Health Care, And Public Health Offices

I am a proponent of health care reform.  I wholeheartedly believe it.  The skyrocketing costs of medical care are not only ridiculous, but damaging to the future of our nation competitively.

It doesn’t take a genius to identify the problem, either.  When I had shingles in 2000 I was in need of medical care to prevent blindness.  I went to see my “usual” doctor, but without insurance was asked to pay my office visit up front.  The cost was $55 (I recall, because I didn’t really have it…my wife had just graduated nursing school).  Last week while at the doctor, I paid my copay share of the $160 bill.  That is a 35% increase, far beyond the 3% annualized increase (which should be only $72, if you add 3% to the cost each year).

Now, if you hear the “gubmint” tell it, our problem lies with either the greedy insurance companies (the DNC stance) or the need for tort reform because of greedy lawyers (the RNC stance).  But neither one of them will address why my doctors bill is 290% more now than it was just 9 years ago.  I can guarantee you that the insurance company surely doesn’t like the bill be that high.

In the interest of honesty, it should be pointed out that tort reform may help alleviate the costs if viewed superficially.   However, this would not explain why a shot of Rocephin bills at $150, yet only costs the office about $5 (or less) per dose.  I find it very hard to believe that malpractice costs have increased 290% over the previous decade.

No, the problem lies with doctors, and what they charge.  It could be argued that Medicare could be used as the meter for pricing in the industry, but that would require some legal wrangling as well (and likely would result in a depreciation in the care nationwide).    Of course, this doesn’t mean that we don’t need tort reform, or to have another look at the insurance companies.  But in the end, the first thing that you have to look at when you evaluate cost is the pricing structure.  This is the details that the devil is within.

Regardless, a little anecdote that just reiterated to me why Obamacare might end up being just another Obama mistake:

I took my son to get his shots today.  Since the Texas Health Clinic does it for $5, we took him there (rather than pay a larger copay at the doctor).  When I walk into the clinic, the room is full of rowdy toddlers and prepubescent children clinging to mom (they knew why they were there, unlike the toddlers).  There were about 20 kids there, with maybe 8 parents.  I stood to fill out the forms, as there was no seating.  A sign on the wall said, “Expect to wait a minimum of 2hrs to receive shots during school preparations.  (we were  here all summer)”.

I was taken aback by this signage, as it seemed to say, “We are going to take as long as we want.  If you don’t like it, show up earlier in the summer”.  So as to not disappoint, that is exactly what they did.  I sat in there for just over an hour.  In that time, one lady was taken back with 1 child, they stayed back for about 30 mins, then came out.  No other kids entered or exited the office.  No one was seen.

Needless to say, I began to get upset.  It seemed strange that they were unable to see more than 1 child to administer at most 3 shots.  I assumed that I would be there until well after 5pm based on this apparent pace.

More people piled in, and the ones who had been there were already very restless.  Few things in life are as exquisite as sitting in a room with 20+ kids, many of them crying, a couple of them receiving diaper changes and filling the room with stench (yes, we have “those kinds” of parents in this town, it seems), while it is 110 outside and the air conditioner struggles to keep up.  Of course, human body heat (and odors) don’t make it a whole lot better.

Finally, after we had been waiting for around 2 hours, a kid was called back.  They were back there for maybe 3-4 minutes, and another group/family.  Boom, boom, boom….quick succession.  All of a sudden, 30 minutes after they started seeing kids, we were called.

So, I sat there for 2 hours while the staff did lord knows what, then all of a sudden they see everyone and clear the office in just over 45 minutes?  They advertise shots from 1p-4p…should I have waited until 3:50p to show up?

This was infuriating.  My first impressions were right.  They posted a sign that seemed like they were telling you that they would take as long as they wanted.  Why do they do this?  Because they can.  They don’t have customers to deal with, they have “clients” (a state term that is nothing but politically correct talk for “patient”).  Clients are not treated like customers, they are treated as a social service patient.

This is what state run health care gives you.  You are no longer a customer or patient.  You are a client.  Maybe next time I will pay the overprice rate at my doctors office.  I just hope that the choice isn’t made for me in the future.  We shall see.


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