Your Brother Committed Suicide? No Insurance For You

Consumer Reports has an interview with the mother of a young man who couldn’t get any insurance because, after his brother committed suicide when he was younger, he saw a psychiatrist for a few sessions. He went uninsured after he aged out of his father’s coverage and taking jobs with no health benefits. Then, while he was cleaning it, his pickup truck burst into flames.

He spent 20 days in the intensive burn center, where he was also diagnosed with Addison’s disease. Now he’s $1.2 million debt after paying for the costs out of pocket. The bad marks on his credit report have gotten him turned down for a few jobs as well.

A sad tale to illustrate the perils of walking around uninsured, and the cold-blooded and illogical arithmetic of our health care system.

Janne in Norman, OK [Consumer Reports]

Comments

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  1. Dyscord says:

    Wow, that is tragic. The way healthcare works in this country is pretty pathetic. If you don’t have insurance it’s either deal with your medical problem or get it treated and go into debt.

  2. This is so sad. I’ve been in the very position of having a medical problem and not having insurance. 2 Impacted wisom teeth that cause a major abscess and more pain than I ever want to feel again.

    I worked my ass off as a temp with an abscess that felt like something was hammering on my nerves with ice picks to get a permanent position that offered Dental insurance.

    This poor guy didn’t have the option of doing that.

  3. Shappie says:

    Wait, I’m confused. He took jobs with no health insurance… How is that related to his brother passing away?

  4. B says:

    He was cleaning his truck when it burst into flames? Kids, this is why you’re not supposed to clean cars with Acetone. Also, ummm, yea, this really sucks for him.

  5. It must be so nice for health insurance companies to bill everyone based on insuring a risk pool that includes everyone, and then simultaneously cherry-pick who exactly gets to be part of the risk pool. Talk about double-dipping.

    Plus, you know, anybody who has to see a shrink after a terrible tragedy must be horribly flawed and cheating the system somehow. Obviously.

    In anything like a fair market, every insurance company who turned him down could take an equal cut of paying his bills. THEN he could sue them for damages to his life, credit, etc. after that.

    …Or we could just shoot them. It’s not as morally high-ground, but hell, putting the executives up against a wall works for me.

  6. Puck says:

    Worst system ever.

  7. mike says:

    The problem with today’s health system is the enormous cost. Why does it cost so much to just get a band-aid?

    I’m not a fan of socialized health care. I am a huge fan of reforming the healthcare system so that there are more checks and balances.

  8. Triborough says:

    All medical decisions should be made by doctors and not accountants.

  9. anthonyhasp says:

    I didn’t watch the video, but assume that he lives in Oklahoma. He is eligible for the state’s high risk insurance pool. Here’s the link:

    [www.ok.gov]

  10. maneki neko says:

    Insurance companies consider having seen a psychiatrist a ‘pre-existing condition.’ Disgusting.

    So glad he eventually got a job with benefits, though. Hope things improve for him.

  11. SkokieGuy says:

    So what 6 companies denied health insurance on the basis of psychiatric treatment? Since he was a minor and only went for three treatments, I am quite suprised by this.

    And if he were to take a job with a company that offered health benefits (Starbucks, even for part time), he would likely not have been denied coverage since he would be part of a large group.

  12. anthonyhasp says:

    Here’s a handy list of all state insurance pools:

    [www.naschip.org]

    Now stop whining and get back to work.

  13. anthonyhasp says:

    Link was bad. Retry
    [www.naschip.org]

  14. Bladefist says:

    @linus: I concur. I think this is tragic, just like everyone else. But the question is, who SHOULD pay for it?

    I don’t feel I should. But, the amount that he owes is out of control. For 1.2 million, he should get a free vacation home in the virgin islands. We need all kinds of reform. We need to first eliminate the overhead that causes our health care stuff to be so expensive. First is tort reform. Once you remove a lot of the speculatory risks Dr’s take everyday, thats a start.

    So Ya, tons of reform is needed. Going Social, will create all new problems and we’ll be back here again w/ more, different, horror stories.

