The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Do You Really Need Health Insurance to Get a Physical?

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Physical_Examination

Annual physical exams and health insurance do not go hand in hand. The fact is, most doctor’s offices charge somewhere between $100-$300 for a physical. Consumers are free to spend their hard-earned money on physicals for themselves and their families, or not. But getting a yearly physical has nothing to do with health insurance.

Sunday Post and Courier article about health care reform attempted to discuss the differing opinions on health care reform, in particular looking at the example of Massachusetts.

Unfortunately, the report was extremely limited in its scope. One egregious misrepresentation in the article centered on seeing doctors for an annual physical. The article reports: 

On the streets around Boston, many say the state’s health care overhaul has changed their lives. Linda Furey, 41, a part-time librarian in Beverly, got new glasses. Steve Jackson, 48, a classical clarinetist, got his first physical in years.

Curious. Most doctor’s offices will charge somewhere between $100-$300 for a physical.

At Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina in Columbia, a standard yearly physical costs $300, including labs and bloodwork. First Care in Columbia costs $208. In Charleston, you can get a physical at West Ashley Family Medicine for $128 before any bloodwork.

Getting a yearly physical has nothing to do with health insurance. What it has to do with is choices. Individual responsibility. People make tradeoffs everyday with their hard-earned money. Sometimes it’s responsible, and sometimes it isn’t. That’s the beauty of the free market. You can do whatever you want with the money you make.

Did Steve Jackson purchase any new clothes last year? Did he go out to dinner at all?

For less than $1 per day a person can get a physical each year. Whether you have insurance or not.

A can of Coke costs about $1. Cigarettes cost about $3 per pack. An annual subscription to The Post and Courier costs about $180.

Buy soda everyday? Cut back to every other day and you can afford a visit to the doctor. Health insurance or not.

So let’s get the facts straight. Health insurance has nothing to do with paying for a doctor’s visit. Anyone can do that — and I haven’t even touched on the fact that there are free health clinics for the uninsured.

Health insurance has to do with unpredictable circumstances – i.e. catastrophic injuries. And whether you have health insurance is an individual choice, and one that should not be required by government mandates, which only constitute a tax increase on citizens.

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Written by Geoff Pallay

September 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

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