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Tue Oct 2, 2012, 03:08 AM

Doctor Visits Dropping, New Census Figures Show

Source: NYT

Americans of working age are going to the doctor less frequently than they were 10 years ago, according to a new report by the Census Bureau.

In 2010, people age 18 to 64 made an average of 3.9 visits to doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, down from 4.8 visits in 2001, said the report, which was released on Monday.

The precise reasons for the decline were unclear, said Brett O’Hara, an official at the Census Bureau and a co-author of the report. But the changing demographics of the American population most likely had something to do with it.

As baby boomers retire, for example, they leave a working-age population that is on average younger and that tends to use less health care. Still, that is likely to be only a small part of the explanation, as the baby boomers began to move into retirement only at the end of the report’s period, about two years ago.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/health/doctor-visits-drop-census-finds.html

56 replies, 6648 views

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Arrow 56 replies Author Time Post
Reply Doctor Visits Dropping, New Census Figures Show (Original post)
alp227 Oct 2012 OP
msongs Oct 2012 #1
bossy22 Oct 2012 #8
HuckleB Oct 2012 #27
Le Taz Hot Oct 2012 #2
HuckleB Oct 2012 #28
2pooped2pop Oct 2012 #35
HuckleB Oct 2012 #40
Freddie Oct 2012 #52
raccoon Oct 2012 #38
fasttense Oct 2012 #3
closeupready Oct 2012 #18
Mojorabbit Oct 2012 #20
dixiegrrrrl Oct 2012 #22
HuckleB Oct 2012 #23
bucolic_frolic Oct 2012 #4
customerserviceguy Oct 2012 #5
MindPilot Oct 2012 #11
bemildred Oct 2012 #19
HuckleB Oct 2012 #24
closeupready Oct 2012 #41
RebelOne Oct 2012 #42
azurnoir Oct 2012 #48
no_hypocrisy Oct 2012 #6
greymattermom Oct 2012 #7
spinbaby Oct 2012 #9
OldDem2012 Oct 2012 #15
closeupready Oct 2012 #17
tjdee Oct 2012 #10
jsr Oct 2012 #12
bedazzled Oct 2012 #55
bemildred Oct 2012 #13
RebelOne Oct 2012 #43
bemildred Oct 2012 #45
bemildred Oct 2012 #14
HuckleB Oct 2012 #25
bemildred Oct 2012 #29
HuckleB Oct 2012 #32
bemildred Oct 2012 #33
closeupready Oct 2012 #16
uppityperson Oct 2012 #21
HuckleB Oct 2012 #26
QED Oct 2012 #30
wordpix Oct 2012 #31
Paula Sims Oct 2012 #34
HuckleB Oct 2012 #47
spotbird Oct 2012 #50
HuckleB Oct 2012 #51
kestrel91316 Oct 2012 #36
Third Doctor Oct 2012 #37
Shitty Mitty Oct 2012 #54
crim son Oct 2012 #39
marlakay Oct 2012 #44
eilen Oct 2012 #46
woo me with science Oct 2012 #49
Shitty Mitty Oct 2012 #53
jsr Oct 2012 #56

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 03:28 AM

1. doctors are getting more greedy? dentists are for sure nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 08:46 AM

8. greedy?

you sir, need to do some research. Doctor salaries have pretty much stagnated over the last few years. I can tell you that most of my dentist friends tell me that they are being "killed" with increases in raw material prices- especially for such things as crowns and implants.

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Response to bossy22 (Reply #8)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:52 AM

27. Yes, and insurance covers crap for dental work.

Thus, many people are going without.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 04:57 AM

2. Or . . .

how about more people are uninsured and can't afford to go to a doctor? Ya think?

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:52 AM

28. And those who are insured have to pay a lot more than they used to pay.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #28)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:32 PM

35. yep, I'm out a hundred bucks per visit

and that is with my insurance. Can't afford to go unless I need treatment badly.

And doctors are trying to make up the loss by finding things to charge the patients extra for. My last visit, my doctor charged me 300 dollars because I had a pap and asked a unrelated question. He charged me for two office visits. I called to complain and they just said they can do that.

Charged for a urine test that I did not do. Also wanted to set up an appointment just for my diabetes meds, tests etc, even though he had already ordered those test in the last few visits I had with him.

I left the doctor. I really really think he was treating me differently because of Obama. No shit. We talked about it. One day he stormed out of the room saying Obama was going to take his guns. And that "everything was Obama's fault."

Now, this is a man who I loved as my doctor. I was very reluctant to give him up. But a doctor can be that blind and stupid? And then overcharge me? I never paid the double visit.

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Response to 2pooped2pop (Reply #35)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 02:25 PM

40. It definitely sounds like you needed to move to a new doc.

The double office visit charge etc... seem like he was not being ethical.

