I Wouldn’t Care for This Health Care, No!

Get with the program, health-care providers of America,
and get a clue about the prices you ascribe to your services. While you’re at
it, we wouldn’t mind if you went so far as to tell us the costs upfront. Yes,
yes; I know the industry if rife with corruption–er, negotiated discounts–and, in fact,
the prices are subject to much (much!) change. But here’s the thing: Very many
of your customers are paying out of pocket nowadays.

For example, me! At this morning’s 8:20 a.m. dental
appointment (I’d saved enough dough in my HSA), I stumbled into a
hundred-dollar situation: Apparently, they’ve got these five-year, full-facial
X-rays for which they insert a progression of plastic doodads and snap a
dozen-odd pics all around your face.

"What’s different here?" I asked the hygienist on the fifth or sixth take. I get an
X-Ray every year or so (I know these run me an extra thirty bucks), but I didn’t
recall it ever being so elaborate before. It was at this point that,
finally, I learned I was getting the Cadillac five-year, full-facial X-Ray and,
even better yet, the hygienist assured me: "The insurance company treats them
just like panoramic X-rays."

"I don’t have dental insurance," I uttered icily–or as icy
as I could be with a damned bite-guard in my mouth. I mean, who has dental
insurance anymore? That’s, like, so-oo passé.

I won’t bore you with the details of my temper tantrum, but I
will say this: I’ve got decent chompers and would’ve passed on the hundred-dollar-plus
X-Ray had I known about it upfront. This is akin to the time I took my junker Volkswagen
for an oil change, only to learn, upon picking it up later in the day, that
they’d replaced the $800 timing belt while they were at it, too. What gives?