How Come I Have No Choices In My Healthcare Choices?

How Come I Have No Choices In My Healthcare Choices?

Matt HealeyTuesday,21 January 2014

The Snap:

It has been a while since I have written a post. Granted I never promised to write one of these every day, but there was a time that I was averaging more than one a day. The fact is that it has not been for lack of material — it has been lack of effort. One of the topics that I want to continue commenting on is the fucked up U.S. health care system.

The Download:

This is not about the ACA or the botched roll out. It is about how bad the system is and the role that doctors and hospitals play in making the system so much more expensive. I was reminded of this when reading an article in The New York Times this past weekend. The article was about how simple a procedure to have a growth removed from a woman’s cheek bone should have been. Granted, the growth was cancerous and had to be removed; however, the hospital elected to use a more expensive procedure than what was necessary — one that is intended for either large growths, or growths in sensitive areas like eyelids. This was a small growth on her cheekbone. Despite her protesting and asking for the cheaper procedure, the hospital would only do the more expensive one. Then when it came to closing the wound, the hospital would only allow an expensive dermatologist to do the stitches, regardless of her request that it be closed or left to heal on it’s own. No, the hospital would only allow her to get the expensive procedure. From my experience this is common.

Doctors and hospitals are not interested in your health. They are interested in the health of their bank accounts. Only. The problem is compounded when, as a patient, you cannot even get a answer to simple questions like, “How much is this going to cost me?” or “Are there other more cost-effective options?” Or, “Can I choose another testing center for the tests you are requiring?” The fact is that the doctors view you not as a patient, but as a walking (or not, depending on your medical condition) ATM machine. The only real option you have as a patient is to opt out of the system entirely and not go to doctors, which is what I have done. I have not had a primary care physician for over 5 years now and I do not intend to get one. At some point I may go through a physical at some general screening center, but that is it.

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The New York TimesImage Credit: Flickr

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