The scene opens to a young woman in her early 20’s, dropping off her prescriptions at the pharmacy. It’s business as usual and she plans to pick them up the next day. However, when she returns to pick up the medications, the pharmacy clerk informs her that her insurance provider doesn’t have her listed as having prescription coverage, so the young woman leaves and then calls her insurance provider.
After several rounds of phone tag and mounted frustration, the young woman speaks to the provider and is told that there has been a mistake and that she is, indeed, covered for prescriptions. The woman returns to the pharmacy to inform them of this, but alas, the computer system is still listing her as uncovered.
Again, the woman contacts the provider, and is told there is no error, returns to the pharmacy. This sequence repeats about 5 more times, several days pass and turn into weeks and the woman is still without her medication. This situation is reminiscent of a comedy sketch; however, it’s not a laughing matter. The woman’s insurance provider is the state of California.
This woman, along with many other California residents is “insured” by the County Medical Services Program (CMSP). According the CMSP homepage the program is intended “to provide medical and dental care to medically indigent adults (MIAs) aged 21-64 who are of marginal income and who are not eligible for the State’s Medi-Cal Program.” Having an alternative such as this is a great asset to many people, and provides the opportunity for those who cannot afford health insurance to be able to go to the doctor and dentist. This program worked well for many people until a major change was made and now many people are having difficulties getting their prescriptions.
As of April 1, 2003, the CMSP system was transferred to an internet-only accessed system that allows pharmacies and doctors’ offices to run the identification numbers of the cardholder in order to receive payment from the state for the services rendered. However, there have been so many errors with the system that many people have been unable to pick up their glasses at an optometrist’s office, or prescriptions at a pharmacy.
The glitches with the new CMSP system are only the surface of problems people have met with the state healthcare system. Many outside opinions on the subject may hold the thought of “They’re lucky to get what they get.” It’s true that many people that are able to get state aid are fortunate to have the opportunity to have health coverage at the expense of the state; however, for many of those recipients they have no other means. By saying that these people who receive state-funded healthcare should be “happy with what they get,” then it’s almost like saying that unless you have a lot of money, then you don’t deserve quality healthcare.
What most Americans don’t realize is that the United States is one of the only industrialized countries that don’t provide their citizens with free healthcare. All over Europe people are able to walk into a doctor’s office or emergency room and receive immediate and quality healthcare at no cost. In the U.S. when someone enters an emergency room with an ailment or injury, the first questioned asked of them is “Do you have insurance?”
Particularly in the state of California, the change to the CMSP system is causing more harm than good, and its intention was to make it a “smoother process.” Every time the state attempts to make systems like CMSP “easier” to run, it just ends up making more of a mess than it was to begin with. Carries of CMSP have had to go through extensive measure to get what the state granted to them as “help” to begin with. It gives the impression that the state is saying “You don’t have enough money to pay for medical insurance, so we’re going to make life harder for you!” and then giving these people the proverbial finger.
The state of California has had its fair share of problems this year, and most of its problems have involved short-changing its citizens. Whether it’s been in terms of education or medical insurance, the state has been lacking the ability to run “smoothly.”
While the state is working out the “bugs” and “glitches” in the system, people are growing more and more displeased with how things are run. Citizens are tired of all the mistakes made by the state of California. Until the State get its head back on its shoulders, the citizens are giving the proverbial finger right back to them.