This is not a political post. This is just a factual experience.

I was paying an expensive health insurance premium for basic healthcare. It was your basic plan. It was a little expensive, but I could choose my own doctor (PPO) and I loved her and saw her once a year for basic lady check up.

Then I got a letter that I had to switch plans because mine was being cancelled due to the new Healthcare law.

Fine. Cool. Whatever. I’ll opt in.

I researched plans based on my income level. It was a bit confusing because my income can fluctuate, but I went with a reasonable average and I chose something that seemed fine. It actually saved me $10/month and was a “better” plan! Only catch (I thought) was that it’s an HMO. Which means I have to choose in a specific network. Fine. I have so few doctor needs at this point in my life (thank goodness) that I didn’t think it was a big deal. When I was accepted into the plan, I researched doctors in my network who would be good for Primary Care doctors. They all got pretty terrible reviews, so I let my plan pick one for me. Again, I rarely go (thank goodness) so I didn’t see it as a big deal.

About two months after being covered by my new plan (and three premiums already paid), I had a minor medical issue that wouldn’t go away. It wasn’t a big deal, so I figured I’d check out my new doctor since office visits were cheap and just have him look me over. I’m going to use his real name because these are facts, not opinions, so people can hopefully learn from my experience.

I went to Dr. Mohammad Resvani on Motor Avenue in Los Angeles, CA. It seemed fine enough. I filled out a form and waited about 15-20 minutes before I was taken to my room. I wanted another maybe 10 before the doctor saw me. When he came in, here’s what happened:

He asked what was going on. I explained it to him. I also explained I had something similar before and what it was. I told him I thought it might be that thing again and mentioned it. He looked at me and said he had never heard of that thing. It’s a really common thing, so I was confused. Then I guess he figured it out. He then motioned for me to move from my chair onto the table. He asked me a couple more questions and started pretending to get out stuff to check me then his phone rang. He answered it. He turned his back to me and talked on the phone for a while. Probably around 3-5 minutes. I just sat there. Then he turned right back around, didn’t apologize or explain why he answered the phone mid-sentence and proceeded to put his stethoscope on top of my jacket and talk to me while I assume he was attempting to listen to my heart. The times I’ve been to my primary care doctor before, they put the stethoscope directly on my skin and have me quiet and breathe so they can actually hear my heart. Putting it on top of my jacket (which was on top of two more layers of clothing- shirt and bra) seemed ineffective. Especially since he continued to ask me questions while he did it. He then said he’d give me a prescription for what might be wrong with me and walked out. He told me he’d give me a referral to a specific doctor to help me with my needs. He said it could take a week or so.

Before I left, confused as to whether or not we were done since I had already paid my copay in advance, I stood at the attendantless office for a few minutes. He happen to walk by. I asked if I was done. He said they needed a urine sample. I didn’t know what that had to do with anything, but I said ok. And I went back to the office and waited for them to bring me a cup. Then I did it.

Fast forward- my problem seemed to take care of itself so I never used my prescription. I then get a bill from my health insurance that they only covered most of the mystery urine sample, so I’d need to cover the rest. So I paid $3 to pee in a cup.

I go to fill my regular monthly prescription a few days after that  (which was prescribed by my wonderful former doctor) and it turns out my health insurance doesn’t cover it anymore. I have to use their mail-in service. I was unaware of this. The Walgreens lady and I had a long discussion about it. She was nice and she explained to me the situation. So I coughed up the $45 for that month while I figured out what to do. I tried calling my insurance provider but got in an endless loop, unable to actually get a hold of anyone. I tried looking online and couldn’t figure out how to do it. When I tried calling general customer service, I was told by the machine that the estimated wait time was 2 hours and 45 minutes. Of waiting. To talk to a customer service representative. Who would probably transfer me back over to the prescription people. For more waiting.

A couple weeks later, I see that there has been a claim denied twice by my health insurance. Lo and behold, I get a bill from Dr. Rezvani for $250 saying my insurance didn’t cover a basic office visit. Had I wanted to pay $250 out of pocket, I would have gone to my old wonderful doctor and she could have actually helped me and maybe not answered the phone mid-conversation. And maybe she’ll actually give me a referral when promised.

