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sm62704's Journal: Ask Slashdot: Health Care 14

Journal by sm62704

I sent this to the Illinois Times yesterday, but I think I'll have more of a chance to get my questions answered here at slashdot.

Dear editor:
I had a detached retina, and subsequently had to suffer vitrectomy surgery. When it came time to go to the drug store to get a prescription for Vigamox filled, I called around to all the pharmacies to get the best price - drugs are expensive these days, and I'm not Donald Trump or Bill Gates.

Prices for the tiny three milliliter bottle of drops ranged from sixty two dollars at a little pharmacy in Auburn to over eighty dollars at County Market and Walgreens, the two closest to my home. I noticed the the big corporate pharmacies had the highest prices, and the high priced pharmacies made it a point to inform me that the price of the drug didn't matter since my insurance co-pay was the same no matter where I bought this drug.

In the end I bought it at Walgreens, the closest drug store to my home. Gasoline isn't cheap either.

I'd like to ask those who parrot that the free market solves our health care problems three questions: First, how does the free market apply when my price is the same no matter what? Where is my incentive to find the best bargain?

Second, if the so-called "free market" in health care is so great, why do Americans pay more per capita for health care than any other country, while being nowhere near the best when it comes to longevity and infant mortality?

Third, why should the insurance industry have anything whatever to do with health care? They seem to be the single thing that's wrong with our health care system!

They'll probably run it, they usually do print letters I write there. I'll edit this to link the edited version if they do.

I'll have a "real" mcgrew journal shortly, please be patient. The doctor says I don't have to keep my head down any more! Yippee! Of course it will be about getting strapped to a gurney with my head bolted down and needles stuck in my eye.

UPDATE: 4/24/8
The IT printed the letter. Look for HEALTH CARE AND THE "FREE" MARKET about halfway down the page.

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Ask Slashdot: Health Care

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  • America pays more because they receive better individual care. America also subsidizes a lot of health care research for the rest of the world unintentionally.

    The "best" health care has little to do with infant mortality rates, or life span. Did you pick your optician based on their infant mortality rate? A lot of health care cost in the US is due to the way insurance is setup, and it's lots of little decisions like paying more for drugs because your co-pay is the same. I'm sure if you were picking up the t
    • by JDWTopGuy (209256)
      That's an interesting point about Canadian health care. I've heard the stories about how bad English health care is (the rich wind up getting procedures done by private physicians and paying a lot for it - but as you mentioned, it's their BMW), but not necessarily Canada.

      Anyway, to McGrew: glad to see a new journal, I was beginning to wonder what happened.

      And finally, in reply to the journal: First, please let me know if I'm wrong, but you aren't currently collecting social security or medicare are you? I d
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        Anyway, to McGrew: glad to see a new journal, I was beginning to wonder what happened.

        I had a vitrectomy two weeks ago this coming Thursday, and was only allowed ten minutes an hour with my head up. I saw the Dr. yesterday, and now I don't have to hold my head down any more. So there's another new journal up titled Vitrectomy [slashdot.org].

        you aren't currently collecting social security or medicare are you?

        No, I still work. I have pretty good insurance; or thought I did until I had to pay $44 on a $67 bottle of pills you
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      America also subsidizes a lot of health care research for the rest of the world unintentionally.

      Well, we need to stop doing that! My copay on the Vigamox drops was $22. Retail in Canada is $25. Somebody's pocket's getting picked, and I think it's mine!

      Did you pick your optician based on their infant mortality rate?

      I picked him based on another optician's reccomendation. How is one to know how good any given doctor is?

      I had the displeasure of having dinner with mey ex-wife in March on my youngest daughter's
    • by UdoKeir (239957)
      That's an awful lot of anecdotes.

      In my experience the UK National Health Service is easily on a par with US private medicine. It's a hell of a lot more efficient as well. I have to vet every single document I get from my health insurer because the healthcare providers are continually making mistakes/attempting fraud. Add to that the fact that it takes way longer to get an appointment here, just to see a GP, than it ever did in the UK. The GP in the UK didn't bullshit me by sticking me in a room for 45 minut
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        You're right about waits in the office here. When I first went to the Prarie Eye Center I was amazed, it was the first health care facility I'd ever been in that got to my appointment at the appointed time, and in some cases if I got there early even got in early! The only waits there have been at Dr Odin's office, and even then the only wait is for the dialation eyedrops to take affect.

        I've seen (and responded to) a few remarks in this thread about "quality of care" but nobody has backed any of it up in an
  • First, how does the free market apply when my price is the same no matter what? Where is my incentive to find the best bargain?

    Stay tuned. A lot of health insurance is going the way of high-deductible plans. Soon, that money WILL be coming out of your pocket.

    Also, it seems as though some health insurers have noticed this little "discrepancy" as well and have opened their own pharmacies. For my health plan, I get lower copay if I use my insurer's pharmacy (and I don't have to drive to the next town to get that lower price, either). They must be saving a ton of money, because they give free overnight shipping.

    Second, if the so-called "free market" in health care is so great, why do Americans pay more per capita for health care than any other country, while being nowhere near the best when it comes to longevity and infant mortality?

    Someone else has m

    • by sm62704 (957197)
      assuming travel to some other country would not jeopardize your health, where on the planet Earth would you prefer to get that procedure done?

      You assume I could afford travel to another country, let alone travel to another country and pay for an expensive medical procedure. It's pretty much a moot point for me, I work for a living.

      Over-reliance on expensive doctors when a nurse practitioner would be perfectly capable of solving the issue.

      You get no argument from me there.

      Over-reliance on new medicines when
      • You assume I could afford travel to another country, let alone travel to another country and pay for an expensive medical procedure. It's pretty much a moot point for me, I work for a living.

        Well, as you probably remember, we were talking about quality of care, not cost of care. So let's just concentrate on that, shall we?

        Assuming no difference in out of pocket expense to you, and assuming the travel would not jeopardize your health, would you rather have a complex medical procedure done in the US, or somewhere else? If so, where? And why?

        • by sm62704 (957197)
          Well, as you probably remember, we were talking about quality of care, not cost of care. So let's just concentrate on that, shall we?

          The subject is "best", not "most quality". If I can't afford a Porche, a Porche is not the best car.

          "Assuming no difference in out of pocket expense to you" is as meaningless as "assuming pigs could fly".
          • "Assuming no difference in out of pocket expense to you" is as meaningless as "assuming pigs could fly".

            What kind of ridiculous statement is that? First, you use infant mortality rate and life expectancy as proxies for "quality of care" and then you won't answer my simple question because of monetary concerns? You can't have it both ways, sm62704.

            Methinks the reason you don't want to answer my question is because the answer is that you'd rather have that complex medical procedure performed in the US. Don't be ashamed; you'd be right to prefer to be treated here because our medical system is the best in th

            • by sm62704 (957197)
              The answer is I really don't know. I'd probably get treated here just to keep from traveling, as I really have no idea what kind of doctors they have in other countries. I do know that most of the doctors here in town seem to be foreigners, so I can't see how the ones in the countries they're from would be any worse.

              I do know that most people I know personally don't have any health care at all. Take my taxi-driving friend Amy, for example. She avoids doctors because taxi drivers are dirt poor and the taxi c
  • Is it the fault of the health care system that longevity isn't as long as in other countries, or could it be those supersized meals?
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      IFAIK they have McDonalds the world over now. The Japanese live longer than anyone, but smoke more cigarettes per capita than anyone IINM.

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