Why Single Payor Scares Me


The Illinois Legislature created the Adequate Health Care Task Force to analyze and recommend a “universal health proposal.” In April 2006, I was invited by the Task Force to testify about Maine’s Dirigo Health initiative (a costly debacle, in case you haven’t heard). The Task Force would pay travel – airfare, hotel, etc. I testified before the committee, although apparently had little impact given the majority report of the Task Force or Governor Blagojevich’s subsequent health reform proposal – Illinois Covered. Although that is beside the point.
Then the fun begins.
Due to procrastination, I submitted my travel reimbursement a few months after testifying. I heard nothing. I called to follow-up and was told to resubmit the almost $700 in expenses. I did. Two months went by, and I still heard nothing. I called again and was transferred to another person in another office. I was told that I needed to submit a copy of my debit card statement to show the airfare was actually paid (apparently that fact I arrived was not enough). I submitted that. Another two months passed, and I still heard nothing. I was now approaching the one year anniversary of my testimony. I called again and was told the fiscal year had ended in June 2006, and they couldn’t pay the bill. I was told that I could go through a court process to get the reimbursement. I complained to a supervisor and was told to resubmit. I did. I was still not paid. I called and was told that I had to fax a sworn statement that I had actually paid for the per diem meals that I was claiming – $30. I did. I waited. I then was told to submit a faxed W-9 to verify my Social Security Number. I did. Just two days ago, I was sent a form to sign to swear that I actually drove the mileage claimed from my house to the Portland, Maine airport to fly to Chicago. A faxed signature is not valid, so I need to mail this latest form.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the government paid for all our health care bills and we could go through similar process for life-sustaining treatment as well?