Nameless, faceless bureaucrats


by Jeff Fecke | March 18, 2009 • Jesse Taylor has a post up about his recent appendectomy:

So, today, I get a bill for the appendectomy I had this summer from the hospital – a little over $16,000. If it’s not paid in fourteen days, it’ll go to collections. (Keep in mind that my yearly budget, courtesy of the law school, is a little over $15,000.)

I call the hospital, and am told that the claim was submitted to my old insurance company and denied because I was not covered on the date of service. I cannot do any sort of low-income write-off plan unless I cancel my health insurance and am denied from both Medicare and Medicaid. Even then, it’s conditional.

I call the insurance company and was told that I was not only covered on the date of service, but am still covered by the insurance, despite canceling it in August of 2008. I try to confirm that it’s canceled, and am told that I have to submit a request through a separate service by mail. They ask me to have the hospital resubmit the claim by fax.

One of the reasons the main conservative argument against nationalized health care — “Do you want your health care being decided by faceless bureaucrats?” — has fallen so flat is simply that people are already having their health care decided by faceless bureaucrats. That the bureaucrats work for Aetna or Kaiser Permanente or Blue Cross Blue Shield rather than the government — that’s pretty irrelevant. Heck, at least if these were government workers, we could call up our senator and complain.

This is a larger issue for the Republicans as currently constituted. Maybe there was a time when the post office was the organization Americans associated with pointless time-wasting, but that crown is now held by the businesses that the GOP has sucked up to for a generation. The phone company, the cable company, the credit card company, the health insurance company — these are who Americans think of now when bureaucrats are mentioned.

And so when we hear that the government may take over health care? We yawn. Because at worst, we’re just trading one nameless, faceless bureaucrat for another. And maybe, just maybe, the new bureaucrat will be a little bit better. They could hardly be worse.