A Doctor Walks into the ER. The Punchline? A $5,000 Bill

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File this under the category of Shoe on the Other Foot. A doctor gets hurt while playing soccer, needs some stitches on his head, and learns what it’s like to be on the other side of the health care system.

Dr. Lance Budris’s story, which is only remarkable because it happened to a doctor and not the typical schmuck on the street, is told in the LA Times. He needed 29 stitches to patch up a two-inch cut, and was in and out of the ER in two hours. The nearly $5,000 price of the bill was only one aspect that disgusted Dr. Budris:

It listed something called “M/S SUPPLY GENERAL,” which came to $1,247. Then there was another $2,425 for “EMERGENCY ROOM GENERAL.”

“I’m a doctor and I can’t tell you what all of that means,” said Budris.

He was charged $360 for a shot that he knows costs $27. No one should be surprised by any of this:

Dr. Budris asked physician friends what they thought his ER bill was for his 2-inch laceration. They gave knowing smiles and guessed in the $5,000 range, or up to 10 times what the true cost of service might have been.

In miniature, this is what we’ve all been doing for quite some time: paying ten times what we should for the services we receive.

A Dozen Disturbing Health Care Statistics