A facebook friend posted a Washington Post article 50 hospitals charge uninsured more than 10 times cost of care, study finds. A discussion ensued. Bret Benson told this story:
I had a $3,600 bill after going to the emergency room for a gash in my head over and above what my insurance covered. Devon told me to write them for an itemized list of what I paid for. I not only did that, I added some crap about how I was going to pass it on to my cousin who worked for KTLA News because they were doing a special on hospital billing. No kidding. 3 days later I got a bill for $650, no explanation. About a year later our accountant at work came to me with a similar situation. Asked me if I was serious about the letter I wrote and if I could write one for him. Told him I had it on my computer, changed the name and a few things and they called him the same day they got it and lowered his by about 75%. While getting my deviated septum done they sent me in for an CAT scan of the side of my head after all this other stuff they had me do that wasn’t completely covered. Was about $2,500 above what the insurance paid. I threw a fit, said I’ll live with how it was. They said they would lower it to $400 if I paid cash. What a frickin’ scam they have going. Yeah, and the free market will solve this?
When I changed jobs a few years back and the company provided funds for us to buy our own healthcare I got a real shock. My ex was denied because 5 years earlier she had a pea size totally benign cyst that the doctor figured he might as well remove. Think he did it for the money was all. But at any rate, she had paid in probably 100k over the years and taken very little out. Pure as the driven snow healthy lifestyle yet no matter what we paid no one would insure her. Luckily CA adopted the part of the no denial act earlier than 2014 and she only had to go 6 months with no coverage. That’s a broke system. Something could have happened that would have broke us and had a bad economic ripple throughout effecting our lives and our son’s.
Almost everyone knows the health care system is badly broken. Ripoffs and injustices are the norm. The Affordable Care Act was at most a minor improvement. More people are covered, but there was little control of prices and middlemen that add little or no value remain in the system.
The free market doesn’t work well for medical care because people don’t feel in a position to bargain or price-shop. If you need a heart transplant, would you go to the cut-rate clinic? But almost all medical care is like that: it seems inappropriate to negotiate. Doctors should be like Marcus Welby, not like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.
Many health care providers realize that predatory capitalism is not an appropriate model for medical care. Doctors and hospitals shouldn’t be in it to make a killing. Single payer health care similar to Medicare for All would be a fairer and more humane system.
Not just the bankers, but also the medical care predators need to chased with pitchforks.
Why aren’t people protesting in front of hospitals and health care specialists?