Last night was movie night and we chose to see Sicko…the documentary film (getting too little press in my opinion) about the plight of our US healthcare system.  I know I know…the director, Michael Moore, can be overly dramatic and can stretch the drama/truth to make a point (and I’m being nice here) but today while working at CVS I couldn’t help but wonder…IS there a better way?  DO Canada, France and England have it right?  Maybe this wasn’t the film to see before I picked up a shift for the first time in 2 months.  *sigh*

Today over my 5 hours at CVS I spent at least 2 of those on the phone to insurance companies…nearly 40% of my time was spent dealing with multiple for-profit agencies that didn’t want to either cover a drug or cover a patient.  This maybe a shocker to you not in the field but it really doesn’t take 15 minutes or more to fill your prescription…what takes long is dealing with insurance companies.  If all I had to do was type, fill, check and bag, I could get your prescription to you in less than 5 minutes…hell I got one ready today in 2 (gasp!).  You maybe going…but I never have problems with my insurance…yeah well maybe you don’t, but the guy in line ahead of you does, and the person 10 mins before him did too…and you can see how things start to get backed up and why those of us behind the counter get so irritable.

Now I know why American drug stores have so much stuff in them…so you don’t realize how long it takes because you are happily distracted by all the crap we are selling in the seasonal isle.  It was pure joy to hear the pharmacist in England say “I’ve gone to school for too long to care about your laundry” in response to Michael Moore when he asked why his pharmacy didn’t sell laundry detergent.

The conversation with the English Doctor got me thinking about how their bonuses are based on if they get more of their patients to for example lose weight, or to stop smoking, or to lower their cholesterol.  It seems so logical right…to get paid more to help people!???  Royce’s bonus’ are based on how many patients he can see and how much he bills…and your family practice doc isn’t getting paid more if you lower your Cholesterol trust me.  What a concept though when you really think about it…healthcare that actually takes care and believes in helping ones health.  I wonder if I or our children will ever see it that way in the US?

The entire way home from the film we were plotting how we could move to France…sad really…but the only thing holding us back is the language barrier.  Maybe I’ll sign up for French lessons again.


  1. Very interesting about dealing with insurance companies at CVS–I never knew that’s why those things could take so long. I haven’t seen Sicko yet, but it’s on the list of must-see’s this summer. I think part of the reason James and I want to retire in Italy is because, at the rate we’re going, healthcare in the States could be far worse by that time. We’re taking Italian in the fall 🙂

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