Medical Tuesday Blog
The Cost of Basic Health Care
Dr. Rosen: We have heard for a long time from the media that the cost of health car is beyond what the average American can afford. But what if we divide the cost into basic ambulatory health care and the cost of hospital care.
Dr. Edwards: I understand the health insurance companies make a bundle on basic office care. What is “basic health care?” Are we able to define it?
Dr. Milton: Can’t we just define it as the day to day health care that we get from our physician’s office?
Dr. Ruth: When patients come in for the first time, and they are in their 30s, I only order at basic blood count, urine check and maybe another test or two depending on what my history and physical exam brings out.
Dr. Michelle: If the patient is paying cash, it shouldn’t be over $30 or so. The blood count at my closest lab is $18 and the urine check is $12.
Dr. Yancy: As a surgeon, I’m not really involved in ambulatory care. I only see patients on referral for an operation, such as an acute appendicitis. That would definitely be hospital care.
Dr. Sam: I think that you’re bringing up an interesting point. If patients paid for their basic health care out of their pocket, they may never see expensive care unless they have a surgical problem. And that would be covered under any hospital plan. This is the first time that health insurance would be required.
Dr. Dave: I when I had my check up recently, I had the opportunity to check with our adjacent laboratory, they quoted me that a Complete Blood Count can vary from $8 to $2700 depending on your insurance. The lab tech stated the low end was when a client paid in cash. I bet the entire cost lists would be the same—the low end is the cash end.
Dr. Ruth: I did a check on the lab in my building and the cost of their suggested annual physical panel was $56 which includes more than I usually order. They included a CBC, Hgb A 1c, Lipid and comprehensive metabolic Panel in that $56. Since then I have ordered that basic panel which is actually not only cheap, but complete. They stated that insurance companies paid $224 or more for this same test.
Dr. Edwards: Wow! That is a huge difference. And if insurance companies make a bundle on the basic tests and the labs are certainly not losing money on these tests, this would confirm that paying cash for basic health care is unbelievably cheap.
Dr. Michelle: Then why do politicians keep saying that unless you have health insurance, you don’t have coverage. They must have a different agenda than affordable health care.
Dr. Milton: This is really an eye opener. Can we then say that everyone has basic health care regardless of any insurance?
Dr. Kaleb: Maybe it’s time for you Americans to wake up as to how badly you have been gouged. In my country everyone paid in cash. And it was affordable to the those that had a job. And even cheaper than your low end. Of course we had more poor people than you do. But your poor people would be considered rich in India.
Dr. Patricia: So Milton is correct, that all Americans have basic health care without insurance.
Dr. Joseph: Ret That would be a hard sell since most Americans accept the government definition of being poor.
Dr. Rosen: Isn’t it absolutely amazing that in this country of freedom and opportunity where the poorest of immigrants became wealthy, that we are now focusing on the poor and everyone is trying to become poor to get more government handouts. We have to get this all turned around so we look the other direction, look upward and onward instead of downward or backward. We have to make our contributions to all those foundations that are educating the youth and millennials who have never had a proper civic course in our public school system.
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