Dedicated to Scott St. Clair and Dr. Ron Sterling
OK . . . so I got signed up with Obamacare on schedule, right? As of now, I haven’t been to see a doctor once, so I haven’t gotten anything good from the program yet.
What I HAVE gotten, though, is this:
4 Amerigroup~RealSolutions membership cards
1 Letter from DSHS offering me food stamps (declined)
1 Letter from DSHS denying me health care benefits*
*for failing to show up for my food stamps appointment
and . . .
Approx. 30 robo-calls (sometimes two in one day) from Amerigroup Final Solutions telling me I need to call them back urgently so they can share some “important” information with me.
I never call the Amerigroup number back. Why? Because I tried that once and guess what happened? Instead of giving me the so-called urgent information, their machine just grilled me for information about my health. Personal information of the kindthat you would only want to discuss with a live human being, preferably a medical professional:
- Do you have cancer?
- Have you had a stroke?
- Are you living with HIV?
Don’t get me wrong. I like the concept of Obamacare.
The CONCEPT of Obamacare.
I’m po’, and I need that shit. But what I do NOT need is for some computer to be calling and asking me about my business. That is exactly the kind of thing Republicans said they were worried about, is it not?
- Loss of privacy
- Loss of dignity
- Loss of freedom
Here. Listen to a recording of my one call with Amerigroup:
(Some bits of personal info have been edited out of the recording.)
As you’re listening to this, please, note the following:
¶ It’s so easy to game the survey it’s laughable
It has limited voice recognition capabilities, so all I had to do to fool it into thinking I was my wife Phea was to say “Yes” to their question: “Is this Phea?” and then give her birthdate. From there I could have proceeded to give all kinds of misleading or just plain wrong information about her health status.
Do you have HIV? –Sure do.
Depression? –Afraid so.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia? –Well, yes and no . . .
¶ They say you can talk to an “agent” at the end
Yeah. You can talk to an agent at the end of the survey, all right. But the agent is clearly no help at all. Worse than nothing, in fact.
What’s the survey for? I asked.
Don’t know, says Agent Tracy.
Have you ever taken that survey yourself? I say
None of your business, she replies.
Hm. Oh, I get it. So your machine can ask me if I have AIDS I can’t ask your representative if she’s ever taken the same survey . . . because that’s a PERSONAL question!
When I asked Agent Tracy why they couldn’t just have someone call me personally and ask for that information, she explained that they’re simply too busy to do that. “We have thousands of insureds,” she said. “We can’t take the time to contact each of them individually.”
To top it off, Tracy is not even in Washington state. She’s at a call center in God-Knows-Wheresville. (Could be a federal detention center for all I know.)
She said that she’d have a manager call me back the next business day, but [surprise] nobody’s ever called me back. And I’m sure nobody ever will.
And in the meantime, Amerigroup’s machine keeps ringing me every goddam day, asking me to call them back. (It’s URGENT!!)
Now remember . . . Amerigroup is not a health care provider. They couldn’t help me put a Band-Aid on my finger, and this Tracy lady probably wouldn’t know a hypodermic if it stuck her in the ass.
Nope. Amerigroup is just an insurance company, one I was given no choice over but had to accept by virtue of the federal mandate that I sing up for medical insurance.
* * * * *
Like I said, I’m not going to call this outfit back or answer any more questions about my health until I get to talk to a live human being. I’m expecting a letter from Amerigroup any day now telling me that my Obamacare’s been cancelled because I’m not being responsive. After that I’m expecting a visit from some IRS goons who will inform me that me they’re garnishing my wages (what wages?) or sending me to prison for non-compliance with Obamacare.
With a little luck, though, the IRS Obamacare punishment section will be run on the same business model as Amerigroup, and instead of paying me a personal visit they’ll just have a robo-dialer call me and tell me to report to a federal detention center at my earliest convenience.
As we go to press I hear the phone ringing . . .
Hold on a sec, blogoszoids. I’ll be back with you shortly . . .
[ . . .]
This is inmate #4859609 blogging to you from the Federal Corrections Facility in scenic Sheridan, Oregon.
God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America . . .