Is compensation policy for health care fair?

In 2007 my family needed the service of a plumber. The charge for 90 minutes was $367. In 2008 my husband visited our doctor’s office. The charge for 50 minutes was $148. Two follow-up telephone calls were at no charge.

In 2009 we called on an electrician to install three ceiling fans purchased previously. The charge for 60 minutes was $228.

All three professionals have the usual overhead: education and training, license, rent, tools of the trade, peripheral staff, insurance, postage, etc. In the doctor’s case at least two additional professionals were involved: a nurse to check his vital signs and another to draw blood. It is wonderful to have people of expertise available and I am thankful to have income sufficient to pay their bills.

Unfortunately, Medicare approved only $83.75 of the doctor’s bill. Health Care Reform will reduce that amount in the future. Feeling this was inadequate compensation for services provided, I asked if I could write a check for $64.25 to make up the difference and was told it was not permitted. Is this just?

Pat Hoffman


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