Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

High costs of medical care and $800 if a doctor simply picks up a phone.

   Members of the legal profession are reputed to gouge clients for fees. There is the joke about the lawyer who died, went to the hereafter, and was told he was overdue because, from his billing records, he was indicated as being nearly one thousand years old. A lawyer cannot bill for work not performed, however. A "retainer" must be billed against by the hour. Also, the methods of billing, be they by the tenth of an hour or a quarter of an hour, must be by some fraction. As an example, a lawyer who bills at $350 per hour who receives a telephone call would bill $35. That may sound outrageous, but it at least is tethered to performance of work.

   That is why I was somewhat upset when I heard there are medical physicians who bill, and are allowed to bill by the insurance company to which they are beholden, $800 for the mere act of picking up the telephone. Nothing more need be entailed. To pick up the telephone is the compensation---for what? There was no inidcation any advice need be given or work performed, although I am sure the $800 would cover something if necessary. But $800 is owed once the receiver is answered.

   That is the equivalent of the $600 toilet seats and $700 hammers purchased by the Penatgon and disclosed in the early 1980s. The Penatgon was not reigned in then. I doubt the docs will be reined in now.    

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