t it make more sense to test anybody willing be tested for venereal disease since curing one man or woman prevents infection from spreading?
Receptionist 5: Look – this is all philosophically interesting, and I’m trying to work with you and all, but I’m not the one who defined what this CWAP covers. My job is to sell procedures and it doesn’t sound like you want one, which they’ve told me to tell you is like totally irresponsible, but don’t waste my time. [Play sound of phone clicking down.]
Receptionist 6: Yes – we’ll take your CWAP. Our next appointment is in two months. Is that acceptable?
Newly Insured: Really!
Receptionist 6: Really what? Two months? That seems to annoy some people. Tough. Honestly we’ve lost a lot of patients lately or it’d be 3-4 months.
Lost them because they obtained superior health insurance and went to high end clinics at training hospitals?
Receptionist 6: No, lost them because they died. I mean we’re not like a high-cost clinic where bankers, oil sheiks, drug dealers, and shadier types like the owners of government-hired foreclosure review consultancies can just whip out a brief case and pay cash. But there are doctors and nurses here.
Newly Insured: I wasn’t questioning: I’m just happy to hear you have an opening: I’ll take it! Who is my doctor?
Receptionist 6: Dr. Frank. He’s one of my favorites here! He used to be in a rock band then, while playing a gig on an island somewhere he caught something from a groupie and wandered into a local medical school. He loved the place and dated the Dean for awhile – Frank has great taste like that ‘cause, not to brag, but he’s dating me now, well, and a few others here but, like, whatever, they’ll go away — and, oh yeah, eventually they gave him an MD.
Newly Insured: But he is a doctor? Licensed in the US? He knows what he’s doing?
Receptionist 6: Oh yeah. He’s great. CWAP actually gave him an award for the lowest cost of care out of any doctor in the whole state. CWAP sends him all sorts of goodies. Soon he’ll be training stodgier doctors, with more boring backgrounds. Frank’s suggested a training cruise: I’m hoping he’ll bring me with.
Newly Insured: Does he have a specialty?
Receptionist 6: He convinces people with cancer to skip treatment. “Die high and happy,” that’s Frank’s motto, his contribution to modern medicine as he likes to call it. If you’re gonna’ go you may as well die a little sooner — flying on top of the world — rather than puking and bald, right? It’s not like we live forever.
Newly Insured: I guess, though if death is avoidable I’d rather put it off a few years. Anyway I suppose he’s a start. OK; we’re scheduled. I’ll see you in four months.
Receptionist 6: Wait, I forgot something…. Oh yeah, I’m supposed to tell you to remember that your visit is under the deductible so it will cost at $200 and more if tests are needed and, like, since you’re seeing Frank, and he owns the lab, tests are always needed.
Newly Insured: But that’s more than it cost for the clinic that didn’t take CWAP!
Receptionist 6: Yeah, but it counts towards your deductible so if anything is really wrong, assuming that you pay us another $6,000 of so, your CWAP will be worth something. Unless of course it takes until the end of the year to reach $6,000, then you’ll have to start counting your CWAP all over again.
Newly Insured: You know I can fly to Europe, pay a top quality doctor, and receive quite a bit of treatment all for less than $6,000, plane ticket included?
Receptionist 6: Au Revoir. Want company?