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Land where calling an ambulance is first step to bankruptcy
The Guardian | 4th November 2003 | Julian Borger

Posted on 11/05/2003 3:15:59 PM PST by Taff

The second in a three-part series on Bush's America looks at the inflated hospital bills facing the uninsured poor

Julian Borger Tuesday November 4, 2003 The Guardian

Rose Shaffer's heart attack taught her a lot of things that, as a nurse, she should have known. She learnt it pays to eat carefully and exercise regularly. And she learnt the hard way that if you cannot afford medical insurance in America, you better hope you don't get sick. A Chicago hospital saved Mrs Shaffer's life but she feels it is now trying to take it back. Since that frantic October night three years ago, the hospital owners, a Christian, non-profit foundation, have hounded her for crushing bills she could not afford, partly because as an uninsured patient she had been charged double.

The hospital sent debt collectors after her who called her all hours of the night, at home and work, until she gave in and was forced into bankruptcy. Now, at the age most people are thinking of retiring, she has to work long hours seven days a week at a nursing agency for the next three years to have any hope of holding on to her last asset, a suburban bungalow.

"When I was young I thought that, when you reach 60, if you don't have anything, then you're nothing. Well, I'm 63 and I don't have nothing, and I'm not going to get anything," Mrs Shaffer said, sitting at her kitchen table sifting through some of her latest bills.

"The whole system is messed up. In this country the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and no matter how much you work, you're going to get poorer."

In the US today, there are nearly 44 million people in her position - without medical insurance in a country that does not guarantee basic healthcare - and the crisis is deepening. In the three years since George Bush took office, the ranks of the uninsured have risen by 10%, or four million people. The government will pay if you are destitute but not if you earn enough to keep above the poverty line - about $18,000 (£10,600) for a family of four. In theory, employers are supposed to provide health insurance but more opt not to, and buying cover individually is either very expensive or impossible if you have a "pre-existing condition".

Consequently, 15% of the population, most of them the working poor, live in the fear that an accident or sudden illness could plunge them into debt. The uninsured will typically put off going to see a doctor in the hope that their medical problems will pass. They tend to seek treatment only when their condition is critical.

Almost everyone in US politics, including all the candidates in the presidential campaign, agree the situation is unacceptable but differ widely on how to fix it. A succession of presidents, from Harry Truman more than half a century ago to Bill Clinton in 1993, have floated grand schemes for achieving universal healthcare coverage, but each time they have been defeated by resistance from the medical profession, employers and the tax-averse.

"I think the problem is the extent of income redistribution it would take to make it happen," said Karen Davis, the head of the Commonwealth Fund, an independent health and social policy foundation. "The greatest sentiment for change comes when the economy is bad, but that's also when resources are at their shortest."

There are public hospitals across America, but their size and number are tiny compared to the scale of the problem. Chicago has Cook County hospital which is overwhelmed in most departments by the sheer volume of needy patients. But it does have a world class emergency room and excellent trauma specialists.

Rose Shaffer, however, did not have the good fortune to suffer her heart attack near the Cook County ER. The ambulance did what it was supposed to - take her to the nearest trauma centre, at South Suburban hospital, part of a Lutheran-run chain called Advocate Health Care. Two days later, she was transferred to another Advocate hospital, Christ medical centre.

Charity

Christ's is the biggest hospital in its region, and its illuminated cross soars over Chicago's southern suburbs like a beacon - a vivid symbol of what President Bush calls faith-based charity. As a non-profit organisation Christ's is supposed to offer care to the needy, but there is no state requirement for just how much charity it should mete out. Mrs Shaffer said that when she was recovering from her heart attack, a hospital official told her she would be sent application forms for charity assistance. They never came. Instead, she received a bill for $18,000 - $6,000 for each day she spent at Christ's.