I hope you've found a good one.

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Response to 2pooped2pop (Reply #35)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 06:05 PM

52. New "surprise" charges

Must be the latest rage
My brother's doctor group got bought out by a local hospital and they tried to charge him a $300 "facility fee" (not covered by insurance of course) when he had some tests run. He objected and they reversed the charge (this time) but he's looking for another doctor.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 01:14 PM

38. Ding, Ding, we have a winner! nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 05:06 AM

3. Doctors and dentists are pricing themselves above the average workers

ability to pay.

They are just too damn expensive to visit unless you have a very serious issue.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 10:47 AM

18. The dentist I saw about 10 years ago called asking me if I wanted

to come in for a check-up, since "it's been so long since we saw you last."

He's a good dentist, but I simply can't do it right now, as I know it would be halaciously expensive to fix various things I need to have done. I'm even considering going abroad for dental treatment.

I don't think I've EVER been cold-called by a dentist or MD before - well, not quite a cold call, but a business outreach/marketing type of appeal.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:10 AM

20. My hubby is a family practice doc

and we have a solo practice. Overhead is more expensive every year. We pay a good salary to our employees and try to keep prices down. He sees a lot of people for free. I wish we had medicare for all. It would save everyone a lot of money.

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Response to Mojorabbit (Reply #20)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:33 AM

22. My doc claims "Obamacare" is killing her practice

and last week she was almost shaking with anger when she said how much she dreads him winning the election..she actually said " He HATES America".
Other than her right wing Fox brain leakage, she is a very good dr.
and
one of the few women docs in the area.

I had to stifle a grin during her rant since I am one of her many many Medicare patients.









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Response to fasttense (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:45 AM

23. Actually, they're not.

The US just has crap insurance.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 06:52 AM

4. People are self-medicating with better results

It takes a serious issue for me to see a doctor.

Lyme disease? Antibiotics online. People are
horrified by bird biotics, but inside the bottle the
color, label, brand were the same for me. At half
the price with no doctor visit.

Cough or cold? Homeopathic medicines.

Doctors have been nothing but disappointing for me.
Sometimes it's like a con job.
Standard care, which is only a very very likely cause
for your illness, is ruining medical care. You could have
something else, but it will take them months or years to
figure it out if it's not what's "normal".

Heaven forbid you have a doctor-induced illness. No
doctor will touch the issue. They'll stick with standard
care even if it makes you sicker.

Doctors only practice in-depth medicine when you're a new
patient. After than you're on maintenance.

Much of their expertise comes from Pharma reps pushing the
latest meds to pad the bottom line of the pharms.

Medicine that cost me $30 in 1991 is now available OTC
in the local dollar store.

Many meds available online from overseas.

Vegetables are the best medicine. In quantity.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 07:23 AM

5. Good point

You can find reliable medical information online that it would have taken hours of digging at a library to obtain. The information revolution is bound to affect every area of our lifestyle, why wouldn't the number of physician visits be among them, especially as access gets harder to come by for a variety of reasons?

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:03 AM

11. I agree with you.

Doctors are great if you have something visibly broken or leaking, but after that they are a one trick pony; eat less, exercise more and somehow eschewing any activity that feels good will make you live forever.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 10:50 AM

19. Exactly. nt

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:47 AM

24. Wow!

You diagnosed yourself with Lyme disease? Uh, really?

Homeopathy is water. It is worthless.

And your bit about Pharma reps is completely ignorant of reality.

You have the right to choose to put yourself at risk, but don't pretend you're not doing it.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #24)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 02:50 PM

41. LOL

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 02:52 PM

42. I order my blood pressure meds from Canadian pharmacies.

My doctor wanted me to go into his office every few months for a checkup while I was taking the blood pressure meds he prescribed, otherwise, I could not get my a refill. So i found that I could buy the same thing from Canads at a fraction of the price.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 04:55 PM

48. I'll take that one step further

I've had matching lot numbers between antibiotics obtained via a pharmacy with prescription and bird biotics purchased on the net

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Response to alp227 (Original post)


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 08:28 AM

7. drugstore nurses

can give you medicine for a lot or routine things. I wonder if they counted those visits?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 08:54 AM

9. Costs more to go to the doctor

Ten years ago, our insurance covered 100% of a doctor's visit. Now it costs $30, so we're more likely to try to wait out problems or postpone routine visits. I think we're pretty typical.

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Response to spinbaby (Reply #9)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 10:15 AM

15. Yep...people have a lot less disposable income....

...because they're earning a lot less, and health care costs continue to rise.

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Response to spinbaby (Reply #9)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 10:43 AM

17. Yes, that's mostly why, IMO.

Posted the same thing below, before I read your post.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 08:57 AM

10. Dr. Google and pharmacist Amazon makes doctors obsolete in some cases.

Doctors HATE people googling their symptoms and self-medicating. I am trained as a nurse, and in some cases I agree that people are playing roulette diagnosing and treating themselves.

