Friday, August 21, 2009

Health Insurance Rant

Allow me to vent some frustration about health insurance. My very healthy son just got turned down for insurance. He has a very mild case of Intestinal Neuronal Dysplasia. For this the insurance underwriter has said he will never be insured –not only for the IND but for any medical care ever.

I could understand this if he had a severe case of cerebral palsy and his care would certainly cost many thousands a year. But this is a healthy toddler who hasn't had a single symptom or treatment for over a year. We stopped treatments when he was 2 months old. When he did need treatments they were only tap water enemas that cost essentially nothing. His physician says that he will likely live his entire life without a another problem. I am a doctor as well. I reviewed every study published on IND and I am certain my son has the mildest form of the condition.

An underwriter probably saw “Intestinal Neuronal Dysplasia” on the application. It is too rare to have good statistical predictions of its risks. He probably googled it and saw it is genetic and can cause problems in severe cases and denied my son flat out. Ignorance caused them to reject a very healthy child that will likely cost not a penny more than any other child. I offered to speak to the underwriter and explain his situation, but the phone operator told me underwriters don't talk consumers.

My son won't be able to purchase insurance his whole life for a diagnosis that hasn't given him trouble since he was two months old. I can never have a private practice, because I will always have to work for an employer that offers group coverage the rest of my career. If my young, healthy family with no active medical problems cannot get insurance, families with sick individuals shouldn't even try.

I care a lot about healthcare. I have worked hard for years to ensure the care I give is affordable for patients. I have given high-quality low-cost care to hundreds of people insured by this very insurance company. For them to reject my healthy son out of what appears to be ignorance feels like a slap in the face. No wonder so many Americans are eager to bring down the insurance industry!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

TMD and Bob Dylan

It's scary how every day my son looks a bit more like a mid-1960's Bob Dylan:

Life Right Now

Sorry I haven't posted much news recently. A lot has happened since I last posted:

I resigned from my position as a Primary Care Doctor at the community clinic in Oglethorpe County. I still love primary care and love the patients I left there, but that clinic wasn't the right place for me. Over the year I worked there it became obvious that I had very fundamental differences with the clinic's management.

Now I am back to working in the Emergency Room. Although it isn't my dream job like primary care, ER certainly does offer excitement. It also has less hours than the clinic, so the added benefit is that I am able to spend more time with the rapidly growing TMD and his beautiful mother. Probably I will be doing ER for a while.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mamma's Boy

An older clip of TMD telling me who he loves the most in the whole world:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bearing Witness -July 4th

Today as Americans celebrate our liberty, it is proper to consider the plight of those who struggle under oppression:

Over the last few weeks I have closely followed the news out of Iran. The highly suspicious election results spurred large protests throughout the country followed by a media blackout and a violent crackdown. Now most of the public protests have been crushed, and the protesters are being executed or tortured into making false confessions.

I justified spending so much energy on this because I have occasionally helped by passing messages for protesters so they can hide their identities from authorities, but I have wondered how much of my interest was just morbid curiosity for sensational events? For this reason I have hesitated from posting about Iran on my blog.

Last weekend we went to a candlelight vigil with Iranian students here in Georgia. They emphasized that they don't want US government intervention, which would play into the hands of their oppressors. Many Americans asked what they could do. A young Iranian man said, "the people of Iran need your support and praise."

This is Iran's struggle. But many protesters risked their lives to get this documentation of their movement out to the world. Iran needs the world to witness their boldness and suffering. Their love of liberty is deeper than ours.

Therefore this post is to bear witness and respect their courage:

A video about the election aftermath posted 6/19/09:

To show their number those who oppose the government go to rooftops each night and call out "God is great" the same as happened a generation ago during the 1979 Revolution. This is a video taken by a young woman:

Police on roof firing at protesters in the street below:

The death of Neda Soltan, a young woman shot in street on 6/20/09 by militia for protesting for freedom: (Warning: Graphic Video only watch if you feel you are able.)

To read more about Neda Soltan click here.

A protester calling CNN on 6/24/09:

An Iranian propaganda film blaming the West for meddling and justifying rounding up students and intellectuals who espouse democratic ideals:

Today as we celebrate our freedom and liberty, let us not forget those around the world who struggle under oppression, especially our brothers and sisters in Iran.