According to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which has investigated Advocate and other "charitable" hospitals in the Chicago area, Mrs Shaffer's bill would only have been $8,500 if she had been insured. Medical insurance firms typically negotiate heavily discounted rates for clients. The uninsured have no such leverage, and according to SEIU's hospital accountability project, end up paying on average 139% more than the insured. Joseph Geevarghese, the project director, said: "When these people go to hospital they lose their home." The hospitals often see the uninsured ("self-pay" in the jargon) as a profit opportunity. In the words of an industry consultant, Michael Zimmerman, "self-pay now stands alone as the financial category that will provide the biggest bank for the buck".

"It can and should be a cash cow for the hospitals, but it is not," Mr Zimmerman wrote in a newsletter for hospital administrators. He argues hospitals are not being tough enough when it comes to debt collection from patients.

Mrs Shaffer said there was no lack of enthusiasm in her hospital's pursuit of her money. "The collection people were real nasty," she complained. "They'd call on Sunday, they'd call at 9 o'clock at night. They'd call on the job. My voicemail was full. It was harassment."

Advocate says it is no more aggressive than any other hospital. In fact, according to Ed Domansky, a chain spokesman, the hospital is obliged by federal law to make "reasonable efforts" to collect debts, and to maintain a uniform price structure, which does not allow giving automatic discretionary discounts to the uninsured. The SEIU, he said, was picking on Advocate hospital because it was seeking to organise its workers, and he pointed out the chain had recently expanded its charity care, and made more effort to inform the uninsured about its availability.

"This is not just an issue in one hospital or one state," Mr Domansky said. "We believe the federal regulations on hospital billing make the plight of the uninsured worse, and we would welcome change."

Deep trouble

It is not just the uninsured who can end up impoverished. Richard Roche thought he had insurance. His employer, a cab company, did not provide it, so he paid more than $400 a month for his own policy. When he had to have a growth removed from his windpipe, his insurer agreed to pay only a fraction of the cost. The hospital went after him rather than the insurer and the bills eventually forced the 61-year-old into bankruptcy. He had to sell his house and cashed in his life insurance. "They got me. Once you get sick - that's it. You're in deep trouble."

Ronald Pollack, the head of a Washington pressure group, Families USA, said: "This problem reaches deeper and deeper into middle class and working families. For most Americans it has gone from an issue of altruism for a discrete, disadvantaged population, to an issue of self-interest."

The crisis has become an issue in the presidential campaign. Remedies vary in cost and ambition, from schemes to expand Medicaid and Medicare (the government-funded schemes for the destitute and elderly) to cover the rest of the uninsured, financed by repealing the Bush administration's tax cuts, to the far more modest market-oriented proposals put forward by the White House itself, based on tax breaks for the self-insured.

History suggests that, whoever is elected, little will change. The hospital business and the $400bn insurance industry have too much to lose, as do corporate employers who would be asked to foot much of the bill.

Much like an uninsured patient, the US knows there is something wrong, but it is unable so far to face the cost of the cure.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: breachbirthanoxia; bush; health; ozonealert; poverty; sandwichshyofpicnic; syphilliticdementia; takeyourmeds; troll; usa
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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1 posted on 11/05/2003 3:16:00 PM PST by Taff
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To: Taff
So let me get this staight.

The hospital industry and the insurance companies don't want to make money, they want to spend their time calling old people in the middle of the night and forcing them into bankruptcy?

I had no idea.
2 posted on 11/05/2003 3:20:07 PM PST by Az Joe
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To: Az Joe
Pure socialist agit-prop (neo Stalinist propaganda).

No mention of how the US rat party fights every effort by the Republicans to expand private health insurance to cover the general populace, no mention of how most ERs/hospitals are being utterly bankrupted by illegal invaders (oops I meant "immigrants"), and no mention of how the rat party's major financiers, Trial Lawyers Inc., are destroying access to care and sending costs to the moon (or perhaps Uranus)!

