Cancer log 207: Make appointments, get tests done

Cancer log 207: Nothing much to report yet — we’re in the ‘make appointments and get tests done’ part of the process, and since my oncologist (whom I met with this morning) agrees that it’s all probably nothing, there’s not a lot to do but work the problem.

It *is* irritating that Loyola has recently switched to a policy of scheduling 16 days out (to allow for insurance), so when the poor medical secretary was trying to schedule my MRI for me, she got all these questions from the other end about why she wanted it done quickly (because the doctor said so, because my doctor is awesome and thinks tests should be done quickly so you can catch things early if they’re there, which you’d think the insurance companies would also want, since early treatment is way less expensive than late treatment…).

The secretary got really flustered trying to answer the other person’s questions — “I’m not a doctor, I’m the staff person!” and ended up having to call back my doctor and have her write STAT on the order, which was not a great use of the doctor’s time either, being interrupted like that, probably when she was in the middle of talking to a patient.

I generally find inefficiencies super-frustrating, but this is the sort of inefficiency that costs lives. Not my life, not in this case, but how many tests will be delayed by these policies, meant to benefit the insurance companies? How many people will have their cancer caught critical weeks later?

How much money would America save, if we could just eliminate the profit-motive in medicine, and make healthcare the public good it ought to be?

I don’t know how to best attack that problem, but the Democratic presidential candidates had better be thinking hard about how best to achieve Medicare-for-all — or whatever they want to call it, I don’t care.

The linking of health insurance to certain higher-end jobs is an accident of American history, a painful accident we’ve all been paying for, for far too long. Time to end it.

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