My wife had a ear infection a few weeks ago, she went immediately to a ENT specialist who charged her $260 for an office visit. He gave her some drops to see if that would work, it didn’t so she returned and he then examined both ears with some type of high tech device and gave her a hearing test. The charge for this check of her ears was $750 for each ear.
He then recommend that a drain be inserted in her ear (just like they do with small children who have repeated ear infections), because she was reluctant to have general anesthesia, she tried more medication first, but it did not work and the minor surgery was done. When I say minor it was ten minutes start to finish and done in an out-patient surgical center. The doctor charged $550 for the ten minutes, actually not too bad these days (but remember he had already received over $1700 for what did not work). The anesthesia was $900
Today I received the explanation of benefits from our plan administrator for the surgical center. The center charged $13,300 for the total of one and half hours that my wife was in the building. You should also know that the facility is owned by fifty doctors. A nurse at the facility told me they do 40-50 procedures as day. If that is correct we are talking in the neighborhood of a half a million dollars a day.
So, if you want to talk about health care reform talk about it in the context of what is really wrong, the cost, the cost, the cost.
There is nothing in the pending “reform” legislation that will change any of the above, in fact, I have yet to hear any discussion about costs in this context. There is nothing in the above story that can be blamed on the “insurance company”
Let’s say we do extend coverage to the 47 million Americans without it and we subsidize those who earn up to $88,000 a year as proposed and now we have a much larger pool of people with coverage and with a minimal financial stake in the cost of the care they receive and what if they all get an ear infection?