Monday, April 28, 2008

Part of the Health Care Problem

Today I went to a doctors office to have them checked out my sprained ankle . While I was talking to the physical therapist, her assistant came in to ask what type of brace I should be charged for. The Therapist explained I would be trying two braces to see which I liked better. The assistant's response "Just tell me which one you want to charge him for and then he can try them on."

The fact that she just didn't understand why the bill should match reality is a sign of the problem. Medical care costs are arbitrary, because neither the patient nor the provider really understand the cost of what is being done. The patient rarely sees an itemized cost, and understands no more than their co-pay. The provider has no motivation and sometimes no ability to correctly charge for the service. And like this assistant, they might just be trying to rush through their paper work at the end of the day.

Before thinking all is wrong with the world. Check out this 2006 Larry Brilliant TEDtalk on the eradication of smallpox.
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