Sunday, January 09, 2005

Another Customer Gets Serviced

I'm working out getting myself some health insurance, and learning pretty quickly that the setup's a big scam. It's not designed to get the patients quick and affordable access to healthcare; it's designed to make the insurance company money.

Yeah, I know, it's nothing you're not already aware of. But it is one of the more disgusting forms of economical ass-rape that have been cooked up in this country. Right now, I'm seeing a urologist for a thing. He's in the network of the plan I'll be using (it's a comprehensive network, one of the few good things about it), so I can continue seeing him once I'm in the system. But first I have to go to my GP and get him to refer me to this guy. Whom, as you will recall, I've already established a relationship with, and whoalready has all my info on file.

Oh, and when I go to see the GP, so I can get permission to see this doctor I'm already seeing? He'll bill me for the visit.

This is just another symptom of capitalism gone wild in this country; companies focus on making money instead of providing service, and serve their shareholders instead of their customers. And it all comes down to greed. There's no such thing as "enough money" anymore. If a company makes $40 billion this year, they're not satisfied unless they make $50 billion next year. And because of the law of diminishing returns, there's only so far you can go before hard work, intelligent employees, and a quality product or service isn't enough to keep up with the ever-rising expectations. When that happens, you do one of four things to survive: cut costs (although of course not the seven-figure salaries and bonuses paid to the board), start playing magic numbers with the ledger books, buy out smaller companies and use their profits to boost your own (wile also bringng them in line with The Way Things Are Done Around Here"), or put all you've got on "the latest thing" and hope to God it really is.

I'm not against capitalism, when it's practiced in a rational manner. But we've gone so far past irrational in this country that we've passed through the other side into some kind of anti-sanity universe. Hence comes the widening gap between rich and poor touted as economic growth, customer service that exits to deflect questions rather than answer them, and the word "help" coming to mean anything but.

Really, it's enough to make a guy a socialist almost out of spite. But I'm cutting spite out of my diet these days, so I'll continue to believe in the possibilities of the system while hating the realities.

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