(/rant)

3 posted on 11/05/2003 3:27:51 PM PST by friendly (Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.)
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To: Taff
What's your opinion, Taff?
4 posted on 11/05/2003 3:28:55 PM PST by glock rocks (molon labe)
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To: Taff
...the hospital owners, a Christian, non-profit foundation, have hounded her for crushing bills she could not afford, partly because as an uninsured patient she had been charged double.
And for all these years I always thought it was hospital policy to charge double for those of us WITH insurance.
5 posted on 11/05/2003 3:29:32 PM PST by oh8eleven
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To: Taff
The hospital went after him rather than the insurer and the bills eventually forced the 61-year-old into bankruptcy. He had to sell his house and cashed in his life insurance.

Something smells a little here. You don't lose your house in bankruptcy.

6 posted on 11/05/2003 3:30:37 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill
In Tennessee you only get to keep $5000-7000 equity in your home. I don't know where she is from.
7 posted on 11/05/2003 3:34:37 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: Taff
Lesson here, call from cell from down the street from house, pretend you barely speak English, give fake name to hospital administration. Something like Candelaria Martinez.
8 posted on 11/05/2003 3:34:41 PM PST by riri
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To: Az Joe
There is a problem, even if this article is biased towards the socialist solution. No one in this country knows what medical care really costs or ought to cost because of all of the cost shifting and side dealing that goes on. One of the things I remember that Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises said about socialism is that, as an economic system, it has to fail because there is no way to calculate costs and therefore resources are massively misallocated.

In the US, there are all sorts of prices--different ones for insurance companies that cut deals, different ones for government programs like Medicare, and vastly higher "list prices." If you have to pay list price because you are not in a special group, you are screwed!

That said, in countries with completely socialized single payer systems, the situation isn't much different on a societal level, but it is different on a personal level. Because the government medical bureaus centrally mandate all prices, there is no competition. There is massive misallocation of resources, and the country's medical capital (hospitals, trained doctors, pharmaceutical innovations) is slowly bled down and not really kept up. This results in poor medical care, and the rationing of care, but unless you are rich enough to completely buck the system--say by going to the private wing of an American hospital--you don't notice, because everyone is in the same boat.

Here, medicine is largely, but not totally socialized. As a consequence, it is all f**ked up, but it hits some people much harder than others, because they may fall in and out of a socialized, protected group--as by losing their employer-paid health insurance. Since the medical business isn't totally controlled, there is still innovation and profit seeking. However, it is obvious to a lot of talented young people that being a lawyer, or even a dentist, is a better deal than being a doctor.

Another rant item for me concerns the issue of pharmaceutical pricing. The US government limits patent rights for drug companies due to the long and inefficient FDA drug approval process. Therefore, the drug companies have to charge very high prices to recoup their investments before the generics take over. Embarassed, the more opportunistic state governments claim that they can best serve their citizens by buying the marginal production of the harried drug companies' marginal international production in Canada or Mexico. And, Bush taxes us to give away AIDS drugs, thereby shortening their effective useful life span.

No, things aren't good in the UK, but we're not such a great medical model for the world either.

9 posted on 11/05/2003 3:36:16 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: friendly
My wife had surgery recently. The surgery would have cost her $5000 had she not been insured. But it only cost the insurance company $2000, because the insurance company had negotiated rates. How is that possibly fair that when an insurance company pays for a surgery they only pay 40% of what a person who doesn't have insurance pays?

The insurance industry has so tilted rates, that you are required to buy insurance just to be able to afford care. You can't afford to go it alone, because they do charge you double. That's not right.

There are anti-trust laws on the books that ought to address this, but nobody is enforcing them.
10 posted on 11/05/2003 3:39:02 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: Pearls Before Swine
However, it is obvious to a lot of talented young people that being a lawyer, or even a dentist, is a better deal than being a doctor.

the lawyer racket is driving many doctors to the wall with malpractice insurance costs. parasites killing the golden goose of the best medical system there is (and soon to be was). tort reform would go a long way towards saving our health care before the devout hillarycare marxists truly get latched onto it.

