Sign in doc's office: "If you are a new patient and have a high deductible you will be required to pay $100.00 at your first visit."
I was incensed when I first saw it.
For the most part insurance keeps the money part of medical care invisible: some of us may have to pay a (usually) small deductible for each visit. Rarely do we have to pay a lot of money to our doctors, face to face, as it were. (But it rarely is, if ever.)
I started thinking about the sign. Wait a minute, they are saying they do not trust new patients: maybe they will cheat me if they have to pay a good deal of money because of the kind of insurance they have. I had better get at least some of it upfront.
But he (or she) is my doctor. This person, whom I am invited to call by his title but who usually calls me by my first name. This stranger who asks me to reveal what may be intimate information about my body, possibly about my life, but about whom I know nothing equally revealing.
We often feel like supplicants, begging, pleading to be healed, the doctor opening to us his font of knowledge and bag of balms. We lay ourselves bare, hope exuding from every pore. The relationship is slanted. Money makes it, well, icky.
It can be looked at as a form of prostitution; the referring doctor (or hospital friend, stranger, or even phone book) the pimp, the doctor the prostitute, and us - the client with a bodily need that requires a fix.
In that scenario money is always the motivating factor. (I know the analogy is off a little, kickbacks to referring doctors are illegal)
For those of us who see the relationship as a skewed one, usually in favor of the doctor, maybe it is time for us to remember the money we pay, whether it is $0.00 (but remembering the cost of our insurance premiums) , $15.00, $100.00, or more. This makes us his employer. It gives us a higher standing then a dependent 'help me' petitioner.
We need not necessarily like our doctor but at a minimum, hopefully, we respect his knowledge and ability. And we trust him.
The other side is that he must be someone who trusts us; our knowledge, intelligence, and autonomy as a person.
In most other business relationships there is an equality between the two parties.
We need to bring that to the medical relationship as well.