August 3, 2000
And I thought -I- made money for nothing!
I like my job. It pays fairly well, and I basically sit around and do what I enjoy doing all day: programming computers. I didn't think it could get any easier.
I was wrong.
See, I decided to quit smoking recently, so I went to my new physician to see about getting some nicotine patches. This dude has never seen me before, but this is a fairly benign visit.
The visit takes 15 minutes (aside from time spent waiting). I sit down, they take my blood pressure, listen to me breathing, and ask me a bunch of questions -- including some rather personal ones (just what does my sexual preference have to do with quitting smoking, anyway? Was the doctor looking for a date or something?). Then he writes up a little piece of paper and sends me on my way.
How much did he make for this little escapade?
He made two hundred and fifteen dollars - or at least, that's what I would pay if I didn't have any insurance. Even if you stretch my fifteen minute visit out to 30 minutes, that's $424 PER HOUR. The reality is twice that.
All that to get a piece of paper that says I can have nicotine patches so I can quit smoking.
Fortunately I have insurance, but those kinds of prices really make me wonder: how in God's name do the insurance companies (or even the government for that matter) let doctors get away with charging such outrageous rates? Blame it on malpractice suits all you want -- I just don't buy that argument.
I now understand why healthcare reform is such a big ticket item,but it shouldn't start with the insurance companies, it should start with the doctors. The insurance companies won't have a leg to stand on after that.
Published: August 3, 2000