Monday, December 05, 2011

Possibly Unnecessary Health Care

Four months is probably younger than the ideal age for a child to contract chickenpox, if there is such a thing. We're ready to rerun to normalcy. Fortunately, Marla appears to be ready, too! We took her back to day care for the first time today. The rule is that the lesions have to be all "crusted over" (as opposed to be completely gone), which means they're not contagious anymore, which at a day care is kind of important. (Even if that's apparently how we got in this mess in the first place.)

So, now Marla's stronger for it, I suppose. But according to the doctor, they're still going to recommend she get the chickenpox vaccine in another year or so. Ummm...sure, precautionary measures, and so on. But is this a good example of why health care is so expensive these days? Here's a child who has already had chickenpox. Let's give her the chickenpox vaccine anyway! You know, just to be safe.

Another example: Marla had a bruise on her leg a while back, so we took her to the doctor. It was Friday, and the blood test results weren't ready by close of business, so the doctors recommended we take her to the emergency room. Multiple "tests" and about $500 later (Marla hasn't hit her deductible yet), everything turned out to be fine, of course. But was that ER visit really necessary? I don't think it was. But how could we possibly have said no to the doctor's recommendation? This isn't like your car mechanic telling you that you need to flush your transmission, even though you don't. You can always fix your car after the fact, or just buy a new one. It's a heck of a lot easier to say no to a car mechanic than to a doctor. (I do it all the time!)

Here's another personal example of unnecessary health care. My dentist noticed I had a freckle on my lip (which I've had pretty much as long as I can remember), and said, "That's a sensitive area, and you might want to have that looked at. Here, let me recommend a dermatologist." I can't say no, right? So I went to the dermatologist, they tested it, and of course, it was nothing. But that whole procedure wasn't free, you know. I'm still bitter about this. I have to wonder if the dentist and dermatologist have some kind of arrangement going on. "Hey, I'll recommend you to my patients if you recommend me to your patients."

Being a parent in the 21st century, this is a huge concern of mine: doctors recommending tests or procedures that aren't actually necessary, but that they know we can't possibly refuse because 1) we love our daughter, and 2) we don't know any better. How many thousands of dollars are we going to spend over the next 18 years (or more!) on health care that Marla doesn't actually need? Given that Marla's pediatrician and our hospital of choice all part of the same health network, how do we know we can trust our doctor and that there isn't a conflict of interest? I guess what I'm saying is, I have a hard time trusting health care providers.

Who would you trust more to handle your health care: a) private corporations, or b) the government? In general, conservatives choose option a), and liberals choose option b). But I'm a disenchanted moderate, so I choose option c): neither.

1 comment:

allen_t said...

When it comes to health it is better to err on the side of caution. Health is more important than anything else.