What’s up, Doc?

This is a post containing a personal anecdote. It belongs on this political blog because it relates to health care. In case you were wondering.

A couple of months ago I went to the doctor. I had some follow up questions, so I figured I’d send him an email via the fancy patient portal account (because what else is that there for, if not to enhance patient/doctor communications?). A few days went by with no response, so I called the office. The Phone Answering Lady said she’d give him a message and get back to me. Few more days, no response. I called again. Same Phone Answering Lady again said that she’d ask him, and then would definitely get back to me, because their office was “like a squeaky wheel,” slow but they always get it done. Whatever that means.

Unsurprisingly, I never heard another peep from that office. I gave up trying to get my questions answered. Hopefully I don’t die.

But then, last week, a miracle happened: a phone call! From the doctor’s office! It was Phone Answering Lady herself! And let me tell you, she was sweet as PEACHES when she spoke to me. I instantly released all feelings of bitterness toward the doctor and his staff at the mere sound of her voice.

Her: “Hello, ma’am? This is Paula, at Dr. NoReply’s office.”

Me: “Yes, yes, YES!” (more so in my head, but you get the idea)

Her: “There seems to be a billing discrepancy from your last visit. Did your insurance change?”

Me: (with a sudden sinking feeling) “Oh…yes. I told you that when I came in. My new insurance doesn’t participate with Dr. NoReply, so I’m paying out of pocket.”

Her: “I see. We should have had you pay that when you were here. Well, we’ll just mail you the bill then. Goodbye!”

I hung up the phone feeling sullen. Used, even.

When the bill arrived the next day (literally), I put it on my kitchen counter for a while. Let THEM sweat it out a little. See how they like it.

A few weeks later, I had no fewer than three additional notifications from the doctor’s office regarding the bill — two via the patient portal (it DOES work!), and one text message. I’m still hesitant to pay it solely because I’ve finally uncovered a way to elicit actual responses from Dr. NoReply’s office. Those little pings! So many! I just can’t resist them!

So, if you’re having trouble reaching your health care provider, the moral of the story here is quite simple: DON’T PAY YOUR BILLS!!!! It works wonders.

You. Are. Welcome.

Democratic Debate Recap: Everybody Loves Hillary

Saturday night. A night for relaxing, socializing with friends, attending ugly Christmas sweater parties, and of course … viewing the Democratic presidential debate. I was a little late to watching the debate because: kids, but once I hunkered down in front of the iPad to watch the spotty streaming coverage from ABC Go, I was fully engaged and invested in the 3 second clips I could catch between frozen screens and mismatched audio. (Not awesome, ABC. Also not awesome, husband who insisted we cut cable last month.)

At some point things synced up and I was able to watch the actual debate in all its glory. I was glad to see the candidates (generally) answer questions with relevant responses. Take note, GOP candidates. If the Republican debates could be characterized as making up in style what they lack in substance, the Democratic debates seem to be roughly the opposite — hence why I fell asleep roughly 45 minutes into watching. Even the hotly anticipated drama over the Sanders data breach snafu turned out to be little more than a fizzle.  Who wants to watch real policy talk? We want sound bites and shock value, damn it!

No but seriously, I fell asleep because I was exhausted, not because the candidates were super duper boring. Pinky swear.

So even though I missed the majority of this debate, here’s my summation of winners and losers:

Winners: my bed, Hillary (may the force be with her), Martha “I put the rad in” Raddatz

Losers: ABC Go, the DNC, Saturday night

These should get way better when we get official party candidates and cross-party debates. Trump vs. Clinton? I’ll get my popcorn ready now.

Republican Debate Recap

Last night marked the final Republican debate of the year. In a refreshing change of pace, the candidates came to the stage emitting a collective aura of leadership, capability and expertise … hahahaha. Sorry. But no. It was the usual parade of circus performers this time around, only this time Christie had returned to the main stage and Huckabee was still relegated to the losing group early debate.

This debate focused on foreign policy and national security, which meant that Trump and Carson probably had spent the last week asking aides to quiz them with flash cards of geographical locations in the Middle East.

A brief recap of key points:

  • Carson thinks that the way to pinpoint anti-American sentiment is to eradicate political correctness on a national scale. So — practical AND specific.
  • Chris Christie has done stuff. Big stuff. Stuff that Senators can only DREAM of.
  • Jeb! Bush is tired of Donald Trump’s shtick.
  • If Carly Fiorina doesn’t like a moderator’s question, she’ll simply answer whatever question she wanted to be asked. (Side note: Carly Fiorina also may be a robot.)
  • Trump would like good, smart people to figure out how to close the Internet in order to stop ISIS. If such people are indeed really good, and very smart, they will be able to work around any pesky issues that come up related to civil rights and international law.  In related news, Donald Trump plans to hire a team of magicians to serve in his administration.
  • Upon election, Ted Cruz will gain special presidential superpowers that will enable him to pinpoint every terrorist on the planet and then shoot them with lasers coming out of his eyes. He will avoid any and all civilian casualties in this process because his special eye lasers are super duper accurate. And awesome.
  • “You talkin to me?” — Jeb Bush, to Donald Trump
  • “You talkin to me?” — Donald Trump, to Jeb Bush
  • Would Ben Carson be able to command a bomb strike that has the potential to kill hoards of innocent children? Yes, and here’s why: as a pediatric neurosurgeon, those kids getting surgery didn’t always like him opening up their brains, but eventually they realized that he did it to SAVE them. Likewise, those children getting bombed may not be happy initially, but later, they’ll thank him. Perhaps when their tiny ghosts haunt his dreams.

Stay tuned for the next Democratic debate on Saturday, December 19. That’s right — ANOTHER Saturday night debate. Luckily, those of us with small children and no social life will have no issues whatsoever with this time slot. Until then!

What’s the deal here?

Recently I found myself complaining to a friend about politics in the Information Age. There is so much material available that it becomes increasingly difficult for the average person to vet the content they’re reading. What is accurate? What is misleading? What is totally ridiculous BS propaganda that frankly, the person who wrote it ought to be ashamed of? (Note: it’s usually this.) I mean, it’s kind of crazy! Blogs are everywhere! Misinformation abounds!

So then I thought, hmmm….I know some stuff. Why not add my voice to the mix? And thus PoliMama was born.

I can’t promise to always be right. I can’t promise to not be controversial at times.  But I can promise to give considered opinions and arguments (alongside heavy doses of humor) with a minimal amount of fear-mongering and hyperpartisan nonsense. If you like politics, can appreciate parenting and like jokes, please pull up a chair and hang out. If none of those things apply to you, I…don’t have much to offer you, sadly. Maybe check out some YouTube videos of kittens. I don’t know. This just got awkward.