great topic--what's even worse is that when you get that 20% discount, you are *STILL* paying much more than what the doctor gets from the insurance company. If the specialists' official rate is $200 and you're paying $160, the insurance company would have reimbursed him/her probably $87.89. Hospitals are much worse--if you are uninsured, NEVER pay without haggling. You really get shafted in this country w/o insurance!
Another thing new NYC arrivals should know: check your facts before blaming rent control. 2 percent of NYC apts are rent-controlled. about 45 percent are rent-stabilized, which is a very different thing, and the vacancy rate on these is the same as for any other type of apartment.