Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

Regardless of one's opinion about how health care should be funded, be it free market or socialized single-payer medicine, it does seem more and more people are paying varying amounts of cash for their visit to the doctor, hospital, imaging center or laboratory. I wonder if it is time these facilities had a menu of fees displayed as other venues do?

Doctors usually do not like to discuss fees but like to order X-rays, laboratory tests, consultations, etc., so as to be sure of their diagnosis or to avoid malpractice.

Another problem might be that some patients are on Medicaid or Medicare and they are charged a different rate. Seems like when I go to a restaurant or store, the fees are set.

I recognize that fees can vary according to a number of factors, complications so that a hospitalization must be extended, findings at surgery vary from pre-op expectations.

Still, I think a representative list of fees in these facilities would be only fair to the customer, the patient.

It might be that some doctors would compete for Medicaid patients and charge lower fees. When I was in practice, Medicaid had no interest in discounts from a doctor.

My opinion is that a considerable expense is saved when the patient pays cash. The present system of medicine means that hospitals and doctors have to have a number of employees whose only purpose is to delve through complicated insurance and Medicare rules.

Robert Petersen

Provo