Welcome to the Medical Show
Chances are if you are a healthcare consumer today you are part of the Medical Show and you don’t even know it.
In our little land of make believe we pretend insurance pays for health care (except for that wicked duo the Deductible and Co-pay). We glady take part, flashing cards to get ‘discounted’ prices that are hyper-inflated by the pretend world we’ve set up. You see at the Medical Show you are not just paying for service, you are paying for a cast of characters to micro-manage, authorize, deny, and appeal medical services for all of us.
You are paying for a Man Behind the Curtain who is switching from this or that network of physicians on a never-ending basis, constantly shifting patients from doctor to doctor, lab to lab, and hospital to hospital. You are paying co-pays for drugs that are free at Publix, you are paying 10x the cost for x-rays that you can get for cash, you are paying for a fancy network of providers and an army to administer your access when you can do the same thing for yourself with your phone. You are paying for people to sell, package, and resell the same services that people used to buy directly when your parents were kids. Ain’t it grand!
You may be playing the part of the Patient, Provider (we don’t like excusionary terms like Doctor….much too stuffy), or Administrator, but what matters is we all continue to play our parts and not ask questions like “How much extra is all this going to cost me?”
Like the child screaming for more expensive junk from the gift shop and $12 ice cream cones, we are supposed to ignore the superfluous costs of goods and services in this dreamland. Can’t you just cut loose and enjoy yourself, you’re at a theme park for Pete’s sake!
Oh but you’re not at a theme park. You are working almost entirely to buy insurance from your employer plan so your kids don’t go without and you don’t go bankrupt if you happen to get ill. You are told by the media and government that ‘coverage’ is soooo important and without it, you may very well be playing Russian roulette with your health. Like the hip celebrites warn us on the PSA, #getcovered or you’ll #getkilled by greedy doctors and hospitals who won’t see you without your insurance card.
If only there was another way. A free-market solution that returns medical service payment to the days of yore where physicians could make a reasonable living billing patients directly and you used insurance for things that were rare, expensive, and unpredictable. Oh but there I go again, pining for the past when we are so progressive nowadays with CPT codes, MACRA, CMS, ACA, and all the rest.
Our leaders in Washington say they have the answer, just give them more time to ‘fix healthcare.’
Now you tell me who is the one who believes in fairy tales?