Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Free" or Universal Healthcare

Whatever one thinks about Universal Healthcare or any of the plans floating around out there, it should never be completely free to the consumer. I use the term consumer to mean the average American, not someone so bereft of funds that no co-pay, however small, would be affordable.

Every year I try to do at least one or two cases pro bono. At the moment I'm doing a divorce for a woman who was judged worthy by an outfit called Volunteer Legal Services. We have been trying to schedule a meeting for a while to go over the final judgment.

At first she asked that I drive to meet her in Round Rock which would have me driving 30 minutes both ways. I declined but told her I could schedule the meeting for before or after work so that she wouldn't miss any work...even offered to come in on a Saturday or Sunday.

She didn't want to do that but said we could meet at 12:30 today at my office. At 1:00 she was still a no-show. I called her at 1:05 on her cell phone and she said she was lost. I asked if we should reschedule so she wouldn't be hurt at work. "No," she said, "I told them I'm taking a long lunch."

She hadn't thought to call me to tell me she'd be late.

She said she was on MoPac (the highway on which I office) going over the big metal bridge over the lake. Well, there is no big metal bridge over the lake on MoPac. I explained she was on the wrong highway and told her how to get to MoPac and then instructed her to call the receptionist to talk her in.

She finally showed at 1:20 and we had our meeting.

While too many doctors have made me wait far too long in waiting rooms, if their patients pay nothing, they'll get the same treatment I got today.

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