That said, I have no interest in going to a doctor or a dentist unless I need the equipment or prescription medication that only they can provide. There are natural remedies and alternative treatments that can work as well on a number of ailments, for much less money. Sometimes those treatments work better with fewer side effects too.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:20 AM

12. Because they can't afford to ask their doctor about the new fancy drugs on TV

that the drug companies want to try out on them.

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Response to jsr (Reply #12)

Wed Oct 3, 2012, 06:38 AM

55. and then pay $700 a month for the medicine with the expensive commercials

i love the way you used to be able to buy Guaifenesin for $4.00, store brand. now mucinex
has cute commercials and costs $16.00 and it's hard to find store brand.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:48 AM

13. Maybe sitting there for hours, then getting a couple minutes of time and a bill for hundreds has

something to do with it.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #13)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 02:55 PM

43. That is one of reasons I do not go to the doctor.

I sit in the waiting room for a half hour, and once I get into to see him, it takes at least 1/2 hour before he will see me.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #43)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 03:07 PM

45. I had a 10:00 for a full physical.

New patient, looking for a PCP and I had superb insurance. This was in 1998. Last time I went to an MD for a "checkup".

He saw me at 12:15, no apology, I got 10 minutes, blood tests, 3 prescriptions for maintainance drugs I was unwiliing to take (cholesterol, BP, asthma), and instructions to come back in a month to see how they were doing. (I'm 67 now, my BP runs 130/75, heartrate ~60. I use albuterol about twice a year for asthma.)

Needless to say, I never went back.

I've seen physicians 3 times since then, for specific aliments, and got good service for my money.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:50 AM

14. Also, health care people are knowledge workers, so vulnerable to the internet.

Except for physical interventions like surgery.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #14)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:49 AM

25. The Internet does not replace a physician.

Not even close. The amount of actual education needed to understand is well beyond the Internet, which also fosters who scams on people. The Internet is very dangerous place to get health information.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #25)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:00 PM

29. But people are doing that all the same.

Which is what the OP is about, and which i was offering an explanation for.

I was not, to be clear, suggesting that the internet is a substitute for a MD anymore than it is a substitute for a JD. However the internet has hit lawyers too, people download the forms and do it themselves. And accountants, and tax people, and car dealers, and mechanics, and so on. I think it's already messing with our disfunctional education system too.

Edit: and yes, homeopathy is crap.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #29)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:11 PM

32. One really can't compare law to medicine.

Anyone who has even begun to study physiology etc... and then looked at the reality of differential diagnosis is going to know that diagnosing oneself via the Internet is completely irrational.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #32)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:12 PM

33. Indeed. nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 10:42 AM

16. Copays. Every year, copays go up $5, $10, $20 - it adds up.

When times are tough, you decide to pay the gas bill and tough out the infection, hoping it will just go away, rather than lose your ability to cook food.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:25 AM

21. The system is broken. Less income, higher costs, coupled with inability for docs to be able to do

good medicine anymore.

In more depth:
People have less income available, in general. Copays cost more if you have insurance, and deductibles are higher. If you don't have insurance costs are rising even if you get on a sliding fee scale thing, if you know to ask aboutit.

Providers are less and less able to provide good health care anymore due to increasing costs for them and increasing pressure to shove patients through as fast as possible and then even faster. Many clinics have been bought out by larger groups who dictate the amount of time to be spent on any 1 visit. And seldom do people come in for only 1 thing, or other things come up during the visit (for which they are told to make another appointment). Providers in general are making less and being pushed to do more which makes them quite unhappy.

Outcome is people go to in sicker and take more time. Which costs them more, takes more time, etc etc etc.

Of course there are the CYA tests that are pushed for also. But I see the trouble being it costs more and they don't have the time.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:50 AM

26. It would be interesting to know how much of this change happened since 2008.

That's when the devastation of Bush policies really kicked in and killed income, insurance, etc...

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:00 PM

30. Co-pay? We have the high deductible thing.

I forgot the acronym. We have to pay out of pocket until we hit the $2000 deductible. But we do have an HSA. Whoopee! My employer deposits about $600 twice a year and I contribute some each paycheck. I can use that for doctor visits but it gets whittled down quickly.

So I don't go often because of the cost - even though the HSA will "cover" it, I'm saving that in case I get really sick not that it will go very far.

The other reason I don't go often is the time factor. I get there early and wait...half an hour late if I'm lucky. And that's just to be admitted to the inner sanctum. Then I sit another half an hour waiting. Good doctor, good clinic - but they're under pressure to see many patients in a short time frame. Damn corporate medicine and insurance companies dictating medical treatment.

