I went to the doctor today, and it felt like buying a used car.

by michaelfoster550011

I try to keep this blog impersonal, but a personal experience is making me break that rule.

I went to the doctor today, and it felt like buying a used car.

I lived in Asia and Europe for over a decade before coming back to America. I’d never gone to a doctor alone as an adult, and I’d never gone as an uninsured single payer. Being price conscious, I wanted to ensure I received just the medical care I need, nothing more.

I fear this is almost impossible in modern-day America.

First, I had to go through four doctors’ offices to find one that was accepting new patients. Then I was told I had to apply by providing some personal details and my medical history. I was told the doctor was too busy to take a new patient, but the resident LPN would see me.

See me she did, and almost immediately upon taking my medical history insisted on several lab tests as well as the need for an annual physical including EKG, as well as more frequent check-ups. She also said I would have to come in annually or the doctor would not accept me on his patient roster.

I tried to get the appointment because my family has a history of thyroid problems. I’m in great health; last year I had a physical in another country, and the doctor said I had normal cholesterol, blood pressure, and so on. My thyroid was fine too, but because of the family history, I still want to get an annual checkup.

No, that wasn’t good enough.

I’ll spare the details, but the nurse insisted on more tests, follow-up visits for the test, and annual checkups at the very least. When I protested citing cost, she adamantly said, “I get paid the same no matter how often you come. It doesn’t matter to me–I’m not trying to get money out of you.”

Well, her pay is indeed indirectly dependent upon revenue from patient visits, and I’m unsure how good the margins are on self-pay patients relative to the insured. It’s largely irrelevant, though; the pressing medical need is for a thyroid check.

Ultimately she refused to give me a prescription for just a thyroid checkup. Despite a normal BMI and no family history, I was to get cholesterol levels checked, as well as tests on iron levels, diabetes, and a few other tests.

I’m going to another doctor–preferable an immigrant to America who finds America’s broken medical care system as alien as I do.

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