(Readers: Please note the blog about the 5th revolution in the US is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, I think the story will be more meaningful by starting at the beginning.)

Want a PDF version for Entries #1-10 and 11-20 formatted for tablets and e-books?  Click links for download.  America’s 5th Revolution Volume I (Entries 1-10)  America’s 5th Revolution Volume II (Entries 11-20)

Scene: Jordan in doctor’s examining room for annual physical

Nurse: “Jordan, blood pressure looks good. Job must not be too stressful (laughing). The doctor will be in shortly.”

nurse gg4315615Jordan: “Thanks Kathy. Nice to see you, as always.”

Doctor: (Knock and door opens slowly) “Jordan, how are you?”

Jordan: “Gene, I’m fine. At least I think everything is OK. No major problems.”

Doctor: “You’ve become the BMOC, or should I say BMIW – big man in Washington. What is it like in Washington? Understand doctor-clipart-illustration-31325you met the president.”

Jordan: “Yes, I did. He’s trying to keep the country together. And fortunately, DC is becoming more rational after the special election. Still a lot of confusion about what to do, a lot of angry people and an incredible amount of work to be done.”

Doctor: “Think the revolution is finished?”

Jordan: “No. I would view the current pause in the fighting as a positive.”

Doctor: “What is it going to take to satisfy the rebels?”

Jordan: “The so-called rebels are now mainstream and in control of congress and most state legislatures. But the real challenge is execution.”

Doctor: “Execution of what?”

Jordan: “A number of laws and/or regulations need to change. And all that takes time, especially with a new congress.

Doctor: “And you have an impatient electorate.”

Jordan: “We probably have one year grace period to implement the changes.”

Doctor: “One year? I would find the one-year expectation humorous if it weren’t so ridiculous. The same people demanding changes in government within 12 months are willing to give a new football coach 2-3 years before expecting significant change.”

Jordan: “Do you have the same problem with patients?”

Doctor: “Absolutely. People neglect their health for years, come here with a problem and then expect a miracle cure. Oh, well, such is the real world.”

Jordan: “Irrational, yes. To change their thinking maybe we should begin telling people a doctor is like a football coach and do not expect an immediate change in your health.”

Doctor: “Maybe we should. Any way I can help with some of the issues?”

Jordan: “Yes but let’s get through the physical first. I have some questions about issues that I do not understand.”

Doctor: “Let me make sure I have time in the next hour or so. (Confirms with Cathy.) Now let’s continue the exam. Bend over.”

Scene: Physical completed.

Jordan: “Well, Gene, any issues?”

Doctor: “Fortunately, no. Jordan, I do not want to inflate your ego any more but you are probably the healthiest patient of your age in my practice.”

Jordan: “Glad to hear it. All the exercise and watching the diet seems to have some positive effect.”

Doctor: “Alright, what is the first issue?”

Jordan: “Hospital charges for procedures. How do hospitals calculate what to charge?”

Doctor: “Give some examples and I might be able to help.”

Jordan: “A case in Charlotte, NC where a man was bitten by a snake. The hospital gave him four injections of serum. The charge was nearly $90,000 — $89,000 actually. That’s crazy.”  (14 02 11 Charlotte (NC) Observer Article re Cost for Snake Bite)

Doctor: “He didn’t pay the full amount did he?”

Jordan: “No. The insurance company negotiated a reduction to about $20,000. His co-pay was $5,000+. If the guy had no insurance, he would be stuck with nearly $90,000.”  

Doctor: “I hear you. Doctors are as frustrated as patients. But are you sure this wasn’t an isolated case?”

Jordan: “It was not isolated. I do not follow the medical field daily but another family near Charlotte was charged $125,000 for rabies shots. Think about that, $125,000 for shots. I remember as a kid having to get rabies shots. Probably cost my folks a few hundred dollars.”

Doctor: “That was a long time ago – inflation. (Laughing) Unfortunately, I cannot really answer the question. I’m not even sure what we charge you. The hospital owns this practice and sets the rates.”

Jordan: “Here’s what I know. When an industry is that much out of control, whether healthcare, automotive, mining, financial or whatever, government has a responsibility to step in and fix the problems. What’s seems even worse in healthcare is that many of the hospitals are tax exempt.”

Doctor: “Are you suggesting we expand the Affordable Care Act and nationalize healthcare?”

Jordan: “What do you think? $90k or serum and $125k for rabies shots. The hospital executives are living in another world and no one is controlling their behavior.”

Cathy: “Pardon me for interrupting. Doctor, two patients are waiting to see you.”

Doctor: “Jordan, if you can keep yourself busy for 45 minutes or so, let me see these patients and we can continue the conversation. Cathy, after Mr. Abel gets dressed, could you take him to my office and get him some coffee, please?”

Cathy: “Gladly.”

Jordan: “Gene, see you shortly.”