11 posted on 11/05/2003 3:41:02 PM PST by glock rocks (no animals were harmed in the posting of this reply)
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To: Taff
What's your opinion, Taff?
12 posted on 11/05/2003 3:42:33 PM PST by glock rocks (molon labe)
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To: Taff
In Britain you can't get health care, but it is free.
13 posted on 11/05/2003 3:46:09 PM PST by Agnes Heep
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To: glock rocks
Bump for a major truth detector. Glock does indeed rock!
14 posted on 11/05/2003 3:46:21 PM PST by friendly (Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.)
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To: DannyTN
If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it is free!
15 posted on 11/05/2003 3:47:16 PM PST by friendly (Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.)
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To: DannyTN
Happy to hear you could find a surgeon who accepts less than half his usual and customary fees. Speaking for this surgeon I could not do that and pay my overhead. Hope your wife had a good outcome. When I get to the point of continuing practice or being forced to accept 40% of my fees I will begin my retirement.
16 posted on 11/05/2003 4:00:38 PM PST by strongbow
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To: strongbow
No we had insurance.

The point is that all health care providers raise their usual and customary fees because there are so many networks that negotiate rates to be 60% of usual and customary.

thus if you need $1000 you charge $1700, so you can get a decent rate from the network. Then Joe Uninsured comes in and he gets socked for $1700 for something that should have only cost $1000.

A surgery should cost the same regardless of who is paying.


17 posted on 11/05/2003 4:06:49 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: strongbow
The other thing that I think is wrong is the way we pay for people who can't pay.

I'm not opposed to helping out with care for the poor and indigent. I am opposed to paying for illegal aliens.

But if the surgery cost $1000. But 50% of the people can't pay. Then they charge $2000 to those who can.

That's wrong. If the government is going to make healtcare providers provide free care, then the government should pick up the tab for those individuals, not the next person needing care.
18 posted on 11/05/2003 4:10:30 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN
A surgery should cost the same regardless of who is paying.

You can thank the feds, who forced hospitals to provide services regardless of the patients' ability to pay.

At our local hospital where my wife works, over half of the "customers" do not pay. The paying customers pick up the slack.

Also, the paying customers are allowed to pay $10 per month on a $50,000 surgery, with no interest charges.

Even more absurd, they don't offer a discount for cash up front.

19 posted on 11/05/2003 4:17:22 PM PST by snopercod (My Indian name is "Runs With Chainsaw".)
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To: DannyTN
I would love to get the same fees from every patient regardless of his ability to pay. I frequently lower or eliminate certain fees to allow older or uninsured patients to afford my care. Yet my confiscatory masters in Washington don't credit me that when it comes time to pay taxes. Those taxes then go to further socialized medical care to lower my fees even further. Loved the ending to Atlas Shrugged, many in medical care are tempted to do the same. This is not Britain where a fellow with twelve to fourteen years of post high school sacrifice and sweat will work for a pittance.
20 posted on 11/05/2003 4:18:00 PM PST by strongbow
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To: Taff; Fierce Allegiance; VRWCmember
Yo, Taff...

Did you just sign up to post this predictable "parade the homeless and uninsured" leftist drivel that any breathing conservative could have found with no trouble on CBS, DU, Salon or the Denver Post during an election of an incumbent republican president?

Did you come here to offer opinion and solutions, or just annoy (read: troll)?

What's your opinion, Taff?

21 posted on 11/05/2003 4:20:02 PM PST by glock rocks (molon labe)
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To: DannyTN
Ugh. That's rough - in some states (Washington and California come to mind) your house is protected if it's your primary residence.
22 posted on 11/05/2003 4:20:09 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Taff

Taff?


23 posted on 11/05/2003 4:36:44 PM PST by glock rocks (molon labe)
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To: glock rocks
tort reform would go a long way towards saving our health care..

I couldn't agree more, although its not the only problem.

24 posted on 11/05/2003 4:45:20 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Taff
This is nothing but lies from UK morons that want to keep pretending their system is better when it's far, far worse.

