What my $100,000 Appendectomy Taught Me About Our Broken Healthcare System

September 1, 2014
A few day ago I posted the story about my nearly $100,000 ($89,200 to be exact) appendectomy. The support I received has been nothing short of mind-blowing and heart warming. Thank you, most of all, for your warmth and incredibly kind words. That means the world to me. If you missed that post you can read it here: My $100,000 Appendectomy.

Because of you, we've sold over $500 worth of my product bundle which will go toward paying off the remainder of my medical bills. And that was over a holiday weekend when not many people opened their emails. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Please continue to share that post.

However, there's a much bigger issue here and that's our seriously broken healthcare system. While I was writing that article, I came across some disturbing information.

First, I'm not the only one to get hit with an astronomical bill for a routine appendectomy. This story went viral after the patient posted his bill for $55,000.

In a study done in 2012, researchers looked at nearly 20,000 "vanilla appendectomies." In other words, appendectomies on otherwise healthy people with no complications. The median cost across all 20,000 patients was $33,611. Not too bad when compared to my $89,200 bill. The the highest price in the study was an even more overwhelming $183,000 while
the lowest price was a head-scratching $1529. How could there be such dependency for such similar procedures?

Then I came across something called The Healthcare Bluebook, a site that gives you the "fair market value" for various healthcare services. According to their website, my surgery should have been a total of
$11,904, not including an overnight stay. They quote the "Physician fee" (removal of appendix using an endoscope) as just $1326.

The anesthesiologist, according to healthcarebluebook.com, should have been $810. Instead I was charged over $2,700. For my CAT Scan I was charged an astounding $10,984. That's $9,988 more than the purported market value according to The Healthcare Bluebook.

What happened to free markets? Are insurance companies gouging physicians and healthcare facilities so badly that they need to inflate prices to such an unfathomable degree? Or are they simply getting away with it because a majority of these bills are being paid by the insurance companies, and because of that, we're not really paying attention?

That raises another question: How much less would our insurance premiums cost if doctors and hospitals were made to really compete in an open market. What if the free markets truly prevailed?

Now, don't get me wrong, as I stated in my previous post, I was thrilled with my surgeon and moved to tears by the courtesy extended to me by his office. That said, the courtesy wasn't really $44,000, but a really good deal on what the market value should have been.

Still, there are many questions raised by this experience– questions I think we all need to start asking.

Once again, if you'd like to take advantage of my One Year Surgery Anniversary Sale on all of my products in one bundle, just click below (About $100 worth of stuff-- ebooks and the Primal Cooking Workshop).

Suggested donation is $20 but you can spend as little as 5 bucks to get the whole bundle. The shopping cart is set for $5 but if you'd like to pay more, simply click Add to Cart and change the quantity and click 'Update'. Example: Qty: 4 = $20.

Thanks again for all your support!

*This is a digital product and ebooks. No physical books will be mailed to you.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Because of my agreement with Amazon.com to sell my books, I need to stop selling this bundle ASAP. I'll try to keep it open through the weekend (Sept. 7) but it might have to come down earlier. Please take advantage of this deal while it's still available. Thanks.


My $100,000 Appendectomy.

August 30, 2014
A year ago this month I had one of the scariest events of my life. It was a Wednesday. I was in the bank talking to my account representative and getting things ready for my first big product launch (The Primal Cooking Workshop). I was excited and nervous. As usual, whenever I'm in that state, my gut let me know. I always get that "nervous stomach." At least, that’s what I chalked the pain in my abdomen up to–nerves.

As the day went on and the pain grew, I began to suspect this had nothing...

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Thyroid (That Might Be Harming Your Health)

May 8, 2014
Every week I get emails from people asking questions about the thyroid. It's no surprise with nearly 200 million people world-wide dealing with some kind of thyroid disorder.


Here are some surprising facts that you might not be aware of.

1. Your thyroid can affect your LDL Cholesterol

When your thyroid is functioning properly, it sends a signal to your liver to upregulate LDL cell receptors. Those receptors pull LDL Cholesterol out of your blood, which your liver uses to make bile so y...

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Book Review: Solving The Paleo Equation

February 10, 2014

“Solving The Paleo Equation” has all the ingredients of a truly great health book: food and sex and spectacle and carbs... and ‘80s movie references.

It also has bacon bashing which kind of sucks. Dammit, Stone! Don’t harsh my mellow!

Actually it’s saying something when a book that generally recommends being pretty chill about food makes one huge exception: Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA). Along with recommending we avoid vegetable and seed oils, which I completely and totally...

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8 Most Common GMO Foods (some of these might surprise you)

December 19, 2013
Over the past few year there has been a significant increase in the amount of GMO foods, particularly in the US. Below is an updated list of the most common foods-- some you already know about, others might be surprising.

You're likely aware of the first four GMO foods, but did you know about the last three? Leave me a comment and let me know if your were surprised or not.

1. Corn

Approximately 85% of non organic corn is genetically modified. Corn is modified to resist the poison... er,  herbic...

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6 Foods You're Not Eating on a Paleo Diet and Probably Should Be

December 11, 2013
This isn’t an article about what is or is not “paleo.” The “is it paleo” discussion is SO 10,000 years ago! A couple of these foods fall squarely within the paleo template but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating them. And if you’re not, you probably should be, providing you tolerate them.

The other foods are, at best, a gray area for most paleo dieters with those who are the most strict about their eating habits avoiding them completely.

In some cases, perfectly heal...

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I have a confession to make and a story to tell you...

December 1, 2013

This is probably the most honest and transparent blog I've ever written. Please read.


I didn’t write my book Sow for you. I wrote it for me. Let me explain.

Did you know when I originally launched The Definitive Way to go Gluten Free it only sold 55 copies?

Yep, that’s it. I spent 7 months researching, reading studies and writing that book. Then editing and rewriting and rewriting again. It was a ton of work.

The day of the launch I was incredibly excited. I expe...

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What do your food cravings mean?

November 26, 2013
When you have severe food cravings it can be a sign of a serious nutrient deficiency.

OR... It's could just mean that you should eat what you're craving because it tastes good!

I'm not trying to downplay the fact that some people have some real issues with food. I have no doubt some folks may even crave the very foods that are harming their health. For many folks however, I don't think that's the case.

I see many otherwise very healthy people completely and neurotically overanalyze their cravin...

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6 Foods to (Almost) Completely Remove From Your Diet

October 30, 2013

1. Vegetable Oils (including soybean, canola and corn oils)

Why: These oils are loaded with rancid and inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). They’re not only a cause of inflammation, but also oxidative stress, obesity, neurological disorders and more.

What to choose instead:
Opt for healthy, natural fats like butter, olive oil or coconut oil. These fats and oils are packed with nutrients and can even protect you from disease. You can even choose natural fats like lard or tallow wh...

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Sugar is going to murder you dead!

October 18, 2013
If we in the alternative or holistic health space want to be taken seriously, we’ve got to do better that this.

There are no absolutes in nutrition. What’s true for one person, or one population, will not be true for another.

We can not say sugar CAUSES diabetes or heart problems or... wrinkles? Really? Where’s the research on that?

Sugar does not make you nervous or fat.

The idea that sugar makes you fat is particularly counter productive. It serves to instill more guilt in someone that...

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About Me

Joe Rignola, HHC, FDN Joe Rignola is an author, Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist and Health Counselor. More importantly, I hate talking in the 3rd person. I'm really just a guy who took control of my own health and overcame several ailments including metabolic disorders, digestive issues, depression and ADD. Actually, my recovery from ADD however is questionable.