February 09, 2004
When good logic turns bad... 
I've come to realize that most interesting conversation comes from issues that have "right" answers that rubs against what is logical, and what we intuitively want to do... The Associated Press has a perfect example - you can read their story here, or take my word for it, and let me weave it into my own...

There's this teeny-tiny town in upstate Maine, with a weird name... Township 15 Range 15. Living here is this guy, Richard Albert, who lives about 30 yards from the Canadian border. Now, the town of Township 15 Range 15 doesn't have a lot happening in it... in fact, Mr. Albert usually crosses the Canadian border (at his own discretion) to shop and go to church... has been for over 40 years. The town is so small that the border is sometimes unmanned when he went across - remember, this distance is the equivalent to you and I going out to our mailbox - mine's farther away then that!

Enaways - Along comes 9-11 and tighter security along our borders. Up goes the gate - locked at 9:00pm, opened at 6:00am M-F. Remember - Mr. Albert has been crossing the border to go to church on Sundays, when the border is "closed". Mr. Albert also has family that lives over the border, in Canada, Mr. Albert now has a problem! The next border crossing (yeah, if it's open, that is!) is quite far away - his travel goes from 30 yards to, like 200 miles!!!

So Mr. Albert did what you and I would probably do (c'mon, be honest here!!!)... the logical thing - he crosses the locked border that's 30 yards away. Well, he got caught (twice), and is now facing 2 $5,000 fines.

I can really empathise with Mr. Albert - I almost feel a-kindred to him. My family and I live in New York, right on Lake Champlain, just a stones-throw away from Vermonts largest city (OK - I'm exaggerating a tad on the distance, but I can see the city from where I work). My wife and oldest daughter need to visit endocrinologists, for diabetes... but there aren't any on our side of the lake... there are endocrinologist in the aforementioned Vermont city, however.

We're fortunate to have an HMO for our family health coverage - I won't say which, but I will tell you that we have a pretty Blue card, and it has a very nice Shield imprinted on it - Anyways, here's the rub...

Because Vermont is, well, in Vermont, and not in New York, a visit to those doctors are deemed "out-of-network", and instead of a reasonable co-pay, we get penalized, and have to dole-out some pretty-darned serious cash. The HMO has it's solution - the nearest endocrinologist that's "in-network". Hey, sounds like the logical answer, until you realize that their nearest endocrinologist involves a 350 mile round-trip drive, over the Adirondack mountains (not so much fun in the winter, I tell you!).

So I try to appeal to the HMO's sense of logic, in the form of both verbal (phone) and written grievances, to see if they can bend the rules a bit - yeah, right!

Thing is - I can really understand the position that my HMO has taken, they've made their deals, and got the best prices they could for the "in-network" medical services, but for me as an individual, it's illogical, very wasteful (in gas and time) and I hate it. I also understand Mr. Alberts' dilemma, and that of the US Customs also, there simply aren't simple, elegant solutions here.

Oh, Mr. Albert - I really, really feel for you! I see a future with some sort of Universal Health Coverage as the simple, logical and elegant solution for my issue, but for you - I just don't know - but I do wish you well!!!

posted by Jon C.  [link] | |

 Atom Syndication

February 09, 2004
When good logic turns bad... by Jon C.



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