Sorry for the ramble. I know I have more than many people and feel a bit of guilt for whining about what I do have - TPTB want us to feel grateful for what they bestow on us.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:11 PM

31. the reason, plain and simple: more people like me buying high deductible insurance that doesn't pay

for doc visits until you reach the deductible, and then only a portion is paid by the wonderful insurance corpos. So the premiums + doc visits are all out of pocket until you reach $1200 or $1500 or $2000/year, so people don't go unless they're really bad off. Great system , and I don't see it's any better with the ACA.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:19 PM

34. That's because their hours are 9a - 3p and I work from 7a - 5p over 2 hours away!

The EARLIEST I can see a local endocrinologist is 12/26, and that's for a 3pm appt. If I wanted a 5pm appt, we're talking February 2013. I don't have the vacation time of others and if I don't show up for work, well, my job could be on the line (and I work as an officer in a bank!). I've tried other jobs, but their "benefits" are the same -- your job is your "benefit".

I know docs work longer than their posted hours, and with the administration forcing them to keep better records to prevent against law suits, it's a nightmare. Seems like my doc's boss and my boss are sisters -- both are Satan's messengers.

I LOVE my personal doc and know he's a hard worker and when he does have evening hours, it's until 7pm but usually doesn't get out until 9pm. Even when he has "shortened hours" (office closes at 2pm), he doesn't get home until after 7pm. He's always running late, but that's because he spends real time with people and usually chats up a storm and gets to know his patients. I don't mind the wait -- I adore him. However, he does need a life. He's only 2 years older than I am and is missing his kids growing up. His wife only cares about being a Doctor's Wife. I feel sorry for him.

The worst part about it is that he's dropping hints that he's going concierge. That's at least $3,000 per year for my husband and me, ABOVE what we pay in co-pays and other fees. We're saving our pennies now because we can't afford to lose him.

Med schools need to open up their enrollment. Not enough docs, too many patients.

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Response to Paula Sims (Reply #34)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 04:31 PM

47. Most docs are doing rounds at hospitals in the mornings.

Later appointments are kept for people with urgent needs, although the docs I know see people until five or six regularly.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #47)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 05:36 PM

50. Not around here

Docs use Hospitaists,

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Response to spotbird (Reply #50)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 05:37 PM

51. Even with hospitalists, most of the docs I know still attend.

Especially pediatricians.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:59 PM

36. No insurance, can't afford it; have insurance but premiums so high can't afford

deductibles/copays; can't afford medications/tests so what's the point of seeing a doctor. Given that Americans are so obese overall and NEED more medical care, it's a pretty scathing indictment of our pathetic healthcare delivery/payment system.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 01:04 PM

37. Most people I know can't afford to see the dentist unless there really is a problem.

The same goes with Doctors. I've seen a few Doctors schedule unneeded appointments in order to get more insurance money also.

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Response to Third Doctor (Reply #37)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:38 PM

54. "I've seen a few Doctors schedule unneeded appointments in order to get more insurance money also."

Every doctor I've ever known does this, and doesn't even try to hide it. Shit ought to be made a felony offense.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 01:40 PM

39. No shit.

We uninsured folks can't afford the visit, let alone the prescription and/or followup treatment and visits.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 02:59 PM

44. It's hard to get into your doctor and not some one else working there

who doesn't know you. So I find that I only go when its something I absolutely have to.

Even well checks I try to go when its not flu season…they should have separate waiting rooms for people that aren't sick.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 04:07 PM

46. When I take my mother to the doctor

it is at least a 2.5 hour deal. She is elderly and on medicare. Each visit garners more visits. We have to make 2 appts to two different specialists and they are going to call with an appt. for a third. It used to be your gp managed everything unless your condition proved to be more complicated and difficult and then they would call in the specialist. It seems they don't even try. Then they want you to undergo all kinds of screening tests too. If my mom didn't refuse some of them, I think we would be visiting doctor offices twice a week, every week.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 04:59 PM

49. We are being eaten alive by corporations.

Deductibles are higher, copays are higher, and costs continue to spiral, with no fix in sight. And now we have entrenched the for-profit system with a mandate, sans public option.

Given all that, is this news report a surprise to anyone? It shouldn't be.

Have we had enough yet, America?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:37 PM

53. Had a DR visit about a month ago

$600 for a couple of x-rays, WITH INSURANCE.

FUCK THIS SYSTEM.

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Response to Shitty Mitty (Reply #53)

Wed Oct 3, 2012, 09:14 AM

56. It costs $400 to have a tooth pulled

I have a neighbor who doesn't have dental insurance, and for almost half a year now he's been trying to get his molar pulled for free someplace. He's lucky it hasn't been infected (or if it is, it hasn't gone to his brain).

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