A journalist observes life in the far north.
I am one of the 50 million Americans who lack health insurance. It’s been a year now. It will probably be another year before I work enough hours to merit the coverage available through my company. I made a choice, or should I say gamble, to work less and be home with my daughter. It’s worth it, but I’ve been relatively healthy. That is until now.
A few days ago, a rash developed on my chest. The rash has spread across my torso and onto the tops of my legs. It’s mildly itchy except at night when it’s terribly itchy.
I decided to try to diagnose the rash myself so I went on the Internet and looked at pictures of rashes. Mine looks like a mix between the rash characterized by scabies and the one characterized by meningitis.
So I decided to go to the free clinic, which isn’t free exactly. People are charged based on a sliding scale. The doctor was very nice but explained that he wasn’t able to test me for mites or a fatal disease. He didn’t know what has caused my rash. He asked me a lot of questions, he wrote a prescription for Floucinonide and he told me to call him in a couple of days. One of the stranger questions was whether I compulsively picked my nose.
Which brings me to the point of this post. I am perturbed that I had to pay for the consultation even though the doctor could not tell me what was wrong. If a car mechanic can’t tell me what’s wrong with my car, I don’t pay him. So why must I pay for an unproductive doctor’s appointment?
Maybe this is one of the things wrong with our health care system.