  15. timmus says:

    I’m waiting to see how many comments we get before someone trots out the yarn about not wanting to pay for “insuring fat slobs”. I’d much rather insure all slobs so as not to have to see a donation jar at the convenience store for helping with some impoverished 4-year old’s medical costs.

  16. mike says:

    @Bladefist: You and I have very similar conservative beliefs. I love it!

    Here’s my take: I’m for healthcare ASSISTANCE. There are legitimate people (like this guy) who have fallen through the cracks of the healthcare system. I don’t mind the government helping people like this. BUT, I don’t think we should just flat-out give health insurance away. My sister, is another example. Just graduated college and working end-to-end jobs but with no healthcare. Covering emergancy visits and things like that are good for everyone.

    The line needs to be somewhere. I’ll be honest that I don’t know where that line should be. I think before we draw the line, we need to figure out why it costs so much.

    Maybe there needs to be more doctors. More supply might decrease the price. ;-)

  17. scootinger says:

    FWIW I think Janne is the same person whose son committed suicide after getting in over his head in credit card debt, she was in the documentary “Credit Card Nation.” See [www.creditcardnation.com]

  18. Ein2015 says:

    Psych treatments are confidential by law. Don’t tell the insurance company! (If this is illegal, somebody let me know.)

    Now, since the cost of healthcare will always be high due to things like demand, technology, overuse, understaffed, etc… my question to y’all is this, which of the following would you rather have?:
    1) Socialized medicine where everybody’s in the same risk pool and pays it out in taxes…
    2) Pay taxes to drive down the cost of healthcare by making it cheaper to be a doctor, provide government-backed malpractice insurance, cheaper to open a hospital, etc…
    3) Encourage people to start their own “medical” savings account similar to how people are encouraged to start their own “retirement” savings account…
    or
    4) Whine until somebody else promises something that sounds great, regardless of how much it’ll really hurt. (This is supposed to be the “other” choice. Feel free to make your own #5.)

  19. basket548 says:

    @Bladefist:
    I agree that healthcare is greatly overpriced. I think that the majority of this inflation in cost is coming from malpractice insurance. If we were to cap or eliminate monetary damages from malpractice suits, I’d think that you’d see a real decline in the cost of medicine.

    @timmus:
    The 14th comment. Yours.

  20. Ein2015 says:

    @linus and @Bladefist: I tend to agree with y’all. Here’s a way to look at it… everybody pays at some point for medical care or drugs or something like that. Not everybody uses it the same amount (some spend $300 a year and some spend $1.2M a year, etc). Nobody saves up for this (and to be honest, nobody really can save up for an accidental $1.2M thing). What should be done?

    That said, I love the medical assistance idea, but fear it’ll go down the same path as the food stamps (food assistance). :(

    For now, I think we should just stick with Medicare/Medicaid, and start drilling down those tort reform ideas y’all mentioned. :D

  21. snoop-blog says:

    I’ve got to be missing something because I can’t get passed the ‘why’ did his truck catch fire. Does anyone know?

  22. Jevia says:

    Everyone should be entitled to health care regardless of their ability to pay. Insurance companies make tons of money and spend a good chunk of your premiums denying coverage, money that could be spent providing treatment instead. One’s access to affordable health care should not be dependent on getting the ‘right job.’

  23. Squeezer99 says:

    so why can’t he get a job that provides health insurance now?

  24. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @TakingItSeriously: I have four impacted teeth about 4 years ago, I’ve never been turned into a whiny little bitch like that did. I mean, tears comming down my face.

    @Bladefist: Lets not forget that Healthcar is something like 18% of our economy, that’s a lot of money. Also, lets not forget that even in those countries with social health care, the technology they use comes from the US…because…capitalisim drives inovation.

    No company is going to find the cure to aids/cancer/ED just so someone can smile and say well done.

  25. coren says:

    So, for those of us (me) who can’t view this video due to their work frowning on that (what do you mean “you shouldn’t really be on that site to begin with”?), what’s the story?

