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My 21 year old son recently had a sinus surgery, in order to alleviate allergy symptoms and drainage issues that have plagued him since he was a small boy. The surgeon did a great job and the surgery was a great success. Zach is breathing better and hasn’t had a sinus infection since the procedure. He’s more comfortable all the time. He really breathes better now.

When the bill arrived for the surgical center, I was absolutely shocked.

The "rack rate" for the procedure (for which he checked in at 8 and was released from recovery at noon) was over $21,000. Followed by that number was "insurance write off" of over $21,000. the insurance company paid around $5.000 to the surgical center and we were billed just over $1,000 in co-pay.

The problem with the cost of medical care in this country is not the lawsuits brought by trial attorneys, it’s the billing and payment system created by the American Insurance industry and the dilemma faced by doctors and providers who are forced to strategize their invoicing in order to recover their costs of providing the services we all need.

Our family paid $1,000 for Zach’s procedure. (Of course we also pay the insurance company around $1,000 a month in premiums) But what about the family without insurance, the guy who is unemployed and has lost coverage? In our office we see people who have medical bills from accidents that ruin their credit. These bills can render the uninsured homeless and indigent.

Tort reform? Let’s start with health care reform.


  1. Gravatar for Michael Bennett

    A well stated post that effectively points out where much of the focus on reform should be. Anecdotally, Melissa mirrors what millions of Americans go through all of the time. It also echoes what the President is trying to do when he refers to "skewed incentives" that promote "quantity over quality". In these regards, the current system is hurting patients and physicians. Insurance reform must be at the center of new policy and the administration should not be diverted from this by the insurance industry's underwritten campaign for tort "reform".

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