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Taking Too Long? Toyota? Congress?

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Message Sally McMillan
Congress has scheduled a hearing on Toyota's action with regard to accelerator and brake problems with their cars. They are accused of taking too long to confront these issues. At least 37 people died as a result of accidents occurring because of these problems. At this time questions are also raised about steering problems with Toyota Corolla.

We are now one year into the situation of universal and affordable health care for Americans. About 45 million Americans are without healthcare, and each year 45,000 people die for lack of medical care.

I am fortunate that my Toyota is an older one ('99) that has not had any problems. I am also lucky that I am healthy and have not had a lot of medical problems. However, from feeding the deer in the woods behind our home some years ago, I contracted a rash that was diagnosed as roundworm. An antifungal ointment cleared up the rash, but I found that each year in the hot weather, it recurs. So I keep the ointment handy for use in hot weather.

Last December I was going to the Caribbean to visit a grandson. I was out of the ointment, so I called my primary physician's office for a renewal of the prescription. I was told that I'd have to come in. Since he was not the doctor who first prescribed this medicine, I felt that this request was reasonable and I scheduled an appointment.

After paying my co-pay, I was called in to see the doctor. I spent about ten minutes talking with him, explaining the situation and why I wanted a renewal. He wrote a prescription for me. Shortly after, I received a statement from the insurance company. They had made a mistake about the co-pay (making it higher, of course), which I called about, and they agreed to correct it. I later received another statement, charging me the $58 that was supposedly their share of the charge. Again I called and they corrected the mistake.

In looking over these statement, however, I noticed that the charge for this visit to the doctor was $117. I don't know if this is the fee the doctor receives or if some of it goes to the insurance company. But for the ten- minute visit to request a renewal of my prescription, I am shocked at this charge. Talk about escalating medical costs! A friend of mine went to the hospital for a biopsy and the charge was $6,000.I remember as a child going to see the doctor and being charged $2.00. If he came to our home to see us, he charged $3.00. Yes, he made house calls. Is it the insurance companies making these outrageous charges or the doctors and hospitals?

Perhaps Toyota took too long to confront the issue with its cars. But it seem to me

that Congress is taking too long to confront healthcare reform. Who can schedule a hearing on Congress's actions?

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Sally McMillan is a mother, a grandmother, an activist and a writer. She's from Philadelphia, Iowa, and now Albuquerque. She has four children and 12 grandchildren.

She is a graduate of Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia PA (more...)

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