Political Nutz

Observations on the pathetic state of American politics

Consumer Choice in Health Care?

In so many discussions about how to control health care costs –be they on the Democrat or Republican side– I repeatedly see this notion that if consumers have to pay costs themselves, they will be more selective about the medical procedures they decide to have.  I’m sorry; I don’t get it.  I’m trusting my doctor with his years of training and experience to figure that out for me.  I’ve been to the doctor’s office hundreds of times and visited the emergency room scores of times.  I’ve undergone surgeries and been to the dentist 2-3 times a year for as long as I can remember.

I can’t recall even one time I’ve asked a physician for an extra injection in my spine or begged the dentist for just one more root canal.  After I broke an ankle playing basketball it didn’t occur to me to suggest that it might be cheaper to just let it heel on its own without a cast.  When a routine physical exam revealed that I might have cancer I didn’t say “please don’t do the necessary tests to find out for certain.”  And I didn’t think the subsequent tests and treatment, though expensive, were a waste of money. 

I mean medicine isn’t like home maintenance where you can do it yourself and the worst that can happen might me a crooked wall, a blown circuit or a leaky faucet.

Sure, physicians might be doing all kinds of extra things by way of defensive medicine. But that’s a different question and not part of this argument.

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