Jay Singh had a nasty head cold. Not a “will-I-survive-this-plague” kind of infection, but also not one he thought, if left to its own devices, would blow over in a day or two. So he went to the primary care clinic near his exurban New York City home. The doctor spent ten minutes examining and talking to Singh (a pseudonym), a quick look at his throat, a cursory listen to his lungs. The doctor ordered a routine “respiratory viral panel” and prescribed a cough suppressant. Singh had already anted up a co-pay for the office visit, but a few weeks later he received a bill for the services rendered: $800 to cover his doctor’s time and the cost of the viral panel.
I spoke to Singh several months after his appointment, and he was still determined to leverage his experience into political action: he thinks it’s time for the state of New York, perhaps the whole U.S., to bring healthcare prices out of the dark so patients like him can make informed decisions about their medical care.
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