Remember the good old days?
Oh, I know. A lot of people hate that phrase. But some things actually were better several years ago. Take health care, for example. Those were the days before people thought everyone should have the same standard of care — and for free, of course.
A phone call to your doctor went something like this:
“Good morning. This is Dr. Delusion’s office. May I help you?”
“Yes. Is the doctor in?”
“He’s with a patient right now. May I have him call you in about 20 minutes?”
“Yes, please do, thank you.”
Now here’s a phone call to your provider in today’s world of semi-socialist medicine:
Recording: “Hello and welcome to ‘Love is Care’ medical services. Please select one of the following: For Spanish, press one. For all other languages, including those you’ve never heard of, press two. For you old dinosaurs that only speak English, press 3.”
Recording continues: “If this is an emergency, please call 911 and let them worry about it. For questions about your bill, press 2. If you are pregnant, press 3. If you’d like to be pregnant, press 4. If you would like an appointment in a few weeks press 5. To speak to an agent, press 6.”
Recording continues: “I see you pressed 6. Due to a high volume of calls, all agents are busy helping other patients. You are number 20 in the chute. Please hold for the next available representative. Your call is very important to us.”
Elevator music for five minutes.
Recording kicks in: “Please continue to hold. Your call is very important to us.”
Another five minutes goes by. More elevator music.
Recording comes back: “Please continue to hold. Actually, your call really isn’t that important or we would have answered it by now. But please keep holding anyway.”
Music continues. Another five minutes goes by. Recording comes back:
“Have you thought about taking a vacation? It can really help your healthy well-being.
Also, consider changing your diet. Those triple bacon cheeseburgers really aren’t good for you. Dropping 50 pounds could do wonders to the point where you won’t need us anymore.”
Music continues. Another five minutes goes by. Recording comes back.
“How is your blood pressure? Are you watching this silent killer? Is waiting for a agent making it rise even more?”
After 20 minutes: Ring, ring.
“Hello. This is Kah … I mean, this is ‘Joe’ with ‘Love is Care’ medical services. What is your name sir?”
“Oh, yes. I see your information on my computer. Sorry. Have to peddle my bike a little faster to get this generator going, ha, ha." What can we do for you, Stef.”
“It’s ‘Steve.’ I would like to talk to Dr. Delusion about my condition.”
“So Sorry, Stef. Dr. Delusion no longer works here. He says he makes more money driving a taxi in New York City, ha, ha. Would you like to speak to a vocational nurse? We have no doctors available.”
“No thanks. I’ll try catching a ride on a merchant ship to Dubai. Maybe I can find a doctor over there who can help me. But thanks, anyway.”
I’m sure many would agree: this is pretty close to the way things are today. Can you imagine what it will be like if we ever have full-blown socialized medicine in California?
Just ask the people in places like China, Cuba and Venezuela how well it works for them.
Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer.