You Want to Know Why Medical Care Is So Expensive? Because the government has passed numerous laws to help medical practitioners enforce their monopoly on numerous medical services.
Today I encountered an egregious example. 1-800-Contacts will not ship my contact lens order. Seeing that my 1-year prescription was about to run out (but still valid for another week, it expires on the 18th), I ordered a bunch of boxes of my daily lenses to see me through some more months. The retailer called my eye doctor, who confirmed that the prescription was still valid but that the doctor would only allow me to buy one box because he wanted me to return for an exam soon. They confirmed this by email:
Thank you for choosing 1-800 CONTACTS. While we were verifying your prescription, your eye care provider informed us that your prescription will be expiring soon. Unfortunately, this means that we are unable to ship your order....
But then we get to the real point
Also, if you would like assistance scheduling a new exam, we can help! We have a network of doctors with convenient locations and hours....
The Doctor Network Team at 1-800 CONTACTS
So the email is not even from the customer service department. It is from their doctor network. Its clear the requirement is all about pumping up the eye doctor business.
I remember a Dilbert cartoon (or maybe it was the Far Side) where one copier repairman was pointing into a copier and telling the other that he should "set this dial for when he wanted to return." We all have suspected something like this exists in copiers, but for all the dark humor, it really exists in the medical profession.
Why should the government force me to pay the doctor for as many visits as the doctor wants just to be able to purchase contact lenses? One could argue this is for eye health or some happy BS like that, but we don't require everyone to visit the eye doctor at the doctor's pleasure, just people with bad vision who have daily wear contacts. There is not, to my knowledge, any correlation between glaucoma and contact lens wearing, so why do I face such a government mandate while someone with 20/20 vision does not?
Further, why can't I self medicate on contact lens selection? I know people who have been raised to be submissive sheep deferring to the almighty medical degree gasp at such a suggestion, but why not? Because I have problems with both near and far sightedness, my choice of contact lens strength is a tradeoff anyway. If I can see well long distance, I can't read anything without reading glasses. Back off a bit on the far vision, allowing a little blurriness in one eye, and I can read in an emergency without my glasses. I chose my own lens strength, and my doctor then wrote a prescription for it. Why can't I just do this on my own, say with a trial kit of lenses from the manufacturer. (for those who think it might be a size issue, there are only about 3 sizes in this type of lens, and they are far enough apart that once a size is selected, they are likely that size forever). It's fine if people want to do this under a doctor's supervision, and I would certainly get into the doctor every two or three years, but why must the government mandate I go in more frequently, at the doctor's pleasure, not mine?
This kind of thing exists ad infinitum in the medical profession, with government mandates helping to protect over-educated professionals from lower-cost competition. Why do I have to go to a dentist's office to get my teeth cleaned? Why do I need someone with 12 years of medical training to put three stitches in my knee? Why do I need a fully trained doctor to take me through the basics of a routine physical? Why does Viagra require a prescription -- I mean, doesn't the doctor just take my word there is a problem, or is there actually a doctor out there who sends in hot nurses to prove whether I have an erectile problem? OK, I might not begrudge that particular doctor visit.