No, I'm not pregnant.

On May 4, I will have knee surgery. What does knee surgery and pregnancy have to do with each other? That was the question I asked the nurse who called me and this is what she said-

"Because you'll be under anesthesia, it's our policy to do a pregnancy test beforehand." 

And this is what I told her -

"Me being pregnant would be immaculate conception (my husband had a vasectomy several years ago) and it's not my policy to pay for a procedure I don't need. Is Kaiser going to bill me for this pregnancy test?"

"Yes," she said. 

And I told her, "You can do your test, but I will not be paying for it."

I am already paying thousands of dollars for this surgery. The amount of money my insurance company will be paying on their part is about equal to the price of a large pizza. I will pay what is my part of a very high deductible, but I will not pay one cent more than I am expected to. I will not pay for treatments that have nothing to do with my surgery, but are "hospital policy."  I will not pay any more money that doesn't go to my health care providers (the doctors or the nurses) but goes to a corporate entity whose purpose is not to alleviate pain and suffering, but to inflict it by charging exorbitant amounts of money in order to make a profit. 

No, I am not pregnant. I'm pissed.  

The Affordable Health Care act and the medical system in our country is a joke. No, it's not a joke. It's a fucking disgrace. 

The United States government, all health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry should be deeply ashamed. We are one of the richest countries in the world and while we can spend billions of dollars on weapons and wars that will never be won, we c̶a̶n̶n̶o̶t̶, we do not take of our own citizens with health care that's always there no matter what and is affordable to all.  

I am grateful my husband and I have a credit card so paying for this surgery is possible. I am grateful to all the doctors and nurses who are competent and will take good care of me and my knee in a couple weeks. I am sorry to know (via a friend who works as a physician's assistant in Northern California) that the money an orthopedic physician makes on average from a lateral meniscus tear knee surgery is $500. That's not bad for 45 minutes of work, but when you consider the surgery itself is costing $4300, where (or to whom) is all that money going to?  It only seems fair that if an itemized bill is given to you for all services rendered, an accounting statement of where all payments are being made to is provided as well. I'm planning on asking for that once I receive all the bills.   

While some doctors might say they went into the medical field to make money, I trust the majority of them wanted to be a doctor to help people. I wish I could say the same thing for those who work in the health insurance industry.