I have to now spend more of my own precious time and energy (not to mention likely money) to cover a very basic, very unsatisfactory office visit that is supposed to the easiest, most basic form of healthcare. And because March 31 is the last day to “Opt In” to the new healthcare system, it is nearly impossible to get through anywhere without insane wait times.

I tweeted about it. And to be fair, I got a response. It basically said “Sorry you’re having trouble! We’re here for you anytime.” And I asked if we could just fix this over Twitter, since that seemed to be the most efficient way of getting through to anyone. I did not get help on that front.

I’m an intelligent, healthy, 20-something. I’m willing to pay for healthcare- I was doing so before it was a federal mandate. I understand healthcare. I understand the internet. I’m ideal for this new system. But it’s deeply flawed. If I can’t even figure out how to navigate it- and I desperately want to- there is something really wrong here. To the point where I’m going to have to take dramatic measures to get change my coverage and go back to other options that make more sense for my situation.

It’s no wonder that everything about this is messed up. If I’m actively trying to do the “right” thing and “save money” and have “better health coverage” and I have to pay significantly more money, what happens to the people who don’t have the tech savvy or intelligence or education or even desire to learn that I do? What happens to them when they get big bills they thought were covered that they simply can’t pay? They’re screwed. That’s what. Which isn’t the intention of the system, but seems to currently be the outcome.

I’m paying $10 less per month that I was before for a coverage that doesn’t actually cover anything my older “more expensive” plan did. And on top of it all- I don’t need that much coverage. I just don’t want to have to pay out of pocket for a doctor to answer his phone while in the room with me not answering my health questions. Money is tight. I have to be smart with it. And this healthcare choice, so far, has not been a good financial investment for me.

I take care of myself. I constantly write blogs about happiness, health and fitness. I want to thrive. And I want to be healthy. And I want a reasonable heathcare arrangement that everyone can be satisfied with.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

That’s been my experience so far. I apologize for the tirade and the general lack of hilariousness in this post. But I needed to put it out there.

Now back to your regularly scheduled poop jokes.

How ABC’s “LOST” and modern politics explain each other

The final season of ABC’s hit drama “Lost” has finally begun to answer six years worth of questions for millions of loyal viewers. And in doing so, has illuminated the numerous parallels between the island world of “Lost” and the modern political scene.

Why the Island is like DC

  1. Your past doesn’t matter. Just like those who are stranded on the island can start anew, it seems a politicians record can also be completely wiped out once elected. In both cases, the playing field is leveled and the only advantage is how long you’ve been around because you know the place better.
  2. There’s a job to do. At this point in the series, the survivors of Oceanic 815 know that there’s a job to do, a further fate and purpose behind their presence on the island. They become active in whatever way they can to find out what it is. In Washington DC, the politicians know they have job to do. The difference is that the survivors are allowed to be unsure of what their job is throughout the series, while politicians prefer to think too much about how they’re going to keep the job they have to do and not enough about what it will take to actually get anything done.
  3. Weird shit goes down. In both the island and DC, there are only a handful of “normal” human interactions. All actions are heightened to the extreme, and every decision becomes the most important decision ever made. The stress levels are palpable in both locations, and people are ready to be impulsive to achieve whatever it is they think is best. Both area’s inhabitants are willing to manipulate, lie, or do whatever it takes to forward their agenda.
  4. Keeps the crazy confined to one place. Much like the example during Lost of the wine bottle being the island keeping the wine inside confined, Washington DC allows Americans to know the craziest and most manipulative, and ideologically driven people are confined to one small area.

