Finding bargains in medical care

As reluctant, but very active, members of what has been described as the aging of America, our family is concerned about the medical system.

We marvel at what today’s medical establishment can do. Between the wife and us, there are more new hips, knees and shoulders than you can shake a stick at (if you are into stick-shaking). What used to be arguments about mundane things like children and checkbooks now are more probably about whose turn it is to use the cane.

We are baby boomers and we are far removed from being babies. Medicine is a daily part of our lives, so the cost of it is a major concern.

But not every marvelous medical gadget is outrageously priced. While the cost of a knee may be more than we spent on our first house, there are items like the “sockputeroner” that are very reasonable.

What, you may ask, is a “sockputeroner”? Basically, it is an 18-inch curved piece of plastic with a rope attached to one end. You put a sock on the nonrope end, put your foot into the curved plastic and pull on the rope. Voila, you have a sock on! If you have a new hip or knee, you can accomplish one of the most difficult parts of getting dressed unassisted.

The components of a “sockputeroner” probably cost a combined 80 cents. You can buy one assembled from a health care equipment provider for about $10. Or you can probably purchase it directly from your hospital for around $300 (Medicare-covered, of course).

The “sockputeroner” may be the greatest invention since the electric corkscrew. We mention it today because there are people with new joints who – unbelievably – have never heard of it.

So while all of us await the implementation – or the further stalling – of Obamacare and the ensuing effects on medical costs, we can take solace in one unassailable fact: No matter what the government does to (or for) our medical bills, thanks to the “sockputeroner,” we’ll all be able to get through it with warm feet.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.