Lowering My Health Care Costs

If Mrs. Clinton, or Messrs. McCain or Obama would like to lower health care costs, then perhaps they could encourage Congress to start by requiring that all insurance companies, doctors (and anybody else who conducts inter-state commerce) have a real live human being answer the [EXPLETIVES DELETED] PHONE ON THE FIRST [MORE EXPLETIVES] RING. Any company using a [EXPLETIVES FOLLOWED BY MORE EXPLETIVES] INTERACTIVE [EXPLETIVE] VOICE [EXPLETIVE] RESPONSE system should be fined their market capitalization, have their CEO ground into small little bits, their offices razed to the ground, and their fields sown with salt.

Computers should NEVER answer the phone.


  1. So you want to lower (apparent) costs by making it more expensive to take calls? Even if you spend 5 hours on the line trying to think of ways of strangling the machine on the other end, it’s still probably cheaper than sending the call to a human that knows what they’re doing. Especially if you give up, because if they can wear you down so that you give up trying, then clearly you didn’t need to talk to them in the first place.

    Spin it another way: How much would you pay, out of your own pocket, to guarantee that your call was promptly answered by a clueful human being? I sense a business plan brewing…

  2. Cheaper for thee, but not for me.

    I’m concerned about my costs, not the costs of the company providing “insurance.” My time is expensive. In this case, i didn’t select the company; my employer did. I’m not their customer; my employer is. They have absolutely no incentive at all to ensure my satisfaction.

    On the other hand, the Mid-Hudson Medical Group does. I’m their patient. But their voice mail jail rivals that of AT&T. One gets the impression that they don’t want you to schedule an appointment, and don’t really think that it could be an emergency. Unfortunately their competition was just as bad.

    At the Associated Press, incoming calls were handled by people. But there was no pool of staff sitting waiting for incoming calls. The AP had receptionists. They answered the phones too. The AP had reporters. They answered the phones too. On some days, you even Lou Boccardi answered the phone.

    At 911, people answer the phone. It’s a matter of life or death.

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