Why the Man in Black is like Republican Leadership

  1. Don’t come up with original ideas. The Man in Black can only take on the form of people who have died. The Republican Leadership only say “no” to ideas suggested, rather than coming up with their own.
  2. Can manifest in different forms. The Man in Black can manifest himself as the smoke monster, and can also take on the forms of people who have died on the island. The Republican Leadership can use Fox News pundits and talking heads to tell people what the “want” to hear, so they can get more support behind their cause.
  3. Everything is black and white. For the Man in Black, he considers killing people who make the wrong “choice” justified because he gave them a “choice” (which was presumably to join his group and follow his leadership unquestioningly) or to die. For Republican Leadership, the mantra of either “you’re with us or you’re against us” has been one they’ve followed for years. It seems the choice for Republicans is either that  you will support their ideals and ideas unquestioningly, or that you’re an idiot with nothing to offer this country and, therefore, should move to another.
  4. Feed and prey on fear. We know the Man in Black manipulates people at their most vulnerable and weakest points in order to make it seem like he’s empathetic. In actuality, he wants them to trust and believe him and go along willingly to do whatever necessary evils it make take to get what he wants. And, he makes his followers believe that what he wants is in their best interest, too. So, too, does Republican Leadership use outlandish and doomsday vocabulary in order to make people believe they have the best interest in the country in mind. The passage of a moderate healthcare bill is suddenly “Armageddon”, and a call for all those who fear change to be on edge and alert and ready for orders from the Leadership as to what they can do to regain power and control.
  5. Recruit followers. The Man in Black is “recruiting” followers on his side for some sort of epic battle to be free of the island. A battle he, presumably, needs a strong band of followers to win. The Republican Leadership is “recruiting” followers by drumming up grassroots support throughout the country for some sort of epic ideological battle. With any luck, it is simply a battle to the polls in November 2010, which they need a strong group of followers to win. Worst case scenario, it’s a battle that will manifest itself in some other terrifying way.
  6. As long as someone else has power, they’re unhappy. The Man in Black has said that he will keep killing Jacob replacements in order to keep unilateral control of his power. As long as there is a Jacob replacement on the island, his unilateral power is threatened. The Republican Leadership is also perpetually dissatisfied with all forms of power the President has as long as the President is a Democrat. And as long as they do not have unilateral control of the three branches of government, they fight everything that is proposed tooth and nail to prevent reforms. As long as there is some Democratic leadership, their unilateral control and power is threatened. And that, like the Man in Black, makes them unhappy.
  7. Get others to do their dirty work. The Man in Black can’t technically kill Jacob, so he manipulates others (finally-successfully- Ben Linus) to do it for him. Everyone on the island becomes pawns in a larger power struggle between Jacob and the Man in Black. Republican Leadership can’t technically harm people or specifically ask people to harm them. But, they can manipulate language to make ideological differences seem like the end of the world if those who believe differently are not snuffed out. Or, they can create maps with rifle-scoplelike cross hairs targeting Democrats. Or simply give out addresses to Democratic representatives homes and pretend that it’s not their fault if a gas line is broken days later.

While it’d be logical, then, to say that Jacob would be President Obama and the Democratic leadership, I think that’d be giving the Dems too much credit. As much as I support and like some Democratic policies, I like Jacob a whole lot more. And, for some strange reason, I am much more concerned about what happens to the Island than I am what happens in Washington. But, there are some similarities worth pointing out.

Why Jacob is like the Democratic Leadership

  1. Wants people to decide on their own. Jacob has taken the much more passive and hands-off approach that people can come to their own conclusions about the nature of their own humanity if he simply provides them with the opportunities to test it. He is not directly involved in forcing people to believe one thing or another, and allows them to make the decisions themselves. So, too, does Democratic Leadership take a more passive approach to recruiting followers. Rather than speaking in “fire and brimstone” absolutist talk, it embraces diversity, flexibility, and gray areas.
  2. Has a go-between. Just like Jacob has Richard to be his right hand man, President Obama has Nancy Pelosi to make sure his policies have the legwork to become reality. Jacob’s role exceeds beyond becoming involved in the nitty gritty details of every day Island life and he trusts Richard to work on the ground for him. Obama, too, has plenty of other roles as President than to spend every day in Congress garnering support for policies. So he trusts Pelosi to do it for him.
  3. If need be, will kick ass. In a surprising scene this season, Jacob kicked Richard’s ass when Richard came along to kill him. Rather than passively saying “Know you have a choice” like he did previously (and unsuccessfully) with Ben Linus, he punched, kicked, and beat Richard until he had let go of his ambition to kill him. For Obama- if need be- he can send his bulldog Rahm Emanuel to remedy a threatening or challenging situation. And rest assured that Emanuel is very likely to (metaphorically…we hope) punch, kick, or beat back those who stand in the way of progressive policies.
  4. Can groom but not guarantee his replacement. Just the candidates replace Jacob are handpicked by Jacob, the candidates to replace the President are often handpicked as well. Both leaders can see the potential in a person and similarities in ideologies. But they cannot make the person replace them. The person has to want it bad enough to make that leap of faith themselves.

