As a full time resident/condo owner on Marco Island, I experienced a somewhat disturbing situation this past week. I was initially pleased that my medical insurance carrier through Broward County Schools, gave me two doctors’ names on Marco that have been recently approved as “in network.” I have been going to Naples over the past seven years for my medical and dental needs.
I made a personal visit to one of the doctors as I work in the same building. I was politely but firmly told, “We cannot accept any new patients, even those family members of long-time patients!” In a telephone call to the other doctor, I was told the same with a bit more regretful tone. Since I only need to see a regular doctor once per year for about 7 minutes to renew necessary daily medication, I am a bit disgusted at the aforementioned response. I am not yet “old” enough for Medicare and Social Security, and as a retired Florida educator, I am currently paying $608 per month for very unsatisfactory medical and dental insurance. I am hearing that Medicare won’t be much better!
I reflect back about 47 years ago to when I was a teenager growing up in the wonderful town of Pelham, NY. The 1960s was such a great decade, and life was much simpler with a strong middle class and respectful values. Due to an accident one winter evening, I sustained a broken nose and passed out in a pool of blood. The nearest doctor lived just two blocks away; he had an office on the side of his modest home. My mother called him and he said to come over immediately, even though his office was now closed. He packed my nose and monitored me for about two hours, free of charge! Another outstanding doctor in Fort Lauderdale also saved my life about 18 years ago; he, too, refused to submit his surgical fee to my insurance – again free of charge! I always remember both of these doctors in my daily prayers.
So, what has America come down to? Unfortunately, it is all about greed –- Wall Street, Corporations, Banks, and even Main Street. The “99 percent” are bearing the brunt and truly suffering. The image that doctors and dentists are entitled to fantastic salaries has become commonplace; lest I forget, malpractice medical lawsuits are also part of this equation. Also, if you do want “special attention,” you can also buy a “concierge” doctor for an additional several thousand dollar annual fee. It’s interesting to note that doctors in most other countries do not and cannot earn what they do in the USA. To add more “pain,” the insurance companies are also out of control with excessive annual rate increases and then not wanting to pay the bills when submitted. Whatever happened to the ‘Hippocratic Oath?’
Recently on TV I watched a heartwarming news segment which focused on a few very distressed cities that have been hit hard by the “Great Recession.” Some doctors and dentists were treating people who have lost their homes, jobs, and insurance coverages, free of charge. Thankfully, there still are some true medical professionals in America.
In the mean time, I am grateful and definitely feel fortunate to have a doctor and dentist in Naples (both accepting my insurance plans), a job, and the ability to maintain my residence on Marco Island!