Where Do I Start?

This post may sound a little confusing but I will try my best to make it understandable. Currently, I am in the process of dealing with healthcare in the United States. The issue is not with myself, because I have Medicare and a supplement which covers my costs. I don’t even think about it. That is probably the crux of the problem. We in the good old USA don’t think about the cost of health care often because we are covered by medical insurance either by our employer, ourselves, or by Uncle. The issue I am becoming familiar with are the people who don’t have any insurance coverage at all. They could be middle class Americans who lost their coverage because of the wonderful gift from Obama known as Obama Care, and can no longer afford to pay for the so called “free” Obama Care. Others who are in the country under unusual circumstances, and are undocumented cannot get private health care, Medicare, nor Obama Care. They are the cash paying victims of our society.

Today, I made an appointment for a simple blood test with a blood lab that is national. The doctor directed me to get a test to rule out a vitamin deficiency. At first he told me to get it done in his medical group lab, but rescinded when I told him I wanted to pay cash and keep this off my insurance. “If you do it in our lab it will cost you $161.00,” he said. “You can find it for much less at a private lab.” I took his advice.

After a few times on the internet I finally found a website for a blood test lab and the key to unlock their tests other than COVID. The primary emphasis of their site directed people to go for COVID testing. I learned that they would give me the test I wanted for $48. That is because I compared them to a competitor who was offering the same vitamin test for $54. I registered for an appointment.

At the lab this afternoon, I was asked if I had an order from the doctor. “No,” I said, but you can call him and he will give you one. They called and I was rolling up my sleeve when I finally asked what the charge was going to be. “It’ll be $100.”

“Wait a minute, the website gave me a price of $48.” The technician read the dumb look on my face and said, “Thats the price you get when you register, and pay for the test online.”

“I did register for the test online.”

“Did you pay online?”

“No.”

“That’s why, without a doctor’s order it is different.”

“You mean that if I go home and register for the test online, and pay for it I won’t need a doctor’s order, and I get it for $48?

“Yes.”

“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

I was back at the computer logging into the lab website when my wife asked me what I was doing. I explained the whole thing to her but she didn’t understand any of it. “In my country all of the tests are free, but I know a place that will do it cheaper, I had the test done a few years ago.” She gave me the number, I called and made an appointment for the test for $45, and didn’t need a doctor’s order.

I have finally reached the point I was going to make when I opened this post. One trouble with our country is the high cost of health care. It is easy to tell why it is so high. My doctor has a staff to support, and he belongs to a big doctor group that owns many hospitals, clinics, and offices. All of them cost money to support. The private clinic is much the same, but on a smaller scale, and finally the independent lab that runs on a shoestring is the lowest cost of all. That isn’t apparent when they deal mainly with people who use their insurance and don’t care what the heck a test costs. It’s my guess that the little guy makes more profit than the huge hospital group because his overhead is so low.

I’m trying to decide who is the blame for this high cost, the government for supporting it with Obama Care or capitalism for juicing the profit from the insurance companies, or the insurance companies for juicing the people and their doctors.

So why is this a problem? With so many people out of work because of COVID I see many instances where people who lost their employer healthcare now wind up paying out of pocket costs that are unsustainable. It won’t be long before Uncle is preaching universal health care for all like he did when Obama was president.

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