Freedom from Want– the difficulty of that freedom

“Well, you know, Elie, there have always been two sets of laws– one for wealthy transgressors and the other for everybody else.  The poor get their own subset of laws which were established thousands of years ago under the ancient principle that translates to ‘go fuck yourself, asshole.’  None of this is at all surprising, once you’ve been around a few years, every society reeks of this double standard.  You get the justice you can afford to pay for.

“It’s a very galling state of affairs, of course, but it’s nothing new.  You’re waiting for a call back from some ‘supervisor’ named ‘Julie’ at the ‘NY Call Center’ of the health insurance company that’s committed fraud against you on at least two recent occasions.  I can hear them now ‘sir, fraud is such a judgmental word, and it’s a legal conclusion.  Can you make a firm legal conclusion before you’ve read all 2,700 pages of the PPACA?  You seem completely unaware of the third footnote to amendment three in Appendix Two of your plan-specific consumer handbook.’

Oh, now that you mention it, I remember that footnote.  It stipulates that external body parts, the outside of ears, noses, breasts and so forth, are not ‘body parts’ for purposes of diagnostic testing.   Kidney?  Totally enclosed, body part, sonogram fully paid for.  Testicles, which hang outside of the body proper, are therefore clearly exempt from insurance payment for all diagnostic procedures.  

“Well, you make a joke out of it, but I notice you’re not smiling.   Why would you smile?  You remember Dubya smiling like a baby with gas every time he talked about something horrible? One thing I could always say about you, Elie, you never had an inappropriate smile about things like people jumping off tall buildings and the horrors of war.

“Of course, a chat with the skeleton of your dear old dad is not what kindly old Doctor Mengele ordered today.  You’re distracted because your balls are caught in a vise and your heart may be slowly killing you.  We learned last time, in only ninety minutes, that in addition to the site-specific NPI number for each provider there is the additional complication of the precise CPT code required from that provider to pre-authorize certain service referrals.  

“There is nothing complicated in this.  Fail to verify the NPI number?  You, not the insurance company is responsible to pay the provider. Provider submits wrong CPT code?  Same deal. ‘Read the law, motherfucker! Read the law!'” the skeleton grinned broadly and grotesquely.

Excuse me, dad, just had a call from a robot at the insurance company with a surveybot asking about my recent customer service experience.  They wanted to make sure I was completely happy with the service I received from “Julie”, the “supervisor” at the “NY Call Center” of “Empire” that I was connected to after less than an hour the other day.  “Julie” was going to research the issues, since she had not a single answer to four separate questions about fraud and radically changing answers to seemingly simple billing questions, and call me with answers today, now.  The placatory, friendly “supervisor” Julie, who gave neither last name nor ID # (‘I’m the only Julie in the NY Call Center’ she assured me brightly– although it turns out nobody at Empire, or anywhere else in the world, can connect you to that call center) proves to be completely unreachable.  ‘Press one if you were the person who placed the customer service call, bitch-ass motherfucker.’

“Well, you know from your own experience in the Housing Court, Elie, that the rules for poor people are very strict.  When that obese Brooklynite, a house-bound diabetic amputee, got a letter scheduling an appointment and did not make it to her mandated face-to-face meeting at Section 8 two days later she lost her rent subsidy and all other government benefits.  You went to court 13 times on her behalf, over more than a year, before finally figuring out how to haul the director of Section 8 into court and instantly resolve an insoluble bureaucratic problem– and pay almost two years’ worth of rent arrears.  The law is clear: one notice for poor motherfuckers, failure to jump through the indicated arbitrary hoop: immediate termination of all benefits.

“You want health insurance, bitch?  They could have rolling admissions very easily, submit on the anniversary of your first premium, or your birthday, or within 90 days of some arbitrary date.  Wait, here’s a better idea for poor motherfuckers:  you have the ten days before Christmas, and the ten days immediately after New Years to submit all your paperwork, be assigned your level of insurance coverage, and choose a company to provide your health care on the marketplace for the following year.  Failure to wait on endless hold, exercise superhuman patience with non-working websites, servers that crash because thousands of desperados are submitting and resubmitting their required documentation within that short window of business days, with offices closed for several legal holidays during that window, and Christmas parties, and hangovers:  no health coverage for at least sixty days.  Hey, you want health insurance, you low-income cunt?  Come and get it.  If you can, bitch.  Please have a very nice day and continue to hold.”

God must have loved poor people, he made so many of them, as some poor wit once observed.  God, it must also pointed out, long ago became severely demented after centuries of despair watching the abusiveness and cruelty of the creature he fashioned in his own image.  

“Leave God out of this, Elie, hasn’t he suffered enough?   The present conversation with Ashanti D. at the Empire Blue Baboon’s Asshole Health Insurance Syndicate should give you fodder enough without bringing God into it.  You’ve only been on hold for less than 50% of the so far 39:42 you’ve been speaking to Ashanti D. and she’s been trying very hard to find you answers, answers she doesn’t have, but she’s concerned that you’re having a good experience with her, outside of the fact that nobody at that criminal syndicate has any answers for you.  

“Good for you getting her ID # and the specific call reference number for your call, that will really help you going forward … oh, look, Elie, it’s ringing now.  Maybe this is the NY Call Center.”

It rang three times and then the call terminated. Typical.  These motherfuckers aren’t accountable to anyone because — you’ll be shocked, dad, when I tell you that when Obama’s PPACA went into effect they abolished the NYS Department of Health’s Office of Health Insurance.  The New York State Insurance Department was also abolished, its functions subsumed by the New York State Department of Financial Sevices, along with all banking, as you know.  I have a map of hours of calls to offices that could not help and my futile conversations with corporate employees who were not authorized to help.  

I was able to consult that list just now and verify that the fraud and complaint hotline number Ashanti gave me was the fourth call I made that day, the Medicaid Inspector General, an office that, while very sympathetic, could not help me.  I told Ashanti as much.  She told me she was sorry then tried to connect me, via an internal number, to the NY Call Center.  There is no consumer number to reach Julie, the possible supervisor, of that office.  After a bit of a hold the phone rang three times, at the NY Call Center, presumably, then the line went dead.

 Now, there’s nothing left for me to do.   I’ve got to go write my fucking complaint to the Attorney General, make it short, snappy and effective.  I’ll post it up here, as I rein in the impulse to say something cruel about the charismatic, hilarious architect of this vast empire of perfectly legal health insurance fraud.  Or smash his smug, perfectly composed, handsome, fucking soon-to-be billionaire speaker/performer face.  

“Now, now, Elie, don’t be so bitter.  You have it much better than 99% of the Third World and even most Americans.”  

Yeah, and don’t I know it, pops?


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