Skip to comments.Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
Posted on 02/22/2013 9:44:29 PM PST by Seizethecarp
When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkins lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanies father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.
Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Seans visit just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised would be $48,900, due in advance.
About a week later, Stephanie had to ask her mother for $35,000 more so Sean could begin the treatment the doctors had decided was urgent.
The total cost, in advance, for Sean to get his treatment plan and initial doses of chemotherapy was $83,900.
One night last summer at her home near Stamford, Conn., a 64-year-old former sales clerk whom Ill call Janice S. felt chest pains. She was taken four miles by ambulance to the emergency room at Stamford Hospital, officially a nonprofit institution. After about three hours of tests and some brief encounters with a doctor, she was told she had indigestion and sent home. That was the good news.
The bad news was the bill: $995 for the ambulance ride, $3,000 for the doctors and $17,000 for the hospital in sum, $21,000 for a false alarm.
(Excerpt) Read more at healthland.time.com ...
It is a long read and it hammers Obamacare extensively for doing little to address hospital and MD billing abuses, for failing to include tort reform, and for driving up health insurance premiums in the private individual market.
Meanwhile, ObamaCare is meant to drive the price up.
The article goes to great lengths to highlight high salaries for senior HMO adminstrators and lobbying expenditures to Washington DC, but doesn’t even mention astronomical costs associated with lawsuits, the incredible amount of paperwork involved with such a heavily regulated industry, plain ol insurance fraud, or why those lobbyists are needed in the first place. Medicine took a wrong turn in the mid sixties with the wholesale insinuation of government into the healthcare industry, and the joined-at-the-hip relationship with the legal and insurance industries, and now the government and its lawyers say to remedy those wrongs, the answer is yet more government involvement. Beam me up Scotty.
If I do remember correctly, healthcare providers charge a premium over and above the actual service in order to provide for those that they serve who do not or cannot pay. I had 20 stitches in my finger back in 1979 and remember that they charged $30 for painkiller (aspirin) $140 for the gauze to wrap my finger. When I called and questioned they said they charged the price of a case because they had to cover their service to those who could not pay. I was a student then and had no insurance, but somehow I was considered the “privileged” that had to pay for those who could not.
Just wait until the government makes it free. Then it gets really expensive.
You got it baby! I dread government on any level being involved with medical care, it’s hard enough just dealing with the medical-idiots as it is!!!!
but what I find disingenous is that this couple "had" to go to Houston....for crying out loud, they couldn't find treatment in Cleveland or Columbus, or Pittsburgh?......sounds like they wanted what they wanted and then complain about it....sounds like they knew they could get away with it because granny had a bunch of bucks....
Exactly... I wish I could have done this when I was drop down dead broke poor in 1979! Even then, you did not need to habla... you could just be a broke down in the weeds hippie and get your care for free. I looked like a living breathing person who could pay so they billed me and threatened lawsuits if I did not pay.... oh yeah I paid the stupid bill... $30 aspirin and $140 for gauze to wrap my finger. Sheesh... I couldn’t believe this crap back then and now it’s 100 times worse!
I worked as a PI for Workers’ Comp claims. Why we pay high premiums is the dregs who fraud the system...and the insurance pays out because it’s cheaper (on our dime) to litigate. So I watched lawyers write checks to those dregs who came IN using crutches, left skipping out with a settlement just shy of full payout. Everyone happy?
Furthermore, there was no hammering "for failure to include tort reform."
Do the American people really pay such bill? My understanding is that they put “Return to Sender” on the bills coming in.
For example, liberal rhetoric is that the uninsured drive up the cost of ER care. But the truth is that Medicaid recipients make more inappropriate use of ER than uninsured do. And it raises costs for everyone because Medicaid reimburses less than the actual cost of providing services.
Because the ER cannot turn away most people who go there inappropriately (i.e., those who could be treated outpatient) these costs get passed on to everyone else. With millions slated to be dumped into Medicaid next year, I expect ER costs to mushroom.
What a load of gibberish. Healthcare bills are high because 80% of the bill is paid out in court cases. Tort reform in Texas had their healthcare costs drop dramatically.
Then there are the subsidies. You get to pay for illegal aliens (who show up in the emergency room and never seem to pay anything), single moms and their kids, homosexuals and their extravagant healthcare needs.
Only about 14% of the bill is yours.
The article pointed out that a large “non-profit” hospital can have a 25% profit margin. Most large businesses have a 2% to 7% profit margin. I read several years that the profit margin in the medical/pharmaceutical world was around 20%
I do acknowledge that most businesses do not have the research and development costs that are incurred in the medical/pharmaceutical industry... But I also have read that citizens of USA have had to bear the bulk of these front end R & D costs when these pharmaceuticals come to market. The rest of the world does not pay anywhere close to the costs for pain killers and other drugs that we have to pay in USA.
Try checking out “Forbes CEO Compensation” at Google, for what CEOs of some of the big pharmaceutical, medical services, etc. companies are getting paid.