I recently went to a Park Nicollet walk-in clinic because of an inflamed bug bite on my shoulder. I was worried it might be a deer tick and that I could be at risk for Lyme disease.

I was in an examination room for about 10 minutes. I was seen by a doctor rather than a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. She looked at the bite and took the remains of the bug out with a needle or tweezers -- I don't remember which.

She confirmed that it wasn't a deer tick and sent me on my way with a prescription for an antibiotic, "just in case." The bill: $505 for 10 minutes -- $146 to walk in the door; $359 to remove the remains of the bug.

As we debate health care with or without the Affordable Care Act, it seems to me that the providers themselves have to step up. No discussion about malpractice insurance or student loans can justify more than $500 for a 10-minute visit of such a minor nature.

The providers must lower their rates.