I've always believed the information and firsthand experiences many subscribers offer can be at least (often more so) as relevant to others as my own thoughts. That's why I share them from time to time.
For instance, here's a lightly edited letter from a reader and physician named Jordan who felt moved to provide his perspective.
"Dear Mike--I am a retired neurosurgeon who practiced for over 42 years. I enjoyed your article [on health-care costs] and you and your friend David covered most of the main points, but also need clarification.
"I totally agree with you about insurance companies. The better alternative is medical savings accounts, but it is very difficult to get young people to start this and they are pressured to turn immediately to insurance. I even tried to get my employees to do it and they would not.
"As for procedures, there are two prices: One is for the insurance company who will pay what they want to regardless of the charge. But health-care providers want to be sure to get as much as they can. The other is the cash price, which can often be negotiated ahead of the procedure, especially for the outpatient cases.
"The even greater issue, which again you alluded to, is the lawyers. Frankly, they have altered the entire landscape of medical practice. Doctors are always running scared and practice 'defensive medicine.' They are so afraid of missing something that they order more procedures, tests, and laboratory tests than would otherwise be prudent. This is especially true in emergency rooms.
"Did you and David come up with any numbers regarding the cost of medical education? A regular doctor can expect to come out with student loan and other debt of $250,000. A specialist such as a neurosurgeon or cardiac surgeon can wind up with twice that!
"At the end of the education (which in my case was 15 years after college) they often face the cost of moving, buying a house, opening an office, hiring staff, buying equipment, etc. And they still have yet to make a penny!
"Furthermore, remuneration has been cut severely. Medicare pays less than 20 percent of the usual and customary charges published by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Medicaid, Tricare, and Obamacare were even less, sometimes as little as 17 percent of the amount billed.
"Try getting your attorney, or even plumber or electrician to accept 17 percent of their bill and like it! Medicine is not a good way to make a living. It is a calling, somewhat like being a priest or monk. It requires workweeks of up to 100 hours, kills family life, and marriages. I discouraged my children from even considering it."
Seen Angela's dress?
Angela Palladino of Rogers has been a sad lady ever since her husband inadvertently donated her wedding dress to Goodwill along with other clothing items. It was bad enough he'd somehow lost his wedding ring while vacationing in Santa Fe, N.M., two weeks earlier. But now the dress?
That kinda honest mistake could take a lot of flowers, a romantic dinner and perhaps a human-sized stuffy from the county fair to salve that much anxiety and sorrow, especially after only a year of marriage.
To his credit, hubby did send flowers and professed profound regrets, which helped.
Palladino, employed by Wal-Mart's office of corporate affairs, did all she could to try and find her dress, including an unproductive visit to Goodwill. She tried Facebook. But it was all for naught. The fashionable size 6 to 8 ivory gown with a sweetheart neck and beading still hangs in another's closet.
She's hoping an empathetic reader will be the one who made the purchase and would kindly allow Angela to buy it back. While I've never owned or worn a wedding gown, I can strangely understand Angela's angst.
If you are that Goodwill buyer, or know who is, please pass the story along in hopes of resolving this drama and making life better for the Palladinos.
On second thought, I'm thinking at least three romantic dinners and a visit to Destin might be required to satisfy proper amends. We guys sure do unintentionally and with good intentions get ourselves into the darnedest messes.
Rush to exonerate
The nonprofit "Freedom Watch" credits Townhall.com in reporting that U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Charles Grassley revealed the nature of gross political influence within our criminal justice system.
"According to new transcripts released by the Senate Judiciary Committee ... former FBI Director James Comey made the decision not to refer then Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for prosecution long before ever interviewing key witnesses. Members of the committee allege Comey made the decision months before FBI agents were finished with the criminal investigation into her mishandling of classified information during her time as secretary of state."
Comey's inappropriate investigator/prosecutor and decider role in this to me bore the stench of potential political contamination from its early days though his tortured reasoning that exonerated Clinton of criminal wrongdoing.
Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at email@example.com.
Editorial on 09/10/2017
Print Headline: Doc's perspective