Saturday, June 14, 2008

Old joke

Complaining about a billing procedure the medical group I practice with has recently adopted reminded me of a joke my father once told.

My complaint was about the practice of marking up the price of a laboratory test to the patient, sometimes as much as a hundred fold, over what the laboratory charges our practice. The patients who actually pay this price are the ones with no health insurance as insurance companies will discount these charges. Stating that I felt this price gouging to be illegal, one of my colleagues, who happened to be the obstetrician that delivered my children, told me emphatically, "No, it is not illegal!" His tone and demeanor led me to believe that this is a common practice of his office as well.

"Well, if it is not illegal then it is immoral," came my reply. "Which reminds me of the difference between illegal and immoral. An ill eagle is a sick bird."

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