Notes On Healthcare

At one time I was employed in the engineering department at a lock company. One of my jobs was to determine list prices as new products were introduced. List prices were set by determining the total cost of making a product and multiplying by four. Products were sent through distribution at approximately 50 percent off list, distribution sold products to locksmith dealers at approximately 25 percent off list and locksmith dealers sold the product to their customers at list price. Discounts quoted here may not be completely accurate but generally this is how it works in the manufacturing sector.

Two months ago I visited my doctor for an annual physical. One of the routine procedures was to take a blood test. The blood test went smoothly and took about two minutes. One month ago I received a bill in the mail. For some reason the insurance company refused to pay for the blood test and my doctor was now asking for $940 to cover the cost of the test.

The words ‘discount’ and ‘doctor’ are never used in the same sentence. There is no way to use mathematic formulas from the manufacturing sector when trying to determine how doctors in the service sector arrive at their prices. Whether it is pills, hospital stays or blood tests, in my opinion the costs of treating uninsured patients is being tacked onto the real cost of treating insured patients.

My brother Alan recently ran unsuccessfully in Texas for some local public office on a platform of less government is better. When it comes to healthcare, I would make an exception to less government is better. The general idea of spreading healthcare costs over a large group seems like a good plan to me. It works for Social Security and very few people are willing to give those benefits up.

As luck would have it, last month I contracted pneumonia. Locks and keys did not matter to me during several days of painful coughing. The healthcare industry provided the proper medicine and my pneumonia is now a distant memory. Every person should be able to go to work each day safe in the understanding that they have access to the same healthcare I received and if it costs me a little more, so be it.

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