One morning, Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts and a former private health insurance high raking executive, wakes up in the Twilight Zone, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!
Charlie wakes up one morning and after a shave, shower, and a hearty breakfast, gets into his car and drives to work. Unfortunately this particular morning, Charlie gets into a nasty accident in which his car receives significant but reparable damage and poor Charlie requires a trip to the hospital in an ambulance to treat a few nasty cuts and a few X-rays just to make sure, but thankfully all is well and he is sent home.
Once home, Charlie contacts his car insurance company and arranges for the repair of his car and to get his free loaner. He is informed by the insurance agent that he must choose a repair facility that is on the approved vendor list, “in network” and he will be responsible for his deductible of $1,000.
Two weeks later, Charlie picks up his repaired car and the following day, receives several envelopes in the mail from the body shop and other companies involved in the process of his car’s repair. Charlie owes far more than $1,ooo. Charlie owes $52,276.76
Immediately Charlie gets on line, on the phone, texts, emails, and is on hold for hours hearing the recorded message over and over again that the company he is trying to reach is experiencing abnormally high call volume but his call is important and he will be assisted by the next available agent.
After two days of this, Charlie learns that while the body shop was an approved vendor, or “in network”, the welder was not an employee of the shop but was an independent contractor who does not accept Charlie’s insurance. In fact, the receptionist at the body shop was also out of network and each time Charlie called and was put on hold for half an hour, that was added billing Additionally, while the paint was approved for the car, the actual spraying of the paint was on a list of options that Charlie failed to choose on his policy, and unless he really wanted his BMW painted with a bristle brush, well, there was the additional fee. Of course, the tow truck was covered but the driver of the truck was out of network and on overtime, so that added a few hundred dollars. Finally, there was the case of the “free loaner” that would have been free if Charlie picked the same car that he had insured. Since that car was not available and even though the car he was given was of far lesser size and quality, there was the issue of the “change order” and the smaller car had an much higher insurance rate due to its limited number of air bags. All in all, when Charlie went over this with friends, co-workers, and strangers in hallways, their reply was the same. “Yeah, frustrating isn’t it? Been there myself. Nothing we can do about it!”
Defeated, Charlie paid the additional $51,276.76 and then a sudden shock engulphed his entire body. What about the ambulance ride to the emergency room, the doctors, nurses, wound care, x-rays, bandages….how much is all of that going to cost me??????
Charlie’s hands shook as he called the hospital. “Hello this is Charlie Baker. I was in an accident a few weeks ago and I was treated by your hospital. I have not yet received a bill. Can you tell me what I owe?”
The voice on the other line was calm and comforting, “Well Charlie, we have universal single payer. You’re all set. No charge. Hope you’re feeling well”.
Charlie was shocked. He asked “Well okay, but what about all the private companies and overpaid executives that ran private health insurance, what became of them??”
The voice on the other line laughed mockingly and with a devilish glee replied “Oh, they all got hired by the private auto insurance companies..bwaa haa haaa haaa!!!!”