Health Care Rising from the Ashes

by | Oct 25, 2019 | Archives

More care in health care is a big reason I like small towns.

There is plenty of fuss about the problems of America’s heath care.  Quite rightly in my opinion.

As bad as the system might be, at least health care in small towns has (or at least seems like it has) more care.

Merri and I drove up to our Ashe county farm to celebrate my 73rd birthday.

The leaf change was late this year, but as this photo from our front yard shows, glorious.

The color’s turn came suddenly.  This day there was still a lot of green.


Next day, much more gold!

gary scott

The days are cool so I leave my shirt on, but I have to be honest… when the sun’s out, I love rambling around the forest shirtless or in a thin short sleeve T-shirt.

Now sun screen either.  I used to live that way in Ecuador as well, at high altitudes in intense sun.

I know. I know, this is a dermatologic nightmare.

In addition, the genetic makeup my ancestors passed on did not prepare me to live in high altitude, sunny places, so over the past 30 years, I have encountered numerous basal and squamous cell lesions and a melanoma.

I dealt with the first such incidence, a basal cell on my ear, in Ecuador decades ago.  An oncologist in Quito stuck on some thick gloves, took a rod (I assume was radioactive) and held it on my ear.  He timed this with a clock and it burned my ear pretty good.   The lesion went away, but later came back with a vengeance.  Then we tried a black, bloodroot based salve.  That really did the job.

That’s one thing I love about Ecuador… the care in health care not to mention the reasonable prices.

However I digress.  This missive is about health care in Smalltown USA.

There were no more skin problems for decades, but my son kept bugging me about a black spot on my back.  I finally visited a dermatologist in a large Florida city.  The biopsy determined it was a melanoma.   That dermatologist’s office was run like a meat processing plant, huge crowd, very impersonal, receptionists shouting out numbers and though I chose to pay for the visit in cash, I noted that the practice also tried to collect a second time from Medicare.

I passed on that dermatologist’s offer to assist and found a small  dermatology practice in Lake county.

They were gentle, caring, quiet and removed both the melanoma and a basal cell in one simple procedure and the cost (a couple hundred dollars) seemed very reasonable to me.  I don’t like or use health insurance and paid on the spot.

After this incidence, I started having exams every year and after a couple of years a couple of basal cells and one squamous cell lesions were spotted.

Regrettably the Lake county dermatologist’s practice had changed, either bought out by a company or merged with other doctors.

Instead of one, easy procedure, I was informed I had to come in separately for each procedure.  The cost was much, much higher, about $450 each for two of the procedures and as much as $1,000 for the third, a Mohs treatment. The Moh’s price depended on how many layers the surgeon had to remove.

The cost I was told could be as much as $1,900.

Plus I had to pay half the estimate  in advance.

“Fair enough” I thought. The price was a lot higher than before and the financial officer providing the quote was too harsh, demanding… it was like I was being scolded or suspected of not paying.  Believe me the payment was not a problem.  I had always paid previously on the spot.

So be it.  I paid the half and set up three appointments over upcoming months for the three procedures.

After the three procedures, I expected the bill to be less than $1,900 as the Mohs surgeon removed everything in one layer… a ten minute job at the most.

So I was surprised when the bill arrived in the mail and was a little more than the maximum $1,900 that had been quoted.

I called to ask… “why more than the quote”.  This is where events began to go horribly wrong in my opinion.   The person I was questioning on the phone was hostile… demeaning, rude, treating me like someone who was trying to avoid paying.

I’m stuck with this old time attitude that the customer is always right and asked to speak to a supervisor.   The person simply hung up.

That was bad enough, but then another bill arrived demanding $700 more, we were at $2,600 for a $1,900 quote and I couldn’t get an adequate explanation.

After several phone calls failed to get me to someone who could explain the bill, I wrote and used a time proven tactic…  “Explain or I won’t pay”.   That worked and I received a written reply filled with medical coding that honestly was meaningless to a layman.

All I understood was… the quote… $1,900 at the worst.  The bill… $2,600 and less than the worst had been required.

I  gave up and paid.  Life is too short to prolong a squabble over less than a thousand bucks.

But I was irked, so when when the next exam ($250 just for the exam) produced two more basal cell carcinomas and the staff started the same harsh procedure of quotes, separate appointments and payments in advance.

I decided to stop being their customer.

I wanted a doctor who treated me, with care as a person, not like a number to be processed in a system.

Shortly after, when we came to the farm, I got a referral from a friend and went in for an exam at a dermatologist in Boone North Carolina.

At the first exam, I was told, “we are not going to charge you today since we did nothing.   We’ll call you as soon as we get you records from the Florida dermatologist.”

No charge?  That was nice.  Not so much the savings as the thought.

A week later the Boone dermatologist called and said they had the records and could make an appointment to perform a simple procedure.  I was already in Boone getting new glasses when the call came in.  I asked, “any chance I could come now?”

After a short hold, the receptionist replied, “if you can come before 12:15, we’ll do it now”.

The time was 11:30 and I was ten minutes from the dermatologist’ office so off I drove.

Ten minutes after that, I was in.  16 minutes later an electrodesiccation and curettage had removed both carcinomas.  I paid the total bill of $162 and was done.  Compare that to $1,000, (half in advance and who knows what the bill would really have been) and the time to attend two procedures, plus the pettiness and hostility of being passed from department to department… finance, appointments etc… like on a conveyor belt.

