Affordable Care

Calling 9-1-1 is not what it used to be. A private company now arrives called American Medical Response (AMR), you may have noticed them waiting in shopping centers around town.

A while ago I had difficulty breathing so I dialed 9-1-1 and AMR arrived along with the fire trucks; they took me to the local hospital and realized I had Medicare Part A but not Part B, which covers emergency response. Later I recieved a bill for $1550.

When I was unable to pay this bill AMR sold it to a collection agency in Texas for pennies on the dollar, and it has been hounding me for payment; the company has come down a bit, but nothing I can afford.

I think 9-1-1 calls should be exempt from this kind of bundling, and that AMR should offer me the opportunity to pay this bill at what it sold for.

I am the victim here. I don’t have the advantage of writing off this bill as a tax loss; I am 87 years old with no income except SSI.

Perhaps while it is a hot subject, President Obama could make a slight change in the Affordable Care Act to correct this.

As a footnote: The doctor at the hospital patted me on the back and told me I had bronchitis but wouldn’t have to stay overnight. The waiting room was empty; I was wearing pajamas, a dressing gown, no shoes or hat; I did have socks. But no one offered to take me back home; I wasn’t about to call a friend at 2 a.m. I live about three miles away, and it had been raining. I usually walk about six miles a day, so this should be easy, I thought. So I started to exit the hospital, and the attendant said, “Can I call you a cab?” I looked in my wallet and had $10, and I thought, well, I do have bronchitis, some part of the walk is unpaved and would be muddy, and there’s a freeway overpass to reconnoiter, so $10 would get me close. The cab driver, after I explained, was nice enough to take me all the way.

I have often wondered, though, if I hadn’t had the $10, whether Part B would include not just to the hospital, but also the fro.


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