    Or does “His brother committed suicide, he saw a shrink a few times, now he can’t get coverage and something awful happened” about cover it?

  26. lordargent says:

    timmus : I’m waiting to see how many comments we get before someone trots out the yarn about not wanting to pay for “insuring fat slobs”.

    I’m more curious about how his truck “burst into flames”.

    /no audio here

  27. PurplePuppy says:

    @Ein2015: Yeah, well, If his dad’s insurance was writing out checks to “Oklahoma City Psychiatric Hospital,” I think they could take a wild guess that he was being treated.

    There may be laws saying we don’t have to disclose stuff ourselves, but there’s no law saying insurance companies can reject us on the basis of what they find out privately; whether that be from consumer info consolidation services, or what we post on our MySpace pages.

    Folks are always shocked when I tell them it’s perfectly legal for insurance, employers, and others to find out all sorts of stuff about them and categorize them as “risks.” Heck, the government its self does this all the time in trying to make sure they employ only “moral, upstanding citizens.” I subscribe to a service that reports who is “Googling” me and my husband, and he always got lots of hits when he was applying for a permanent position with the local public school.

    Just accept it people, you’re going to have to make you MySpace “private,” and for-the-love-of-God, don’t use your real name as your screen name on forums and other sites!

  28. SkokieGuy says:

    EIN, here’s some easy starting points:

    1. Require by law digital records and prescriptions. The fact that a large majority of hospitals and doctors office still hand write chart notes and prescriptions is downright criminal.

    2. Create public access to records of medical errors. It is difficult or impossible to compare hospitals and doctors by medical error rates, (although doctors have access to records of patients who have sued for malpractice).

    3. Develop a standardized medical billing form. The costs associated with maintaining hundreds of different paperwork requirements for different types of coverage is obscene and creates non-productive overhead and delays in receiving benefits when corrections and resubmissions are required.

    4. Firm legislation controlling Rx advertising to consumers and the use of freebies (and paid ‘consulting’ gigs and other ways money is funneled to healthcare providers).

    5. If government dollars are used to help research a drug or medicine, then it should not be available for exclusive patent (which drives up cost).

    6. Require that all ‘peer review’ publications have a vetting process prior to publishing articles, which includes listing all direct and indirect sources of funding, conflicts of interest, etc.

    All these measures can be implemented while the debate about a long-term solution continues. The problem is so big that we are ignoring the easy changes that can result in immediate benefit, (digital prescriptions to reduce handwriting and transcritpion errors, for example).

  29. kaptainkk says:

    Health insurance should not be for profit! That’s the bottom line. Why can’t people see that?! Take profit out of the equation and you would see a lot of the reform you are talking about. Other than that we are all fucked.

  30. erytheis says:

    A case and point of why I support socialized health care. With insurance companies having the right to deny health care to people based on random histories of family members and the ability to cancel your policy in the middle of a catastrophic illness we might as well be paying into the government the same money we are throwing at insurance companies – at least then we might have a chance.

  31. Etoiles says:

    See, in a perfect world, this is exactly the sort of thing health insurance would be for. There’s car insurance in case of an accident; there’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance in case of fire or theft or other such disaster.

    But health insurance in the United States, as it currently stands, isn’t “insurance” like that at all. It’s “the right to access medical care.” Or, as in the case of a blindingly obvious emergency (man on fire), it’s the right to a real life afterward. $1.2 million is a ludicrous sum — even very well-to-do, financially savvy people won’t just have that much money lying around in savings.

  32. kaptainkk says:

    @linus: You said “I think before we draw the line, we need to figure out why it costs so much.”

    It’s because the system is severely flawed. Insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, etc. all want their hands in the pot to make as much money as possible. You may not want to think so but your life has a price tag associated with it as far as corporations are concerned.

  33. ThinkerTDM says:

    I think it sucks that I have to pay taxes to pay for a road I don’t drive on.
    But you know what?
    It’s nice to have when I need to drive on it.

    So, to all you pinheads who are “healthy” and don’t need health insurance, and whine about paying for it, just wait. You will need it someday.

