Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Truth About Blood Tests and Lady Gaga!!!

I was getting gasp-inducingly sharp pains in my chest that, had they been on the left, would have struck me as Nature’s way of saying, “Time’s almost up, pal.” But they were on the right, so I summoned up all my courage and went to see the only GP in my neck of the woods who seems to accept the AARP-brokered insurance for which I’d been paying for nearly two years. Dr. Njad, white-haired, tiny, Iranian, sad-eyed, stuck his finger up my ass more gently than any of his fellow healers ever had, pronounced my prostate reasonably proportioned, given my advanced age, and said I should get a blood test. When it turned out that my insurance paid in full for my brief consultation with him, I hummed "C'mon Eileen" and danced gaily round the room.

When the fine folks at Quest Diagnostics sent me an apparently satirical $1012 bill for my blood test, I chucklingly phoned United Health Care once more, only to discover this time that they intended to pay only $312 of it. For the first time since I repatriated to America in the fall of 2007, I wished I were back in the UK.

I phoned the fine folks at Quest and advised them of my incredulity. I pointed out that I’m unemployed, and that it wasn’t as though I’d gone into Emporio Armani and splurged on a sports jacket whose price tag I could clearly see. If I’d had any idea what their services were going to cost, I’d have urged Dr. Njad just to guess, or to read my palm or something. Who, I wondered winsomely, had ever heard of a $1012 blood test? Well, according to the woman I spoke to in Quest’s billing department, she had, lots of times. This put her in a category very different from that of everyone else I spoke to, including the good doctor, who was flabbergasted at the lab’s audacity.

I related all this to the woman with whom I spent the 90s, whose aversion to authority has made her long career at a famous California zoo a very bumpy ride indeed. At her urging, I phoned the New York state attorney general’s office, by whom I was advised that health care providers are free to charge whatever they please — and aren’t legally compelled to tell you in advance what they charge. I marvel at having heard not a syllable about any of this during the whole health care brouhaha.

Speaking of my already long-suffering publicist Lady Gail-Gail (who's working so hard on behalf of my new album), as we were in my most recent post, I neglected to note that accusing someone like Lady Gaga of being a genetic male is far from new. In the Christopher Milk days, our guitarist asserted with great vehemence that Nico, the celebrated Warhol-patronized chanteuse, was a guy, though he declined to divulge the source of his information. Judy Collins was also said to be transgendered, and Joni Mitchell, Marianne Faithfull, Janis Joplin, Michelle Gilliam of The Mamas & The Papas, Goldie Hawn, Chrissie Hynde, Donna Summer, Debbie Harry, Pat Benatar, Jewel, Tracy Chapman, Morgan Fairchild, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, all three Dixie Chicks, former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleeza Rice, Beyonce, Madonna, Castor Semeyana, Amy Winehouse, and Taylor Swift. My own theory is that it’s all about male musicians, actors, and politicians trying to get back at women whose greater success they feel has somehow emasculated them.

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1 comment:

  1. I am a freelancer with piss poor medical insurance and sky-high deductible. This assertion is the first sentence out of my mouth to physicians even before a monologue of symptoms, plus a request to limit tests. Compliance usually follows.