I had one of the worse experiences at a dentist’s office. This is why I believe health care does not belong in the private sector.
Worse dentist visit ever.
I woke up with a bad toothache. The truth is, it was building for some time, but I thought it was manageable as it has always been. I called our insurance’s Tele-Dentist and got a prescription for an antibiotic. Monday was unbearable. The antibiotic was not working.
I made an appointment with a dentist in Kingwood on my plan. As soon as I got there, I knew it was trouble. It was the same dentist that IMHO ripped off my wife, forcing her to get a procedure she did not have to get and overcharging her for a crown. But I was in pain, so I went into the office.
The 22-year-old technician was excellent. She took all the X-Rays. We had some small talk, but when we hit healthcare, she volunteered, “If Canada can give all of their citizens good healthcare, how comes we can’t?” I was pleasantly surprised. But my experience at that office will prove why it is so hard to change to a Medicare for All system that covers your entire health.
The dentist did some cold tests and hammer tests on each tooth to get the actual teeth causing the severe pain. Even though I thought a major pain was a top molar, it turned out to be the bottom one radiating the pain. Though she claimed the top one had nerve issues as well.
After that 5-minute exam, it was time for the diagnosis. “You need two root canals,” the dentist said. “And you will need a crown on both.”
“Really,” I asked. “And why do I need a crown? In Panama, we do root canals and call it a day.”
“Well, if we do a root canal here,” the dentist said firmly. “We must put a cap on.”
I got it. It was a massive bill in the making. By the way, they have a machine that prints crowns right at the establishment’s entrance. It was clear to me, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail” was their modus operandi. And they charged a premium for that nail.
When she saw I was concerned about pricing, she said, “Maybe we just need to do the bottom one.”
Really? I said, “I do not want a crown, just the root canal.”
She asked me to let the business office come up with the quote. Following is the quote.
My insurance pays all but $275 for a root canal. And it pays all but $230 for the crown. Notice what they have done. They use a crown that our insurance won’t pay for, likely because it is an overpriced gouger.
Just before finishing this article, I had a conversation with my doctor. When I told him about the bill, he laughed and said they should have been ashamed of themselves. He then said he paid out of pocket for his root canal and crown. He paid $1,100.
There are two types of healthcare providers (physicians, dentists, etc.). The first type is a capitalist who believes in charging whatever the market will bear, even if it means providing unnecessary, overpriced services. And the second type is those who believe in healing their patients while making a fair income. Unfortunately, the latter is in short supply. That is why healthcare does not belong in the private sector. A sick patient does not have choices. They must be healed. SHAME ON AMERICA for not having universal healthcare.