I could waste time telling my story of being in a bad car accident when I had let my insurance lapse for 90 days and the great treatment I got. I even was allowed to pay the $15,000 cost (I got a new left ankle...they had the technology, they could rebuild me...and it's a great weather predictor) over a long period of time at $150 a month with NO interest cost or harassment. And I got the greatest care at the Vanderbilt trauma unit.

I get so incensed when I hear "if you don't have insurance in America, you better not get sick" Bull hockey.
25 posted on 11/05/2003 4:49:15 PM PST by Fledermaus (I'm a conservative...not necessarily a Republican.)
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To: Taff
I like how the author states that unisured people have risen 10% under Bush's watch. What a moron. That could easily be due to the millions laid off due to the Clinton/Gore recession.
26 posted on 11/05/2003 4:51:54 PM PST by dc27
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To: Billthedrill
"That's rough - in some states (Washington and California come to mind) your house is protected if it's your primary residence."

Washington chapter 7 bankruptcy laws protect $16,000 of your house's equity in a community state. 1/2 that amount if you're single.

You can do like most, pull all the equity out 8-12 months prior to filing.

27 posted on 11/05/2003 5:01:35 PM PST by bigfootbob
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To: Taff
Usual Guardian drivel.

How about my two most recent family hospitalization experiences?

I have a sister that was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She did not have health insurance, and was unable to work while undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. She went to MD Anderson -- rated #1 or #2 cancer hospital in the country (depending on the year -- they seem to switch back and forth), and established that she was unable to afford treatment. She was fully covered under a special program there.

My husband had a heart attack one morning. He was stabilized at a local emergency room and then transfered to the Heart Center at Methodist Hospital for follow-up care and stent implant. We were taken to his room as soon as he arrived, and were soon visited by a member of their social work department. They were there just to tell us that we would qualify for free care if our income was less than twice the federal poverty limit. Fortunately, we have health insurance so we did not need their aid; but if we did, it was there, and they brought it to our attention as soon as they possibly could.

Both of these hospitals are part one of the (if not THE) largest medical complex in the world. All teaching hospitals, all state of the art, all cutting edge. People come in from all over the world to get care at these hospitals. These were not "public clinics" that give minimal care or given the patient "just enough to get by." And they don't make patients wait in line to receive care.

Just the other side of the story that one will never hear from the Guardian.
28 posted on 11/05/2003 5:05:37 PM PST by RedWhiteBlue
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To: Taff
This article is bogus. A nurse has med insurance as part of her employment, unless she was unemployed. Hospitals don't charge the uninsured double. The best this propaganda piece can do to justify double is to compare her charges against the discounts of a PPO, or even what medicaid pays. The hospital owners, The Avocates, are not a "Christian, non-profit foundation,", they are a for prophet company headquartered in Memphis, TN I think. They supply abortion on demand and their nurses have testified in the US Congress that their docs required the nurses to dump and let die live babies that were abtained from abortion procedures.

"The hospital sent debt collectors after her who called her all hours of the night, at home and work, until she gave in and was forced into bankruptcy. "They'd call on Sunday, they'd call at 9 o'clock at night. They'd call on the job. My voicemail was full. It was harassment."

BS, the collection idiots are allowed one contact every 2 weeks by law in IL. Anything more is a crime and this "nurse" could sue for the entire amount if their's any truth to what she says at all.

Bush's America my butt. This is pure unadulterated socialist Eurocrap.

29 posted on 11/05/2003 5:30:45 PM PST by spunkets
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To: spunkets; Taff
This is pure unadulterated socialist Eurocrap.

Hey, Taff, what's your opinion of the pure unadulterated solialist eurocrap you post here?

What's the frequency, Taff?

30 posted on 11/05/2003 6:25:56 PM PST by glock rocks (molon labe)
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To: DannyTN
How is that possibly fair that when an insurance company pays for a surgery they only pay 40% of what a person who doesn't have insurance pays?

The insurance company is getting a volume discount. It sends all its customers--er, that is, patients--to some designated hospital(s). In exchange the hospital charges the insurance company slightly less. Perfectly normal capitalist business practice.

