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English: McDonalds' sign in Harlem.

English: McDonalds’ sign in Harlem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My vision is poor and I must wear glasses at all times. After a total of 5 surgeries on one eye or the other, I am reluctant to submit to necessary cataract surgery. I am delaying it as long as possible, partly because of cost and partly due to a fear of further surgery. Until I discovered this shortcut on my computer (control and +, and control and -) to adjust the font size, I did not read some articles.

I have had recent experiences with fast-food menus of a similar nature. The menus at McDonald’s and Wendy’s are crowded and hard to read. In contrast, the menu at In-N-Out is simple and large enough for me to read almost without my glasses. The lesson to draw from this, I suppose, is that fast-food restaurants should simplify their menus to specialize in what they do well as well as make it easier for their customers to order more quickly which will speed service for everyone. Alternately, they could develop menus on monitor screens that customers could adjust as they wait in line to place their orders.

Healthcare choice

Total Knee replacement : AP view (Xray).

Total Knee replacement : AP view (Xray). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I fell and broke my knee nine years ago. My doctor told me then that I would need a knee replacement in five years, so I am living and walking on borrowed time. Last night on NBC Nightly News, we learned that Brian Williams required knee replacement surgery which reportedly costs from $27,000 to $70,000 depending on local prices. Not very competitive are they. And one can’t go shopping for insurance either since insurers don’t cover pre-existing conditions. The healthcare insurers and the healthcare industry put their customers between a rock and a hard place. What I care about is the bottom line, how much will knee surgery cost me after Medicare and secondary insurance have paid the majority of the costs? That is what concerns me most and not knowing is causing me to postpone surgery as long as I can.

Medical tourism

Singapore and surroundings

Singapore and surroundings (Photo credit: The Shifted Librarian)

Tonight on ABC World News, there was a short report on how difficult it is to find out in advance what a procedure will cost. Advocates of the current system frequently tell us to shop around. With insurance company restrictions and the unwillingness of hospitals to be forthcoming, comparison shopping is usually impossible. Tonight’s example was a routine appendectomy with a total cost of $50,000+. The insurer paid $30,000+ leaving the patient with a bill of approximately $23,000. When the surgery can be postponed for a few days or a few weeks, I would suggest considering medical tourism. That is flying first class to Thailand or Singapore or India where there are US standard medical facilities that charge a fraction of US prices. I have had expensive knee surgery and eye surgery here in the US and I was well insured as a hospital employee. I am still paying on old debts, and I would certainly consider medical tourism in the future.