I saw my primary care doctor last week. She decided that I needed an EKG. She also personally called my cardiologist’s office and got me an appointment the following day.
When I arrived at the cardiologist’s office, the first thing they wanted to do was an EKG. I pointed out that I had just had one yesterday. The nurse went away, presumably to get a fax of my EKG from my other doctor.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. My cardiologist ordered her own EKG.
Both EKG’s were normal. Our insurance company will be billed for two tests, one of which wasn’t necessary.
Paul Krugman points out that the US and Canada used to spend about the same amount on health care, but we don’t anymore. Our system, supposedly based on free market competition (and as many EKG’s as possible?), now costs more than Canada’s, even though the Canadian single-payer system gets better results and Canadians are happy with the health care they receive.