‘Medi-Cal might be worse”

Marc Lawrence writes regarding the column about the Stockton veteran’s struggle with the Veterans Administration.
“Medi-Cal might be worse.
“Covered Calif referred me to Medi-Cal for my insurance coverage. I applied and was sent a letter to resubmit a copy of my Soc. Sec. card — they were having trouble verifying it. Apparently others have used this number and they were making sure (I guess) I was who I was according to Ms. Olivas the worker I spoke to and who sent me a letter asking to return the copy to her by Feb. 22, 2014.  Which I did shortly after receiving her letter.
“I have yet to receive my card or any information from the Medi-Cal office here in Stockton. I have called their number maybe 15 or 20 times leaving my name, number etc as requested on the message. I believe they were supposed to contact me within 24 hours of receiving my info on the taped response I have left many of those times.  
“I also decided to bypass that and dialed the operator when connected – just hit zero and would get the standardm, “Operators are busy, stay on the line for the next available,” as you can imagine. I have received no callbacks and no operator has ever come on the line. The call is just disconnected after 20 minutes of holding — I think i was instructed to call back.
“I’m sure they are being inundated with applications (well, I’m not really sure) but something is sure (bleep)ed) up here as well.
“I have not had insurance in many years and have relied on just going to the emergency at County or wherever in the past.  I have little money and I was thinking the Obamacare program was a great idea – and I still do.  And I also expected some kinks etc.  However, I am turning 64 in a few weeks and it would be nice to get a physical and checkup and know that these pains I’ve been experiencing in my back etc is not what I’m afraid it might be. “
The American health care system is so dysfunctional that Obamacare seemed like deliverance. But it started off like just another messed-up system. The hope is that, unlike the V.A., it will improve as time goes on. Surely America can do better for a man who thinks he may have cancer than an emergency room.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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