  34. bearymore says:

    @basket548:

    California capped malpractice claims many years ago. It has proved to have almost no impact on health care costs.

  35. snoop-blog says:

    @kaptainkk: Who would want to go to school for 8 years and rack up all kinds of student debt, just to come out and realize you get paid crap, work crap hours, and still have all this money to pay back.

    We are all supposed to die, from one thing or another, there is no such thing medically as a natural death, there is always a reason. If you want to live longer even when your card is being pulled, it’s going to cost you.

  36. floraposte says:

    The creepy thing is that, from the insurance companies’ standpoint, refusing Sean turned out to be a good call on their part–not because his counseling predicted anything, just because it means they’re off the hook.

  37. snoop-blog says:

    @kaptainkk: whoops nevermind. I thought you were talking about something else. I didn’t even mean to hit submit. I went to hit refresh, my brain farted and I pushed the closest button to my pointer.

  38. TheShepherd says:

    @Squeezer99: Because there’s not an insurance plan out there that pays retroactively. If by some miracle, he were to find a job that had health insurance now, he wouldn’t be able to get them to pay any previous bills, nor any future bills that pertain to the conditions that created the original bills.

    It depends on the carrier though. I saw a psych when I was in college, graduated, insurance lapsed, and then I got a job with insurance. Because the carrier doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, i had to pay for my psych visits out of pocket for 1 year until the insurance would start covering them.

    It depends on the Carrier, but short of debt forgiveness or winning the lottery, this guy is unfortunately F’d in the A.

  39. Bladefist says:

    @snoop-blog: True-dat. I lived next door to a med-student. I saw his schedule. When he wasn’t working, he was studying. 6-figures isn’t enough to get me to live that life.

  40. Lithium542 says:

    Considering 1.2 million dollars is an awful lot of money, he should appeal to the state to take care of it. Most states have a fund that takes care of under or uninsured hospital patrons, so it really shoudn’t be a feat. In fact, at least in Maryland, the hospital would submit it automatically in the event that you were uninsured, and then treat you like anyone else.

  41. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @Squeezer99: Read the comment code. Playing the blame game on the victim is not kosher.

  42. PurplePuppy says:

    @erytheis: The funny thing is, I support going ahead and “finishing” the socialization of medicine just to get what we already are paying for.

    I’m pretty libertarian in a lot of my views (live-and-let-live), but I’m also practical. Today’s society just ain’t gonna stand for the anti-corporate medical shake-up I’d love to see. Meanwhile, we have essentially “insured” everyone with very expensive, ineffective, tax-payer and consumer funded policies by requiring hospitals to take emergency patients. If folks can’t pay, they don’t (of coarse, their credit is ruined). The cost of their inability is borne by others who must use the hospital. If the hospital fails, a publicly funded hell-hole is opened in its place.

    The problem is that this haphazard way of doing things is FAR more expensive and unreliable than if they just took ALL of the money they already spend on health care and made an actual government program out of it. Folks should still be able to purchase, and employers still offer, supplemental insurance; but a minimum level of preventative and emergency universal coverage should be made available.

  43. anonvmoos says:

    it sounds like washing the truck had nothing to do with him being on fire. i call spontaneous human combustion.

  44. cmdrsass says:

    @kaptainkk: removing profit removes the incentive to innovate and excel. Look at the medical imaging advances in the last 20 years and think about what would’ve happened instead if the smart people who developed the technologies couldn’t make any money at it.

    The problem with any kind of standardized national health system is that the people proposing it are mostly arguing from emotion and their plans are just as shallow.

  45. NightSteel says:

    Er.. I know bankruptcy law has been tightened recently, but 1.2 mill’ is a lot. Let’s be honest, most ‘average’ people wouldn’t be able to repay a debt like that, especially if interest is accruing. If he really has nothing, bankruptcy seems like the best option. Sure, it’s a black mark on your record, but at least he’d be in the clear when it was all over.

