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You Can't Have Your Piece of The Pie ~ One reason why health insurance is so expensive

Updated on December 23, 2011

Last Tuesday I stepped out my door, walked down my driveway and slipped and fell on a patch of ice on my way to the mailbox. Now I wasn’t laying on the sidewalk thinking “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” It smarted a bit, and I sat there for a minute until the initial pain subsided. Then I got up, finished my walk to the mailbox and went back inside the house. I iced my arm, took some ibuprophen and went to bed. Since I am right handed and that is the side I fell on, life was a little interesting using my left hand for everything since it seems to be retarded and not able to do the tasks I have called upon it to do, but I survived. The next day was a bit better but I still had some pain, mostly muscle soreness in my forearm. I called my doctor to ask if she could prescribe some low level pain killers for a day or two just to get me past the soreness I was experiencing. No, she says, I must make an office visit to her before she can prescribe any meds. The immediate thought that ran through my mind was, damn those drug and Meth dealers have ruined it for every one of us honest folks. I have been a patient of her’s for over ten year and have a proven track record of not abusing meds or anything that would remotely appear to be drug abuse. I opted not to go to her office and waste $150.00 for the office call, only to have her just send me off the x-ray dept at the hospital to have it x-rayed. Instead I asked her to send a request directly to the hospital so that I could have it x-rayed just for good measure after work. Meanwhile a co-worker asked why I just didn’t go over to ER at the hospital?? I gave her the “deer in the headlight” look and said, “ER is for emergencies, if you are dying, or bleeding, or in immediate health danger” I am experiencing none of those situations. Besides, if I go to ER, they are just going to send me over to x-ray and then I will have a bill from ER AND X-Ray. Why would I want to have two bills when I only need one? So I go to the X-ray dept after work and have my x-rays done. He looks them over, even lets me look at them and tells me, “well maam, I’m not a doctor, but I don’t see any broken bones or even any hair line fractures. “ We will send your films and the report back to your doctor for evaluation. The next day I get a phone call from my doctor’s office; she wants me to come in to “feel” my arm after looking at my reports and only has an appointment in the middle of the afternoon so I have to lose time from work. I responded and said, "unless you can see me at 7:30am or after 5pm I’m not coming in, it’s not broken, it’s just sore. If it gets worse I’ll call you."

What occurs to me is if I had played this the way they wanted me to, I would have seen the doctor twice, once before and once after the x-rays, seen maybe someone in ER and the x-ray department. Everyone would have gotten a piece of the pie and THAT is one of the reasons why health care is so expensive!


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    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago

      Profit really does come first with most of the folks in the medical field. There ARE a few remarkable exceptions: The doctor my wife has used (yes, she uses him--he's not the boss of her) for the past two years is keenly attuned to the financial drouth in our self-pay situation (no insurance and don't want any).

      HOW attuned? He charges us a pittance for an office visit. Don't want to name the number, but it's 1/5 of his regular fee.

      HOWEVER, the flip side of that coin is definitely the coin of the realm. I first learned this "big time" after a minor accident in the Montana mines where I split the flesh of my left index finger open like a sausage blowing up in boiling water--got it caught between two hunks of entirely unforgiving steel pulled by a locomotive engine.

      Now, this doctor had treated our family for more than 20 years by that time. He knew we were a ranching bunch and mostly took care of ourselves--and paid our own bills.


      The treatment (14 hours or so after the injury): They simply had me soak the injured finger in a bowl of Epsom salts in lukewarm water (which of course I could have done at home), then slapped on a butterfly bandage, gauze-wrapped it, and done! Not even a single stich--though I do have a cute, thin-lined little scar there to this day.

      But here's the kicker: Doc wanted me to come back to have them change the bandages repeatedly for some time to come!

      Okay, my Mama didn't raise no fool (though I'm sure she must have had her doubts at times). I knew this was motivated by his desire for those State Dollars and no collection difficulties.

      Nuh-uh! Ain't happenin'!

      We had a verbal battle royal during which he was refusing to supply me with additional bandages for home use changeout. It got definitely HEATED.

      At the end, with him at the door exiting the exam room, I yelled at him, "Doc, you might as well give me those bandages, 'cause you KNOW I'm not coming BACK!!"

      He gave me the bandages...and my very last shred of innocence regarding the medical profession was Gone With The Wind.

      I was 25.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Of course we could say that people in the health profession are being extra careful with you in order to meet your needs as well as avoid any legal problems in the future. But always, in the back of my mind, is that health care is, after all, big business. And in business profit comes first.

    • writinginalaska profile image

      writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska

      thank you Kathy for this very useful information. i still have to have my TSH thyroid profiles done yearly now because I had the left side of my thyroid removed last year because of a noncancerous tumor. But if I can scale down the other tests and the costs that would be wonderful.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      here's part of the answer: go to click on pubmed. type "unnecessary routine blood tests" into the search bar. go to result #182. click on the title of the article. it was published in a very respectable medical journal, the archives of internal medicine.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      it wasn't an internet article. it was in harvard women's health watch (a monthly snailmail newsletter)about four years ago. it was the front-page headline. the article was based on a recent (then) research study. i'll try to find the original study and get back to you.

      since then, new recommendations have come out about periodic diabetes testing for folks over 45. i'll be submitting to that, too.

      in six years of private medical practice in the 90's, i ordered tons of blood work in conjunction with yearly physicals. i never found anemia or thyroid problems in anyone who didn't have some symptoms. i kept doing the tests, because it was what i was taught, but they were most likely unnecessary and wasteful.

    • writinginalaska profile image

      writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska

      thank you so much for stopping by and this is another one of those Hubs i almost didn't hit the publish button, but now I'm glad I did.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Exactly. Coming and going they get us.Today there is so much protecting of the doctor, there really isn't room to service the patient. GREAT write. God bless!

    • writinginalaska profile image

      writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska

      thank you for your comment Cathylyn99, a novel idea of yours for the blood work, do you happen to have the link to the Harvard article? i would be curious to read it.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      i'm all for advocating for your own care and reducing health-care costs. i don't get the yearly blood work my doc wants to order. i took her an article from harvard that says the only blood test an assymptomatic person needs is a cholesterol check once in five years, so that's what i get. thank god she is flexible and not defensive.

    • writinginalaska profile image

      writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska

      bowing, thank you so much Golfgal, yes, we have the power to take some of this into our own hands and not be lead like cattle just because everyone wants a cut of the pie. your comment is appreciated very much!

    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 6 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Absolutely!!! Good for you. A lesson for all of us. Why do we have to do it the way they say...we should be our own advocates and it is our money!!!! cudos.