So, we have to continue to watch the last episodes of “LOST” to see if any light can be shed upon how our modern political battles will turn out. At least in the short run.

In conclusion, vote Fox/Reyes in 2016.

Despite hectic schedule and long hours, TV doctors manage to keep perfectly coiffed hair and makeup

TV doctors have some of the most demanding schedules of any TV profession. They often find themselves professionally dealing with complicated life or death situations and personally struggling with a number of hardships at any given time.

Despite the struggles, however, the majority of good-looking TV doctors remain looking fresh, pampered, and beautiful. That way, even if they’re telling a distraught family they’ve lost their only child, they look classy.

Thank goodness.

Clever “Kill the Bill” Facebook pictures make huge difference in lawmaker’s opinion on healthcare

Hours after healthcare reform finally passed Congress, a huge and hard-fought victory for the Obama administration, political analysts have already begun to speculate on what influenced lawmakers to support or oppose the bill.

The overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress voted in support of the bill, citing the inherent need for healthcare overhaul and overwhelming number of frustrated constituents as their reasoning.

Republicans, however, overwhelmingly voted against the measure. Their reasoning, though multi-layered, seemed to stem from one simple analysis. Many of their younger constituents-most of whom do not vote or participate in any part of the political process- changed their Facebook profile pictures to a clever variation of the popular Tarantino movie “Kill Bill”, so that they said “Kill the Bill”. Elected Republican representatives were so struck by the picture’s creativity and catchiness that they refused to support the bill.

Some elected representatives even claimed that it wouldn’t have mattered what bill was being put up for a vote because they were so impressed and influenced by picture.

Despite their best efforts, however, the bill will be signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday. Republicans are eagerly anticipating the numerous profile pictures that will be changing to some new, clever symbol of opposition. Until then, many of the politicians continue to browse the social networking site aimlessly, looking at pictures of long-lost friends they care nothing about.

Hypochondriac doctor has trouble keeping patients

It’s one thing to keep up with the Joneses. It’s quite another, to keep up with Dr. Jones, a self-diagnosed hypochondriac who not only takes on his patient’s illness, but usually one-ups them about his own ailments. As a result, it has been difficult for Dr. Jones to keep a consistent patient base.

“I don’t get it,” he says. “My name is so easy to remember and so fun to say. You can say it like that kid from the second Indiana Jones movie…you know, the one with an adorable but non-threatening Asian accent? Did you see that movie? I did. God, after the part where the guy got his heart removed with some other guy’s bare hands, I wore a chest plate for six months and avoided tan, bald men altogether.”

Throughout the interview, Dr. Jones had a hard time staying focused. Not only on the subject matter, but also on the interview itself because he was constantly popping pills or checking some stat of his.

When asked when he first began to realize he was a hypochondriac, he admitted it was during medical school. “I should have just quit at that point since my job was to become dealing with and listening to different diseases and ailments all day. But I had loans to pay off,” he says.

But, after medical school he wasn’t able to keep his job at a general practitioner’s office because of his rapport with the patients. “I’d get so excited when they told me about their diseases. I figured it was just time to share. I’ll admit I probably didn’t give them and their problems the attention it deserved.” So, he started his own private practice…which is constantly struggling for new patients.

Dr. Jones says, “It makes me anxious about income, which is not good considering I have anxiety, high blood pressure, and stress-related back problems.”