The new ‘e-ticket’ medical adventure

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BLITZ/Press Win Steiger practices family medicine part time in Lewiston. When he’s not working, he lives in Coeur d’Alene and pursues passions like photography and writing.

I was recently informed by a friend who resides in Los Angeles that he received his medical bill for a major surgery. He underwent quite an extensive cervical neck fusion for disc disease and spinal stenosis. A most threatening condition. His neurosurgeon was renowned and had an entire surgical team to assist him, both in surgery and beyond.

The medical bill from all of them came to $45,000. Every moment of treatment and contact was billed, in an a la carte fashion. It was done in this manner with the knowledge that so much would be discarded and written off by the insurance company, which we all know, calls the shots.

All but $7,000 was disallowed — for an intensive surgery, six days of total care, all overhead billing and medical insurances, and time served in grade. My friend paid a total of $900. But be careful if you smile in false triumph.

Medical reimbursement is so pathetic today, especially as the ground rules have been laid by politicians in the federal government, and then enforced by the insurance companies. They have only one interest in mind.

There is so much denial of services in the daily care of patients that it is now almost unrecognizable. You all must have experienced this by now, in your own health care. I refer to procedures, X-rays, medications and others. All initially voted upon by your “elected representatives” who are not required to follow the same rules that we all must abide by.

Never forget that they who control the health care of the country, control the country. We folk are only pawns on the chessboard. And things will become so much worse as those in charge attempt to put a government-controlled, single-payer system in place, called Socialized Medicine.

Get ready to say goodbye to so much needed medical talent. It is already happening. Enter stage left the concept of taking a ticket, and then the long wait to receive care, most often by someone you have never seen before. This instead of receiving right on care by your own doctor. Get ready for rationing.

Have you ever questioned why the government and insurance companies should make decisions that have always been made between the doctor and his or her patient?

Health care should be available to all. No doubt! But health insurance is an economic commodity, just the same as automobile and homeowners insurance. This must be understood. Nothing is free.

Get ready for a bumpy ride.

•••

Dr. Irwin Steiger is a Coeur d’Alene-based physician.

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