So I just received gold for a health policy wonk. It's a nifty piece of paper illustrating, ever so vaguely, the cost of various medical procedures and gadgets. That's right -- it's the bill from my surgery and hospital stay. The total cost: a whopping $21,113.44 -- hoo!
It's kinda fun to guess what these generic items are referring to. "Other implants"? I believe that's the metal plate and screws now inserted in my femur -- a cool $2,624.
But that's not the expensive column. Oh no no no no.
"Operating Room Services"? That'd be the surgery itself -- $12,672. "Pulmonary function" -- my breathing tube -- $360.00 "Pharmacy" -- I'm guessing that's the anesthesia -- $1,204.44
There you go, folks. I am the sole reason health care is so expensive in this country. My surgery was only one hour and 45 minutes. And it cost over $20,000. Without it, I would have worn out my knee in a decade, been in terrible pain, and needed a knee replacement at the age of 32. If putting a plate in my leg is $20 Gs, I can't imagine how much a knee replacement costs.
But while I'm very expensive, I'm also very lucky. I have insurance which will pay for the vast, vast majority of that cost. The copay I owe hasn't come in yet, but I'll be sure to let you know when it does. Probably won't be nearly as exciting as my itemized bill, though.