More important was the feeling of friendliness and care.

I have been to both emergency rooms in Ashe county and Lake county for treatments of the stupid gene (chain saw cuts, falling from trees etc.)

The friendliness, care and personal attention seemed far more caring in Ashe county.

ashe county

Ashe county memorial

lake county

Adventhealth Waterman hospital Lake county

I don’t think that this little Ashe county hospital has as many facilities as in Florida, but from my perspective, health care should have a lot of care and be a practice, not a business.

I do my best to avoid the evidence based allopathic medical system.  But when it’s needed… it’s needed.

My experience is that I have felt “cared for” in Ashe county but “subjected to” in Lake county.

There is a quote:  A wise physician said – The best medicine is LOVE.  Someone asked – What if it doesn’t work?  He smiled and answered – Increase the dose.”

Both Ashe county and Lake county are parts of Smalltown USA, but Florida as more people, far more non natives and is growing faster.

I have talked about with many friends who live both in Ashe county North Carolina and in Florida (during the winter).  One friend who is a 6th generation Ashe county resident perhaps had the best insight.

“We are just one generation away from subsistence living, so friendliness, cooperation and common sense are still hardwired  in the population, PLUS the health care givers are mostly likely related to or at grew up with half the people they treat.”

Merri and I love living in both Ashe county North Carolina and Lake county Florida, but most of the residents in Florida are strangers to each other.  In Ashe county they are life long neighbors.

We focus on healthy living rather than health care, but when allopathic medicine is required, we’ll be heading to the mountains.

Treatments of sincere care don’t rise from the ashes in Ashe county.  They never left.


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Dining room tables we worked from (and we also sold the tables for a profit).

You’ll even learn how to turn dining room tables into income and tax deductions as we have with these dining room tables we build out of local wood.

Let me be clear.  I expect that the world will get better, at least for the few who adapt and avoid the dangers that the changes from the COVID pandemic will bring. 

The wealth of the world, albeit with inequality, will continue to grow.  This collapse of the global economy will bring an incredible new opportunity for those who know what to do.  Thes profit making avenues offer enormous income potential and even work well in disaster scenarios.

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This is a great health root.  The demand is growing especially in China.  At times good dried Ginseng sells for $1,000 a pound!  This is an incredible and easy crop to grow.   The less care you give it, the more valuable it can become.  Yet if everything goes south, the health qualities will be good to have and make it an excellent barter item.  Once you know what to do with ginseng, it’s easy to grow in your back yard.

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goldenseal ginseng

Ginseng we grew in our back yard.  I know about growing ginseng through experience and explain why and how in the report “Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere”.

Loquats are another example of an easy to grow crop that help promote natural health.


Here I am by one of the many loquat trees at our Florida farm.

Loquats are a great fruit for making jam and such, but the loquat leaf has amazing medicinal qualities.  Its is a registered medicine in China and due to its anti viral and respiratory system enhancing qualities has an especially  growing demand right now.   The images below from show that the leaves sell for about a dollar per leaf!

I have many trees on the farm but started growing loquat seedlings last year.


Loquat leaf tea has become really important during the pandemic due to its respiratory strengthening qualities.

I have been drinking a lot of home made loquat leaf tea during the pandemic.

The report “Live Anywere-Earn Everywhere” shows specific places that reduce your living expenses, easily increases your income, makes you smarter, healthier and provides tax benefits as well. 

There are specific places where property is especially inexpensive, now because previous owners do not know about the special qualities created by the pandemic.

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Here are some of the experiences this report shares:

The report includes a tax and career plan broken into four age groups, before you finish school, from age 25 to 50 – age 50-to 65 and what to do when you reach the age where tradition wants you to re-tire.  (Another clue-you do not need to retire and probably should not).

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The report shows how to buy cheap north facing slopes and create an income producing tiny home for $29,000 or less.

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Fwd: gary-scott-tipis

  • See ways that small businesses like Tipi rentals can be enhanced by the pandemic but also create BIG tax savings as well as extra income.  For more than 30 years Merri and I have enjoyed a strong six figure income, some years more, in the millions.  Yet there have been very few years when we had to pay federal income tax.  The report lays out a three structure program and how it is used when you are in school (up to age 30), then from 25 to 50, 50 to 70  and beyond 70.   Learn why Chapter C corporations and pensions can be better than the normally recommended Chapter S.  See how new mileage log rules gives you a possible opportunity to increase your tax deductions using IRS Form 4562.  Using a two-vehicle strategy you can gain $12,976 in new deductions even if you do not have to drive one mile further or spend one additional penny on your car.
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Our North Carolina greenhouse.

gary scott greenhouse

Our Florida greenhouse.

  • There are similar benefits from having a second home office defined in IRS publication 463 and IRS publication 587, even if your desk is a dining room table.  The report also shows how your dining room table can become an actual income producer as its creates a huge tax deduction at the same time, not to mention a great place to eat, work and lay out plans for a brighter, safer more lucrative and enjoyable future.
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  • How changes in cell phone and internet technology eliminated the need to be in one place.   An old law that creates new opportunity for small business in small towns is available to everyone.
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merrily farms

This pond we created at our farm brought us pleasure but also helped create a safe, healthy food supply, extra income and a tax deduction as well.

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