That is when the solution to the medical cost problem hit me. Like a fist smashing into my stomach. Like a sledge-hammer pounding on my head. Like an untamed bronco kicking me in the rear. The problem with the medical system is we can not get refunds. The crystal clear clarity of my observation was like a spring morning after a gentle rain when you can see forever. I had inadvertently, single-handedly and without an expenditure of $20 million for a senate investigation committee, discovered the root cause of the rising cost of medical care. Doctors, hospitals, clinics and whatever do not give refunds. A bell rang in my head, no the bell did not just ring; it thundered with the reverberating sound of what she had told me. “No Doctor gives refunds.”
The solution to the problem of rising health care costs was staring all of us in the eye. As the saying goes, if the solution had been a snake, it would have bit us. The solution is simple. Doctors, hospitals, clinics should have to give refunds just like Wall-Mart, or Costco or Nordstrom. For example, I do not have to sue Nordstrom to take a shirt back that does not fit.
I quickly yanked my iPhone from my pocket and sent a text message to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I knew they had been researching this problem and would want to know immediately that I had found a solution. It then occurred to me that I must be non-partisan so I copied the text message and forwarded it to John McCain and George Bush. They would want to know too. And just to be safe, I sent it to Roger Colbert, Rush Limbaugh and Ophra Winfrey. That should do it.
The simplicity of the solution was beyond elegance. My mission, albeit my purpose in life was now patently clear. I was destined to be the Rosa Parks of Doctor refunds. I vowed to myself that I would not leave this Doctor’s office until I had secured a refund. I would not give up my place in line for the next customer. I was entering the golden doors of the house of manifest destiny in a purposeless life.
I asked to speak with the owner of the business to express my complaint and plead my case for a refund. She replied demurely, “The owners are all seeing other customers, but we can schedule an appointment for 10 weeks from now.” “Would I have to pay for that appointment?” I asked. “Of course you would and if your insurance does not cover the expense we will need your authorization in advance to charge it to your credit card.” “No, no, no,” I replied obviously frustrated, “I do not wish to buy more services from you, I just wish to get my money back for what I bought last month.”
I remained adamant in my destiny. So I said in the most forceful manner I could muster, “I’d like to speak with your customer service representative.” “We do not have anyone with that responsibility that works here,” she replied. I contemplated the absolute honesty and hopelessness for my cause embedded in her reply. I lost focus for only an instant and then I heard her say, “Next.”