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The sickness of our health care system - Ed Brock

I've been doing a lot of wrestling with our health care system lately and frankly the whole thing is making me sick.

Ironic, isn't it?

So I won't sound like too much of a whiner, I'll add that I'm not the only one in this predicament. But I'll begin with my personal grudge before providing other examples.

Last November during my wife's pregnancy our doctor referred us to a specialist to get some special tests done. In June we finally got the bill for that visit.

Of course, our one hour visit had cost more than $2,000, and the bill was for substantially more than what it should have been. The insurance was supposed to cover 80 percent and we would pay 20 percent, that was supposed to be the deal.

But something went wrong. The doctor and the insurance company had wrangled back and forth and, while the doctor claimed to be in network the insurance company disagreed. Thus, they paid only 60 percent, a difference of over $500 that would then come back on us.

They also slapped on a $200 deductible because they considered at least one charge to be "not customary or regular," or something like that.

Well, I've been going back and forth trying to sort this out and get the insurance company to pay what it should or to get the doctor to eat more of the bill because they didn't tell me they were out of network. And I have a serious headache from the whole thing.

Now here's another example of the evil of insurance companies. My wife's boss' wife has been in awful pain lately. She has a herniated disk, a malady that could have been diagnosed with another expensive test.

However, their insurance company insisted that this poor woman suffer unnecessarily for an extra week or two, despite her doctor telling them otherwise, so she could try to find some less expensive cure. That's our situation in this country.

Once upon a time I worked for a hospital and I saw the system from the inside. I saw the hospital writing off thousands of dollars for Medicaid patients. I also saw people rolling out of that place in wheelchairs with no jobs and no insurance but owning a brand new $20,000 bill.

There's something horribly wrong with this picture, people. Something must be done! This health care system is killing people!

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipal governments for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or at ebrock@news-daily.com .