We operated on a young man today with a torn Achilles tendon.  This is a devastating injury, the treatment for which is not optional.  He had no insurance.  We did his surgery for $5730.  This included the facility fee, the surgeon’s fee and the anesthesia fee.  

His next best price?  $15,000, from a “faith-based” “not for profit” hospital.  This fee did not include the surgeon’s fee or the anesthesiologist’s fee.  They sure need a whole lot more dough to not make a profit than we do.  Except, oh yeah, we are making a profit at our price!  

How do we do this?  By cutting corners?  Certainly not.  Using cheap supplies?  Nope.  ”Greedy doctors who own their facilities charge more than anyone, right?”  Nope.  We are able to do this for one simple reason as I’ve written here many times.  By virtue of our physician ownership, we have eliminated the most inefficient, greedy, bankrupting, corrupt, vicious profit seeker from the equation:  the “not for profit” hospital.  

What will this man do with the $10,000 he didn’t pay the nuns and their hospital?  Bastiat’s economic lessons are all around us, his what is seen and what is not seen, foremost among them, I think.  Think about this whenever you hear one of these hospital suits droning on about their “benefit to the community.”  However they calculate that, this man benefitted by at least $10,000 by steering clear of their doors.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.