Must Read: Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

A new cover article from Time “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us” is getting a lot of press. The author takes a step back and asks the obvious question everyone else has forgotten to ask for the last 30 years or so. Why the H#** is medical care so expensive? Why does 3 minutes with my kids Dr. cost $300? Why does an MRI on an 8 year old machine cost a few thousand bucks? The answer is…the medical industry as a whole has conspired to screw us all over…getting rich in exchange for the false promise of immortality. They use our ignorance, and their “expertise” to their advantage at every step of the way, and have fully used and abused our broken government to push through a myriad of laws that assist them in screwing us over.
I think this piece very important because it changes the direction of the conversation. For decades, insurance companies have been the bad guys…and the noble Doctors played the hero. But that’s BS. Do you think Dr Mc Dreamy wants to make $1000 for that hip replacement, or $200,000? He’s got a BMW to pay for, a couple mistresses, and a vacation home in Aspen to pay for so you know damn well what side of the fence he’s on.
And now it’s time for a personal story. A few years ago, I went to see a specialist about my hand…I had a tingling sensation in my pinky that wouldn’t go away, and Web MD convinced me that I was probably about to have a massive heart attack. It took this specialist about 1.5 minutes to correctly diagnose me with some kind of nerve irritation. Not to worry he said…He could do a surgery to fix me up…all he needed was $30k, and something about a shark with a laser on its head. Uhh…. really? For the record…for $30k, I would literally sell you my pinky, but that’s another conversation for another day.
The next step was an appointment with an electro shock therapist. For $2k, I sat in a chair while a university of phoenix grad stabbed me in my arm and hand and then shocked me. Like 20 times. The whole thing was recorded on a prehistoric looking machine that looked like it was pulled out of the hatch on Lost. Then…the real Dr. /specialist guy came in, turned up the juice on the shockinator 1.0, and gets me a few more times. Three minutes later, I’m paying my $30 copay and thinking that maybe waterboarding is torture after all.
Next up, a follow up with the specialist who sent me to get tortured tested in the first place. After a nice long wait, I get ushered into a lavish exam room. He takes a look at my hand, asks me how it feels, and promptly recommends that I get some electro shock therapy to confirm that his surgery will cure my pinky. I quickly reminded him that I just had that done and am only here to get my test results. (I am thinking I nailed it) After looking confused for a minute, he opens an envelope, flips to the back of the report, and gives me the good news…my  nerves are fine(except for that new facial twitch)…and I should just make an appointment….he’ll be happy to see me every  month indefinitely until electro shock therapy damages my nerves enough that the insurance company will pay for his surgery fees.
Three minutes later, I’m in my car thinking about what a friggin racket this guy is running. All in, I’m only out like $90 for three copay’s, but my insurance company gets billed like $500 for each visit and his buddy at the torture clinic got a few thousand for my “treatment” If he can talk me and another guy with a tingly pinky to swing by every month for a 3 minute checkup, he’s got enough to cover his BMW payment and a couple dates at Chili’s with his mistress.  Short story long…I never went back, and while still for sale, my pinky feels fine…I just needed to stop exposing it to electro shock therapy.
Back to the Time story..I recommend reading the whole thing…and it is long..if you want to understand some of the true problems with our medical system.  This topic has huge deficit implications with medicare/Medicaid outlays expected to grow exponentially over the coming decades as the Boomers all retire and get in line for their free hips, knees, and electroshock therapy….for which Dr. McDreamy would be more than happy to provide…for the right price.