31 posted on 11/05/2003 6:47:04 PM PST by Capriole (Foi vainquera)
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To: Capriole; DannyTN
That's a PPO.
32 posted on 11/05/2003 6:50:13 PM PST by spunkets
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To: Billthedrill
Something smells a little here. You don't lose your house in bankruptcy.

And I believe that insurance is an exempt asset.

33 posted on 11/05/2003 6:51:40 PM PST by Labyrinthos
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To: friendly
You got it! Supply and demand. Millions of illegals chasing limited medical resources drives the price up.Further, we have to pay taxes to support the little b*st*rds. Again we are screwed by our office holders! How long until the elastic limit is exceeded?
34 posted on 11/05/2003 6:56:35 PM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (Further, the statement assumed)
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To: spunkets
You're right. I don't think that a very large percentage of this article is accurate. But what do you expect from the Guardian?

I am a medical editor and I work for a company that does research for the US Public Health Service, among other government health-related entities. For the past seven years we have been creating the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which is an ongoing study of health care practices in the United States, what they cost, and who is paying how much for what. I analyze medical records all day long and study the outcomes of cases, both medical and economic. Participants in the study are chosen to demographically represent the US health-care consumer accurately.

Over and over, tens of thousands of times each year, we see the same stories repeated: the indigent Latino getting a $25000 cardiac catheterization at one of the nation's finest medical centers and not being billed for it; Medicaid pays the medical center $1200 and the cardiologists $300, and both hospital and doctors eat the difference. The elderly lady spending a month in the hospital, running up a $150K tab, and not being billed for it; the hospital accepts the Medicare payment because that's all it can get. The millions of poor children getting excellent care in major outpatient clinics and being asked only for a $5 copay when they get $2000 worth of lab work done.

And even the patients who don't have Medicare or Medicaid but just can't afford to pay often simply walk away from their bills. The hospitals are not at all aggressive about pursuing them, and a year later, when we're looking into their compensation, the hospitals' patient accounts departments just shrug and say, "We've written it off." I very rarely see evidence of patients working assiduously to pay off every dime over a period of months or years.

I no longer believe all the horror stories about people being denied care or being driven into bankruptcy. Most people confronted with overwhelming bills seem to Just Say No to the hospital. I would only urge them to pay their separate doctors' bills, because the truth is that most doctors, like our own Strongbow, are doing too much charity work as it is.

35 posted on 11/05/2003 7:04:43 PM PST by Capriole (Foi vainquera)
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To: Taff
What's your opinion, Taff?

Maybe he has vision problems; here let me help...

What's your opinion, Taff?

36 posted on 11/05/2003 7:11:29 PM PST by stands2reason (REWARD! Tagline missing since 10/21. Pithy, clever. Last seen in Chat. Sentimental value.)
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To: oh8eleven
And for all these years I always thought it was hospital policy to charge double for those of us WITH insurance.

It's about time you got a glimpse of cold reality. I take it that you have never had an uninsured experience with emeergency room billing.

37 posted on 11/05/2003 7:16:18 PM PST by rightofrush (right of Rush, and Buchanan too.)
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To: Taff
Since that frantic October night three years ago, the hospital owners, a Christian, non-profit foundation, have hounded her for crushing bills she could not afford, partly because as an uninsured patient she had been charged double.

Pure baloney. There are plenty of nurses making $80,000 to $100,000 a year because of the overtime. They get insurance from their employer. If nothing else, she could just file Chapter 7 and be done with it.

I can't believe any of this is true.

38 posted on 11/05/2003 7:24:58 PM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS
You got it! Supply and demand. Millions of illegals chasing limited medical resources drives the price up.

That and the fact that a bad medical result in the ER for one of these illegal invaders, generates millions for the shysters.

