That's one part of my story. The other part is the conversation I had with the doctor when he was done. "You want me to close up the hole or let it heal by itself?" he asked.
"You decide," I responded.
"No, it's your choice. Here are the ups and downs. If you let it heal by itself, it could take several weeks to heal completely and it could leave a scar, smaller than the size of the hole but larger than if we should close it up. Closing it up could take about 10 days to heal with a very small line-scar. You pick."
"How much is it going to cost me to have you close it up?" I asked, because, as you know, I pay cash. (The doctor also knew and we pretty much fixed the price before I showed up.)
"Oh, I see there's more work on your face later, so I'll close it up for you at no cost. And, I'll cut you a break on the price because we caught all of it pretty quickly."
"OK," I said in the face of such a good offer. "Close the sucker up, Doc."
He spent about 35 minutes doing some fancy suturing and I was out to pay the girl up front. She showed me the cost-worksheet and this is how it went down:
|Closing of the wound:||$750.00 (No Charge)|
|Discount on surgery:||$250.00-|
So, a $2,250 bill became $1,000. She said I am good to go; they will send me a bill. My first thought was, that's unfair because I have nothing that the doctor can repossess should I not pay. Is he going to put my carcinoma back? Then, she added, unless you want to make a partial payment today...
She made me proud. Good girl. That's how capitalism is supposed to work. It's not cold-hearted and one-sided. It's compassionate and honest. Ask for money if you are owed any. Don't offer to send a bill if you are not prepared to wait for your money.
For the cash-for-medical-service to work it is crucial that the doctor take cash in that day, otherwise it becomes nothing but a pay-later medical scheme. (I almost wrote 'scam'). So, I offered to partial-pay $500 on the spot.
Since the money is in the bank, I'll pay the bill as soon as it arrives. I want the doctor to be happy to see me again and in-profit to continue providing his best service to me.
We are both happy: provider and consumer. Life is good.