David Jenkins: Congress should focus on healthcare costs

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Anyone that knows me knows I hate going to the doctor. Even if feeling possible death on the horizon I will often just tough it out and hope it goes away.

But as I age I feel I need to take a little better care of myself. So feeling some ear pain a couple months ago I decided it would be smart to visit a local healthcare facility. I was quickly diagnosed with an ear infection and sent on my way with a prescription for ear drops.

Fast forward to this week when I get a bill in the mail from the healthcare facility. I have insurance and what wasnít covered I owed and that is fine. The bill was for $85 and before I go any farther I will say Iím not complaining about the cost to me.

But as I looked closely at the bill, my doctorís visit cost over $300. I was in the building less than twenty minutes and all they did was weigh me, check my blood pressure and look in my ears. Itís not like Iím a precision automobile at the mechanic getting an oil leak fixed. My ear hurt.

As most everyone knows the surprising costs didnít stop there. When I went to the pharmacy to get my ear drops I had to pay $75 for what wasnít covered by my insurance. And then I pulled out a tiny vial of ear drops that could fit into a babyís hand. Really, thatís $75?

Unfortunately that is the country we live in. My dad passed away in January and he battled heart problems for over a year, going in and out of the hospital. Just to look at some of the numbers the healthcare facilities charged was outrageous. I felt like I was looking at the national debt.

And the cost of his medication was even more extraordinary. A month of pills over $1,000 and even after insurance they werenít that much cheaper.

I hear friends and family all the time talk about the high price of this medicine they have to take or how much it cost to go to the doctor to get treated when they had the flu. But at least we have our in-touch politicians working on it.

Oh wait, as is usually the case, politicians talk a good game but what are they really concerned with? Oh yeah, thatís right. They are all concerned with impeaching the President because of some dealings with the Ukraine.

I will tell you right now, I could care less about the Ukraine and what the President did or didnít say to them. I have a feeling a majority of the country feels the same way. Itís all about what politicians can do to discredit the other party and get re-elected. And for what? It doesnít matter what party is in control, nothing that really matters really changes.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle give great campaign speeches with grand ideas to lower healthcare costs and cost of pharmaceutical drugs. But they are just words, and we know this because the politicians can never agree on a plan and then focus on things that matter very little to the average American.

Itís almost enough to make my blood pressure spike, but Lord knows I donít want to see how much that doctor visit and medication would cost.

David Jenkins is co-editor of the Standard Democrat.

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