39 posted on 11/05/2003 7:26:40 PM PST by friendly (Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.)
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To: friendly
Yep. I know. Tort reform is an increasingly obvious necessity.
40 posted on 11/05/2003 7:31:21 PM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (Further, the statement assumed)
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To: bigfootbob
Pulling the equity out of a house prior to filing bankruptcy is common because most people who end up filing do so for reasons of job loss or illness and job loss; that equity is what got them through the 8-12 months while looking for work or healing.

My wife just got hired to start Monday after being out of work for 20 months; we've gone through savings, my part-time earnings and pulled all equity just to get here.

Bankruptcy is not an option for us right now as we don't owe anything but the mortgage; we paid off both cars and all the credit cards a year ago.

We may still end up having to sell the house just to lower our living expenses.

41 posted on 11/05/2003 7:32:04 PM PST by Old Professer
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS
Tort reform to save medical care, to save lives!!
42 posted on 11/05/2003 7:46:15 PM PST by friendly (Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.)
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To: friendly
And curiously reform is necessary to save the tort system itself.
43 posted on 11/05/2003 7:48:32 PM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (Further, the statement assumed)
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To: strongbow
$2000 for a couple of hours work by 4 or 5 people? Seems reasonable to me, unless you "need" a third home or a fourth car.
44 posted on 11/05/2003 7:51:45 PM PST by rightofrush (right of Rush, and Buchanan too.)
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To: DannyTN
The different rates that different people or payers get charged is obscene. The cash payer gets charged the most. It should be like ordering a dinner at a restaurant. Everybody pays the same amount. It's an insane and unfair system.
45 posted on 11/05/2003 7:58:43 PM PST by novacation
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To: Capriole
I would only urge them to pay their separate doctors' bills, because the truth is that most doctors, like our own Strongbow, are doing too much charity work as it is.

...and drives a 10 year old Ford and lives in one house?

46 posted on 11/05/2003 7:59:11 PM PST by rightofrush (right of Rush, and Buchanan too.)
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To: rightofrush
Actually a 1995 Mazda 626 and a 1998 Ford truck. They are both great cars and I park them at my only house. In fact I have had five houses at different times while being moved around by the USAF until retirement. So I guess you can say I have many houses somewhere.
47 posted on 11/05/2003 9:24:45 PM PST by strongbow
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To: Capriole
Excellent post! I know these people lie. I've met them and I'm somewhat aware of the situation. They don't want to pay anything and they demand unlimited service. Most of them don't want to work unless it's fun.

One lady I met at a political gathering told a story about how a $75 doc bill+ointment was bankrupting her. She was serious. She was the last whiner of the group. She had poison ivy. After it was clear she would not in anyway accept responsibility for her own condition and bills I asked her, "do you want me to pay the bills?" She said, "yes I do." "You should pay them, because you have the money and a job." I told her no. What came out of her mouth shut the rest of the socialized medicine advocates down. The gathering dispersed in the state of shock.

48 posted on 11/05/2003 10:23:28 PM PST by spunkets
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To: strongbow
You may well be the 3rd alturistic physician I've had the pleasure of meeting. The first was a Dr. Price that removed my appendex in 1948 at the county hospital.

My mother left my father (an SOB)when I was about 6 mo. during the depression. We were living with my grand parents and mother worked as a sales clerk. She was able to pay about $10/mo. She had the bill over half paid when he sent us a Christmas card telling us the bill was paid in full.

The second is our current family practice physician who serves the rual area in central Idaho near where we live. He could make twice his current income if he would move to Boise. He invites calls at his home after hours and never limits an office call to five minutes.
49 posted on 11/06/2003 12:55:59 AM PST by rightofrush (right of Rush, and Buchanan too.)
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To: rightofrush
It's about time you got a glimpse of cold reality.
I've been working since the late 60s, sometimes two jobs at a time. I've been layed off three times, once almost for a year, but somehow my wife and I have always provided for our family and that includes insurance.
Essentially, it's called responsibility, or in other words that some of you might recognize - improvise, adapt and overcome. Take your whining somewhere else.

50 posted on 11/06/2003 5:27:03 AM PST by oh8eleven
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