In a recent column, Dr. Willey advises that taking care of ourselves with healthy habits and just saying No to expensive procedures will fix the problem of excessive health care costs in our country. I'm surprised that a physician could think it's really that simple.

We have certainly tried to practice healthy habits and avoid expensive medical procedures at our house, believing that simple and healthy is best. My husband was moving into his seventies still hiking, backpacking, skiing, helping friends and family, and generally loving life.

But that didn't keep him from being diagnosed with lymphoma last year. He chose life and seems to be doing very well after chemo and radiation treatments. We are thankful for the science and medical advancements that gave him a chance to keep enjoying a meaningful life.

How many of us know the real costs of this standard medical care? Excluding "drug costs," we were billed $701,105.61 for his medical expenses in 2020. That's more than our combined life savings after a lifetime of working and frugal living. How can ordinary people be expected to pay this? Or should we just expect to die at age 70?

Luckily we have Medicare with supplemental insurance. The insurance company "negotiated" the costs to $95,774.80 of which our share was $6,700.00. $95,774.80 is 86% LESS than the original bill and a more fair charge that obviously must cover the actual cost of treatments and procedures. 

It seems to me that the For Profit medical system (for an excessive profit, at that) is actually the problem. Why can't a fair and reasonable price be charged in the first place? The costs should not vary depending upon the patient's insurance or lack thereof. This is also why we need Medicare for All in our country.

Pat Feuerborn,

Pocatello