WHA/UCD divorce leaves the children in utter dismay

Western Health Advantage and UC Davis Medical Center part ways and leave patients to twist in the wind.

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blankOh sweet baby Jesus, the crankypants are tight this morning.

I know, I know, I was Miss Merry Sunshine last week.

Have I mentioned that I’m a Gemini?

So, why am I rolling down the rant rail this week? Healthcare. Or lack thereof.

Back in July, I wrote about the unfriendly divorce between Western Health Advantage and UC Davis. When I learned that they were parting ways, I was dismayed. As I’m wont to do when flooded with emotion, particularly about something over which I have no control (like fires or why we can’t fast-forward to 2020 or the inexplicable popularity of Ed Sheeran) I pour it into words.

If you missed that column, here are the Cliffs Notes: The prospect of being unable to see my doctor of choice was petrifying.

I was hoping that I would not be the lone voice crying in the wilderness, and that the thousands of other WHA patients affected by this business decision (be clear: patient welfare was not a factor — it’s all about the ka-ching, baby) might also speak up, collectively loud enough to tweak the consciences of the WHA and UCD CEOs into reconsidering their decision and finding a solution that would benefit the greater good of all.

You see, I’m of that “the customer is always right” generation, and isn’t that an adorable and precious notion in times like this, when corporations are people and actual people are, well, less than nothing. Silly me. And yet, rant I must.

Lastly and most importantly, I was banking on the entire kerfuffle being merely a negotiation tool, and that WHA and UCD would kiss and make up.

They did not.

The divorce is moving right along as scheduled. Come Jan. 1, I will be booted to Woodland Clinic or NorthBay Healthcare or Kaiser against my will. Now, I’m sure there are wonderful doctors at all three places, and bushels of testimonials from happy patients. So what. That’s not the point. The point is that my choice is UC Davis, it’s my money, it’s my body, and I should have the right to spend my insurance money where I choose.

Yes, silly me.

It’s like I think I have rights or something.

This all comes to a head against the backdrop of Affordable Care Act open enrollment, and I poked into that a bit, but then my fury and resentment started boiling and I clicked away. I’ll have to pay substantially more to go rogue and pick an ACA plan than I will if I remain with the healthcare my employer provides. Having been with the same employer for 25 years, yes, I do feel entitled to at least keep the meager benefits I’ve acquired.

Silly, silly me!

I know, I know. This is morphing into whiny, privileged First World complaining. Guilty as charged. But take a step further than that: If I —- at this point in life, with a 44-year work history, paying into all the various systems and holding up my end of the bargain, and retirement just ahead but still out of reach — if I am having this much trouble clinging to my healthcare and navigating all the HMO and PPO nonsense, I’m thinking it must be infinitely harder for others to understand what’s going on and to get the healthcare they want. I realize that solving our national healthcare issue is hard; apparently that only came as a surprise to one person in particular. But why is it so hard? Oh yes, now I remember: because insurance corporations have our so-called representatives by the short hairs, or we’d all have a single-payer healthcare system by now.

Medicare for all.


End of problem.

And go talk to Canada before you start arguing with me on that point.

What I do know for certain about this healthcare debacle is that it has reignited the flames of my anxiety. Being imminently unable to see my doctor anymore has triggered my two red flags that tell me my anxiety is whizzing out of control: unspeakably gory, bloody nightmares, and botching up my appointments. So far this week, I dreamed of frantically dismembering bloody corpses that I needed to hide in order to save my family, and I showed up for a horseshoeing appointment when I was supposed to be doing a massage. (Yes, I’m also a massage therapist, because journalism doesn’t pay the bills… but it had some awesome UC Davis healthcare coverage. Had.)

The last few years, so many things that I counted on were lost: Stebbins Cold Canyon and Harbin Hot Springs burned to the ground. The place where my husband and I met, and would return to — demolished to make way for a casino. The crummy but loveable little office that used to be home to the Express — also demolished. But, all minor things compared to the people who’ve been ripped away, suddenly and far too young, far too tragically, and some of them violently.

And then, there’s our country, crumbling and eroding, more and more each day, like the towering Pacific Coast cliffs… how long until they give way, and all the homes crash into the sea? Our country feels like that right about now… trembling on the precipice of doom. It’s only a matter of time before it all comes tumbling down

Tick tick tick.

I could go on and on and on itemizing the losses, but you get the point: the only constant anymore is change.

Shut up, Solomon — everything’s new under the sun. Put on your glasses, old man.

Good luck getting healthcare coverage to see an ophthalmologist.

So, what’s the bottom line on today’s rant? What’s the wrap? There isn’t one. The clock on my healthcare coverage is ticking, and I don’t have an answer. But while I’m thrashing psychologically over being thrown out of the UC Davis medical system, one thing’s for certain: The CEOs who fashioned the ugly WHA/UCD divorce aren’t dreaming about piles of bloody corpses. They sleep like babes, to the hum of ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching

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