Affordable Health Care? Seriously, Dude.

Last week I disproved some arguments made by commentator Bill Whittle as to why health care costs are so high.

I don’t mean to keep picking on our Virtual President, but I have to point out another misunderstanding about health care that he shares with most other Americans.

In his speech, Mr. Whittle advises that we need the free market to help everyone who “genuinely could not afford health care today.”

While I agree that the free market is the answer to virtually all our health care woes, I couldn’t more strongly disagree with the notion that health care is unaffordable.

I understand where this perception comes from. As I’ve said before, health care is outrageously overpriced. Add in the fact that we are constantly reminded about the “rising costs” and before you know it, everyone believes the myth that health care is, in itself, expensive.

But it doesn’t have to be. I can prove it.

How much do you think it costs for an antibiotic injection? $100, $200, or even $500?

It’s true that you could end up being charged any one of those amounts, if you purchase an injection the traditional way by having it filed on your insurance policy.

But that’s not how much the antibiotic injection costs. Not by a long…shot.

In my clinic I offer a couple of different antibiotics, depending on what I am treating. One of them costs me less than two dollars per dose; but clindamycin, the most expensive, runs $2.27. Throw in another 30 cents or so for a syringe, needle, alcohol wipe, and Band-Aid, and my cost per injection averages about $2.50.

Yet even though I charge my patients $35 for an injection of antibiotics, my prices are still – by far – the best in town.

The transaction is a win-win for both sides: I’m happy because by charging as low as $35 per shot I get what would be an award-winning profit by any business school’s standard. My patients are happy because even though they are paying $35 a shot, they are still getting affordable health care.

And if I can do it, then every other health care provider can, too. The difference is that I don’t file health insurance claims.

I have several reasons why:

  • I would need to hire extra staff to handle the paperwork,
  • I would be forced to wait days, weeks, or even months to be paid, and
  • health insurance was never meant to pay for a doctor’s visit or antibiotic injection.

But most of all, I choose to run my clinic on those time-honored tenets of American Free Enterprise: offer reasonable prices, along with good customer service, and your business will thrive.

Now, Mr. Virtual President, what were you saying about not being able to afford health care?

 

It’s not the COSTS of health care that are outrageous…it’s the CHARGES.

Physician. Health Insurance Agent. Author. Health care humorist. Medical satirist. Disruptor. At your service. My name is Kevin Wacasey, and I’ve been practicing medicine since 1994. When I graduated from medical school, I took an oath to do no harm to my patients. To me, that includes financial harm. But since health insurance took over health care over 40 years ago, health care prices have skyrocketed. And despite what we’re told by the media every day, it isn’t the costs of health care that are outrageous; it’s the charges. So if you’ve ever wondered why we spend so much on health insurance and health care, then come along and join me as I explore the crazy world of Healthcareonomics. Health care doesn’t have to be expensive. Let me show you how. For speaking opportunities and to pass along your questions/comments, please email me at drw@healthcareonomics.com.

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