PLease Let Us Manage Your Disease

The mailman left ten letters today, all from our medical insurance company. Each contained a breakdown of payments for recent medical and dental work on my wife and me. Last week, he left six more. In one week we’ve received sixteen individual envelopes from the same company containing information relating to the same, very minor, procedures.

Actually, I tell a lie. Today, the mailman left eleven letters from our medical insurance company. The final one was different from the others. It contained an invitation to join a scheme run by another company. Because I have a minor chronic condition, simply controlled by the ingestion of one Prevacid capsule daily, this company wants to draw me into its web of victims by inviting me to participate in its “Disease Management Program”, where I will:

  • “Learn how to monitor my health, including measuring and recording my vital signs and symptoms.”
  • “Share this information with my doctor to improve the care I receive, and make me an active partner in managing my health.”
  • Receive valuable educational materials and videos.”
  • Have my own personal nurse available (depending on the status of my condition) to telephone me on a regular basis and offer support between doctor’s office visits, when I need it most.”

All of this is offered “totally free of charge” through LifeMasters, a “condition management company”.

Do forgive the coffee stains and the bits of left over chicken adhering to the page, but I had to salvage it from the garbage and piece it together in order to copy here what was written.

First of all, sixteen separate envelopes to send out information that could as easily been delivered in one larger envelope? How inefficient can any company be?

Yet, how can I resist the ‘free’ offer from LifeMasters, the condition management company, helping me to “manage my condition”, record my vital signs, and make me an active partner in “managing my health?”

But, hang on! On the one hand they are helping me to manage my disease (my condition); on the other they tell me I’m an active partner in managing my health. Am I, then, diseased or healthy?

LifeMasters raison d’etre becomes painfully (ouch!) obvious when you visit their website:[1]

Using a unique holistic approach that integrates innovation, physician engagement, and relationship development, LifeMasters has been successful in delivering results that improve an individual’s quality of life while lowering medical costs.” [my bold]

LifeMasters exists solely to save the insurance companies money. Here is capitalism gone mad yet again. Note the casual use of the word ‘holistic’, designed to net those looking for a more natural approach to medicine. It has nothing whatever to do with ‘holistic medicine’, of course. In the sense used here, the word simply means, ‘whole’ or ‘complete’.

The American medical fraternity, from the multi-national drug companies, through the family doctors and hospitals, to the gi-normous medical insurance companies, would have us believe they are peddling good health. The actuality is exactly opposite. Every one of them is intent on promoting sickness and disease. They advertise it on prime time television, buy whole page ads in popular magazines, they even make up fictitious diseases, and drugs that will cure – or, even better – control, them.

At the end of it all, right at the top of the line, is the big, big, profit margin; the cash cow that makes greedy shareholders drool with glee. The sicker we get, the bigger the dividend.

I’m fortunate to have lived fifty years in a country with a different system of medical welfare. It wasn’t perfect. Successive governments, including the present lot, considered the best treatment for the ailing British health service was to bleed it dry, much as physicians of old would drain a few pints of the red stuff from their patients, then look bemused when they quickly expired.

Taking the competition out of healthcare, banning the TV and magazine ads for prescription drugs, and maintaining an economy free of medical insurance companies, means much less exposure to actors pretending to be ill, subtly convincing you that perhaps you have the same disease they do.

And their “free” service isn’t free at all, of course, it’s paid for out of the extortionate fees demanded of us monthly by the insurance company, with whom they’re hand-in-glove.

LifeMasters invitation has gone back in the trash. I may have a stented aorta and a slightly dickey esophagus, but I don’t need them to manage my condition for me.

Though I do now understand why Blue Cross Blue Shield raised their drug charges at the beginning of the year, by ninety percent. And upped their monthly fees. And increased their customers co-payments.

Someone has to pay for the “free” LifeMaster’s service, now don’t they?

“LifeMasters – Working together for a healthier tomorrow”

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3 Replies to “PLease Let Us Manage Your Disease”

  1. What a racket, RJA, run by the robber barons, aided and abetted by the powerful lobbies funded by them who in turn pressure the government into this kind of payback.
    As I heard on CBC yesterday, there is no such thing as ‘free markets’. The only thing free about them is the ability to rape, raze and pillage at will and without restriction.
    Case in point: insurance companies.

  2. The idea of how lucky we are in the UK with our NHS (no matter what its faults) was brought home to me at the weekend when we went to visit an old friend of ours, who has married a lady from Oklahoma. They were still deciding whether to live in the US or the UK when the decision was taken out of their hands; six months before the wedding, she was diagnosed with MS. The drugs to keep her able bodied (i.e. therefore a functioning member of society, able to contribute to taxes etc) would cost her $2,000 per month. Her insurance (which she said was a good one) covered her for $3,000 of prescriptions per year. She earned $1,800 per month.

    They’ve come to the UK – she gets the same drugs for the prescription charge, and both she and her husband are working (rather than him having to give up work become her full time carer). Ironically, they are both working for the NHS in their back office departments – she got taken off the complaints helpline after a day when she was caught asking people what they were complaining about!

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