Just about anyone who’s dealt with governmental health care in the United States has some sort of horror story about it. Mine involves my son when he was just 16 months old…
My ex and I had left him for the night with my parents when we were off on some excursion or another. He was at that stage in development where he wasn’t so much walking as running from place to place. He was showing off his new-found running skills for his “Paw-Paw” when he tripped trying to grab a ball along his path.
He fell face-first into an end table and busted his lip wide-open. It was a nasty gash, and one that would require stitches. He was bleeding everywhere and had no conception why he was bleeding or why he hurt so much. So my parents, freaking out, called me and took him to the hospital. I arrived shortly after he got there and surveyed the damage myself.
We were at the hospital for almost 12 hours with a wailing 16-month-old. It took them that long to get him into a room for his stitches. It was a horrifying experience, but that’s not really the worst of it.
You see, about three months prior, we had renewed our Medi-Cal coverage with the state. We’d been approved and received a new ID card and everything seemed on the up and up. Which was lovely, considering the sheer amount of hoops we’d had to jump through when my ex was pregnant just to get insured by the state.
I mean, I understand the state is destitute and doesn’t want to insure anyone. But it was a painful process, considering it was both of our first attempts at dealing with such a system.
So, shortly after my son’s hospital stay, we received bills from the hospital and a notice from the state saying that my son was not, in fact, insured. Confused, we called the state. According to their records, he was not insured, was never insured, and the state was not under any circumstances going to pay for his hospital stay.
“But what about this insurance ID card you sent us a few months back,” I asked.
“Sorry. That must have been a mistake,” the bored voice on the other end of the line said.
Thousands of dollars later, we’d been screwed by the state of California. Shortly thereafter, I signed up for Kaiser Permanente. I figured that if I was going to be screwed, I might as well be screwed by Kaiser like everyone else (Full disclosure, I have not been screwed by Kaiser during my son’s time with them).
My new job comes with an insurance option once my probationary period is over. I mentioned this to my mother this morning and was unexpectedly reamed for it.
“You wouldn’t have to pay for insurance if you hadn’t been so lazy to sign up for Medi-Cal in the first place!” she said.
In other words, my mother completely forgot how the whole Medi-Cal mess went down or simply doesn’t believe me. I tried to explain, but she didn’t really want to hear any of it. It really comes down to the fact that I’m the more disappointing of her two kids. I’ve made mistakes in my life and my sister really hasn’t.
But I digress. I got to thinking about all of this because of my BFF’s struggles with the California unemployment system lately. While I do understand the state’s desire to weed out those abusing the system, it really does seem like it comes at the expense of those who actually need help.
I’d just love to go back in time and kidnap the Governator to make him sit at my son’s bedside after his accident. Just to show him what kind of behaviors this crooked state encourages.
(Would you want to make this little boy cry?)