Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.
- Exodus 23:7
You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
- Deuteronomy 25:15
They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty.
- 2 Kings 12:15
“If I have walked with falsehood
or my foot has hurried after deceit—
let God weigh me in honest scales
and he will know that I am blameless—
if my steps have turned from the path,
if my heart has been led by my eyes,
or if my hands have been defiled,
then may others eat what I have sown,
and may my crops be uprooted.
- Job 31:5-8
“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,
look around and consider,
search through her squares.
If you can find but one person
who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
I will forgive this city.
Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
still they are swearing falsely.”
- Jeremiah 5:1
“A brief word for Ananias, whose story is found in the Acts of the Apostle, chapter 5.
There once was a man Ananias,
Who hid a most dishonest bias;
His gift to Saint Peter
Proved him such a cheater,
He fell down stone-dead on the dais.”
- John Knapp II, Ananias (from Stuart & Jill Briscoe, The Family Book of Christian Values)
I recently had a teeth cleaning. The dental hygienist required a deep cleaning in that I had not had a teeth cleaning in three years – my son in the hospital, wife babysitting grandchildren, COVID lockdown, businesses not back up and running right away, my wife going on kidney dialysis, etc. Dental was low priority until my wife had three fillings that fell out and I had a tooth that broke, from Another Hole in my Head.
To get us hooked into returning, the dentist gave us the x-rays for free, but that was when everything started to go wrong. My tooth extraction was reasonable, uncomfortable, but reasonable. Then my wife’s first filling was about twice what we thought it should be. Her second trip was to do two fillings and it was twice the price. I’ll admit that she had twice the amalgam, but the two fillings were done in the same length of time as the single filling, waiting for the Novocain being the longest time of any step.
Why pay so much? Rich folk have dental insurance and the prices are based on what the insurance company will pay. Poor folk on a fixed income without insurance should “know better,” as if they had a choice, thus they are taken advantage of.
Then it came down to me getting my teeth cleaned. My last teeth cleaning was less than $100. My last deep cleaning was about 50% higher. Even though my wife had not had her teeth cleaned in three years and she takes less care than I do, she also has the genetic make-up that does not attract tartar. Three fillings and no need to get her teeth cleaning.
For me, there was bacteria starting to form in the tartar and I needed deep cleaning. The price was 6-7 times what I expected. I thought they were joking. Yes, they saved me from dealing with periodontal disease, and “who can put a price on that?”
But I can. Medicare does not come with dental. We got a supplement that is excellent, but without dental. To get dental added, we lose the benefits of the excellent supplement. I mean, we wave good-bye and leave the doctor’s office or the hospital and the hospital bill collector smiles and waves back. That kind of excellent supplement. We would go bankrupt to get a new policy that had dental, at prices for 70-year-olds, one having had open-heart surgery and in kidney dialysis.
I have heard Rev. David Robertson, the Wee Flea, talk on his podcast about how when government starts making changes, inevitably the poor suffer. We are on a fixed income. I was not prepared to retire, but my employer laid me off anyway. We have maybe one thousandth of what you think you might need for a comfortable retirement. But until now, we have made ends meet. I only needed that money to move my wife closer to the grandchildren. Now it may never happen.
We are looking into dental insurance. Even a lousy plan that pays practically nothing is better than no plan. How?
Let’s take a doctor visit as an example. I saw a doctor recently, not a specialist, and the doctor sent a bill to Medicare for $156. Medicare only allowed the doctor to bill $89.01. They paid $71.21 with the supplemental paying the other $17.80. But what if the doctor, realizing that I had no insurance charged me $300? I would have to beg, borrow, or steal the money. I would have no voice.
But with a dental plan, that pays nothing, they could insure a reasonable price.
My title’s question is appropriate here. What am I missing?
The doctor, or dentist, charges an inflated price to get the maximum from the insurance company. They are paid much less and everyone giggles. But if someone without dental insurance is charged what the insurance company allows, then the insurance company sues the dentist for fraud, even though the insurance company pays the same regardless. Two sets of prices for the same thing. Call it “price gouging.” Call it dishonest, but both the insurance company and the medical people know how the corrupt system works.
My mother worked many years for a couple of doctors in a single office. One doctor died and many years later, the other retired when malpractice insurance premiums became higher than his gross income, as he refused to accept new patients, a means of sliding toward retirement.
When I was in high school and into college, my mother had me do the monthly billing, my donation to the cause since I did not get paid. I would go through the bills and prepare them to be mailed to the patients. My first time doing it, I noticed many patients who had very thick bill folders while others had one or two pages. I never saw the medical files, just the bill.
I asked about Mr. Wilson, just to use a random name. His monthly bill was over an inch thick, a full ream of paper. My mother said, “I wish we could save the postage and forget about sending him a bill. He never pays. He has six children and one or another is always sick, and his wife is going through some hard times right now.”
I asked, “Then why does the doctor keep Mr. Wilson as a patient?”
My mother said, “The doctor loves his patients, and there is that Hippocratic Oath thing.” But now, you pay the co-pay, or you are not allowed to see the doctor.
A few years later after sending the bills out for the doctor as a “volunteer,” I became an engineer with an oath of my own. I lived up to that oath, but most of the other engineers around me broke it early and often.
Again, I ask, “What am I missing?”
An oath was inviolable in the days of the book of Judges.
Again, I ask, “What am I missing?”
I am starting to research dental plans and maybe one will save us some money, but we will have to make cuts in other areas to balance the budget. Who am I kidding? The prices of gasoline for the car and natural gas for the house will ensure we never balance the budget. And the people who manage the state’s renal failure relief fund are playing bureaucrat and holding my wife’s benefits. Why is it that in hard times, the company executives, doctors, dentists, lawyers, politicians, and insurance companies all make money, but no one else does?
Again, I ask, “What am I missing?”
Lord, Jesus, come soon, my money is running out. Amen
Don’t’ worry. We aren’t there yet, but …
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.