What does a visit to the doctor cost? The answer can vary greatly depending on who is paying for the visit. Read Notable Number 4 in this week’s Weekly Market Review closely. If you have turned 65, gone on Medicare, and then had to find a new doctor, now you know why.
In an environment where the printing presses are running hot to rescue our economy from financial hardship brought on by this pandemic, the days of the famous $435 hammer come to mind. Google $435 hammer if you aren’t sure what I’m referring to. In the government’s defense, as a payer of a doctor visit, they are paying much less than a private payer or insurance company. I’m not sure if this is the government being frugal, not paying enough, or if private payers have that many layers or that much profit in the transaction. Likely, all these elements construct the vast difference in cost.
I’m not trying to point fingers at doctors and insurance companies or make any sort of political accusations, but when so much money is changing hands so quickly I do wonder about the level of accountability. My point is that pricing models and cost should be fair and reasonable in all industries including healthcare. The doctor, the maker of the hammer, and the retailer of the hammer should all be able to have reasonable margins and we as consumers and tax payers should expect a reasonable cost. In any case, costs aren’t always reasonable or affordable for everyone and both the healthcare industry and the government have become littered with layers upon layers creating a complicated bureaucracy and at times a $435 hammer.
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As always, we hope you find the Weekly Market Review both informative and interesting.
Trevor N. Coe, CFP®