I just want healthcare to work. That too much to ask?

Flickr: Stéphane GinerRecently, my family has experienced the joys of the healthcare system. I won't get into details, but in one instance, a family member has had to visit the hospital on more occasions than one cares to over a month a half period. The end result all being the same: a conclusion, but one that's fairly uncertain and worrisome as time goes on.

Now, I don't pretend to be a healthcare whiz. I leave that up to this guy (client). What I do know is that I pay a ton of money to have coverage and that when I need it, I just want it to work. When you have kids, the "working" part is very important.

There's nothing worse than having to schlep your kids into the ER at 2am because of a severe fever or on a Sunday afternoon (during a Pats game) after your kid takes a header down a flight of stairs. Either way, you expect to be taken care of immediately and you expect all the attention in the world. However, that's not the case.

We've all been there so we know that cases in the ER are treated by virtue of severity. A fever that can be controlled by some Tylenol is not as urgent as a gushing head wound on a two year old. When we are in these situations, however, that rationale goes out the window.

However, imagine if that rationale were to play out in other areas of our every days lives?

What would happen if you went into a store, bought a 46 inch plasma TV and the sales person said to you, "Sorry dude, that's for the payment, but you're going to have to wait on that TV. It's probably going to be like four or five hours. You might not even get it until tomorrow." Then you look at the shelves, and they are packed. You stare off into the distance, knowing that there's nothing you can do but bend over the barrel and take one for the team.

Maybe you're at a restaurant for your 50th anniversary. You, or course, order an expensive bottle of wine and the biggest steak the joint has, while your wife goes with her one of few staples she gets while dining out. You might even throw in an appy or two. Your waiter comes by, takes your order and about two hours later, the food comes (yes, they forgot the appys). Thrown at you is a well done cheeseburger with soggy fries, a wilted pickle and a bun that's more suited for sanding the hardwood floors in your house as opposed to being edible. Your wife? She doesn't get her meal. Sorry, the waiter says, we're all out of chicken. Of course, there's really nothing you can do but bitch and moan. The waiter eventually comes back, after another two hour hiatus and slaps you with a hefty bill, gratuity included. Again, there's nothing you can do about it other than pay with some grumbling and vow to never return.

How about this happening in the workplace? Say your boss has you come into the office every weekend, for about a month straight, and promises all the riches that comes with working 60+ hours past your normal allotment. Like everyone else, you go upon your business, never checking your direct deposit slip until you're doing your bills. You quickly notice that your checks are the same amount as they were before doing all the OT. You ask your boss, "Hey man, wassup with shafting me 50+ hours of overtime." He replies, "Oh man, sorry about that. You expected to get paid for your hard work? We just figured you wanted a pat on the back and a gold star."

Healthcare works the same way. You never get the service you expect and deserve. The attention you receive should be categorized as drive-thru or fast food healthcare. The money you pay vs the value you get is so disproportionate. Finally, you just want it to work, especially for your family and kids. You don't want any hassles. You just want to get what you're paying for (some argue, we are).

Is that too much to ask?

Originally posted over at Every Other Thursday.