We can’t talk to you, you’re not the guarantor

Craig Hall

Those were the words I was told by the office manager for a local physician in a very stern tone when I called to check on my daughter’s test results and the next step in trying to figure out what’s wrong with her.

Think about that for a couple of reasons. First, I was checking on my daughter. My daughter! I’m her father. And now some control freak in a doctor’s office is in charge of keeping my daughter’s medical condition secret from me and doing so in an obnoxious, condescending manner. Second, it seems the most important parent to talk to in our medical system related to a child’s health is the one who says, “I’m responsible for all costs above the deductible” even though both parents are paying and, more importantly, involved in their daughter’s health.

But this is where Obamacare has us. Doctor’s offices so inundated with paperwork and forms and regulations and policies they won’t talk to a sick kid’s dad. If you don’t believe in forms and paperwork being overwhelming (you know, so all that electronic, seamless medical info is available a the touch of a screen so everything you need to know about a patient is right there, except it isn’t) please note the doctor’s office in question LOST the form mom filled out with my contact info on it and failed to add me to the entitled list of the two main folks allowed to know their daughter’s condition.

So it’s their fault, and I’m treated like a dad defying a restraining order.

You bet I got mad. But the anger goes beyond the doctor’s office and its all-too-human mistake. I get why they’re afraid of talking to dad. What if there’s a court order? What if dad has no parenting rights? What if mom is keeping dad off the list intentionally (which didn’t happen) due to this reason or that reason? I can see why the doctor’s office is so cautious.

But that doesn’t explain the source of the problem. And that’s because doctor’s offices are too busy with compliance — the compliance that was going to innovate and perfect our medical system under the law no Republican voted for — instead of taking care of patients. And that’s Obamacare in a nutshell. Because if the electronic, seamless medical records for Obamacare worked as promised, my name would have been there and I could have found out what’s going on with my kid.

Worse, every appointment requires another appointment or test with more paperwork and some of the appointments take months to get. Think socialized medicine isn’t here?

It’s not just this scenario. It’s seemingly every scenario.

One local entity has failed to get my dad’s address correct (mine, as power of attorney) for more than two years. And I’ve only changed it on every visit my dad has had there during that same time frame. It seems more about doing the electronically mandated records at the time of dad’s visit than getting things right. And when it comes to billing for dad, every entity consistently gets it wrong.

Every year I have to go through the ridiculous BS with the school district for my youngest daughter and her apparent penchant for sharing her inhaler with every kid at school — because kids will inhale anything and no young lady is smart enough to use one properly. Just kidding, kind of.

My daughter has carried an emergency inhaler — meaning it NEEDS to be with her at all times — since she was diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma several years ago. If you live in Western Colorado and have allergies, you understand. The docs know this. The schools know this. Yet EVERY start of school we go through this.

Apparently our school district is beyond underfunded because it can’t transport kids’ medical records from one grade to another (whether it’s a new school or not) so my kid is safe should she have an asthma attack. Worse, the schools have created a cottage industry for doctors because every time I need new paperwork filled out, the docs demand an appointment to see if there were any changes in her condition. The only change that could occur would be if her allergies or asthma went away. But where’s the billing in that?

Hell, I just got sent to collections for $13 on a bill I paid three months ago. They figured it out and told me they’re sending a letter clearing me. I’ll wait.

No, I’m not naming names because most of this isn’t the fault of the providers. This column is about how screwed up things are under Obamacare. I won’t even spend time talking about how my ex’s husband’s new medical insurance is way more expensive. Office visits went from a $25 copay to almost $200 and the deductibles are ridiculous for treatments and prescriptions. Worse, they were forced onto that new insurance because he got PROMOTED.

Many will say, “this is about kids’ safety” or “it’s for our own good” or “government needs to take every precaution if it saves even one life.” More will declare, “Obamacare and single-payer health care are what the country needs.”

I say, “I just want my kids to feel better when they’re sick.” We used to be able to call our doctor and get that 24 hours a day.