Why Can’t I Buy Health Care Like I Can Buy a Car?

Just back from buying a new (well, 2-year-old) car (Ford Explorer, silvery green, all the bells and whistles and, get this, it even tells me how many miles I can drive given the amount of gas in the tank!). So forgive the short post, but, as most of you know, buying a car is downright exhausting (oh, and did I mention the two glasses of wine the husband and I drank to celebrate after?).

Yet here’s the thing. . . we bought our car at Car Max and I knew exactly how much that car was going to cost before I signed on the dotted line. I also knew the quality of the car (based on its history) and everything the car included (did I mention the rear camera and air conditioned seats?). The dealer also gave me a warranty — if something went wrong in 30 days, they would fix everything, no questions asked, no out-of-pocket payment on my part.

Let’s compare that to the CT scan I had a few weeks ago (and wrote about here). I had no idea what it would cost. Was given no opportunity to “comparison” shop, and was never told that it didn’t include the radiologist’s time to read it. If I’d had a medical procedure and something had gone wrong within the first 30 days, I would not have been entitled to a refund, or even a rebate. And if the procedure didn’t work? Well, too bad for me.

It’s called “transparency,” people. And I, for one, would like to know why I can get it when buying a car, but not when buying a CT scan, blood test, or surgery. When will I be able to buy health care like I buy a car?

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