  46. Jubilance22 says:

    I see situations like this becoming more common. Today I just read how insurance companies are accessing your prescription history and using that as a basis to accept or deny someone. So apparently getting treatment for something means you shouldn’t be eligible for health insurance. :-(

  47. bobpence says:

    If you’re going to socialize something, make it the catastrophic coverage so people can’t get into something like this with no possible escape. Congrats to Tim on getting married and getting a job with benefits. He should be looking at his options for medical bankruptcy, because life with lousy credit sucks far more than a few years with none.

    Lesson for young folks who often decide to take the job without benefits “because it pays better.” Stop taking the jobs without benefits and those jobs will stop not having benefits.

  48. Gopher bond says:

    If you want to know why healthcare is so expensive, next time you have to go to the doctor’s ask them up front how much a certain procedure costs. You won’t get an answer because no one there knows.

  49. ToOrt reform isn’t the answer. Including legal fees, medical malpractice suits cost less than one half of one percent of health care spending.

    Reducing the number of forms might help, but is just a drop in the bucket.

    When a bit chunk of your premium isn’t going towards CARE, but towards salaries, towards denying care, advertising, and the like, something is seriously screwed up.

  50. Well, yes they do, testsicles. My cataract surgery this Wednesday will cost $3400. The cost to CIGNA is $1600, which I’ll pay because my deductable is $3000. If you were on Medicare, the government would be charged $2800. If you came in with no insurace, $3400,upfront.

  51. PurplePuppy says:

    @Jubilance22: Until things change, 1) don’t send anything small that you can pay to your insurance company, 2) pay C-A-S-H, 3) only go to doctors (and dentists) that don’t require a Social Security Number. 4)And if you’re real “adventuous”, use a pseudonym.

    Believe it or not, but most doctors and ALL dentists I’ve been to have not required a social security number (or any other ID) when I’ve refused to provide it. They’ve pissed and moaned, but they’ve yet to refuse to take my money.

    (WARNING: 3 and 4 can cause problems if you’re being treated for something where they may really need access to previous treatment records in an emergency. Just make sure that if you *are* allergic to penicillin, it’s in your official records at a routine check-up.)

  52. johnva says:

    Bankruptcy all the way here. Sucks to have to do that over something like this, but it’s the best option. Paying $1.2 million in debt is not really an option for a young person just starting out in life.

    As for not getting jobs because of the credit problems, I would definitely be preemptively explaining the reason for that to potential employers when it came time for the credit check (which they usually don’t do until they’re fairly serious about hiring you). This is a prime example of why reducing people to a credit score number doesn’t always tell the whole picture (and I say that as someone who generally supports the use of credit scoring).

  53. bohemian says:

    How anyone could still want to keep the private heath insurance system after story after story like this one is beyond me. We have the ability to kick these self serving goons to the curb, we just have to grow a collective spine and do it.

  54. PurplePuppy says:

    @johnva: Also, he could move to WA where it’s now illegal to use credit checks as a condition of employment, unless it very directly relates to the job (for instance, as a financial adviser?)

  55. bohemian says:

    @cmdrsass: “removing profit removes the incentive to innovate and excel. Look at the medical imaging advances in the last 20 years and think about what would’ve happened instead if the smart people who developed the technologies couldn’t make any money at it.”

    So all of Europe and Japan just up and quit contributing to medical innovation decades ago? The US is not the only country where innovation happens or things are researched. These other countries manage to have national health coverage yet those medical innovations still happen.

  56. Orv says:

    @cmdrsass: Countries with socialized medicine have imaging technology too, you know.

    Removing the profit incentive from the *service* end of the business doesn’t mean companies can’t still make a profit selling medical *devices*.

  57. BriandaBrain says:

    @ThinkerTDM: You know, none of the people here are complaining about paying for insurance. They are complaining because the health insurance industry is severely flawed. In the case of the victim, he would have had insurance if the insurance companies didn’t find it necessary to deny his coverage based on a few psych exams. Come on now, pay attention.

  58. Orv says:

    @johnva: I’m hoping one of the side effects of the housing bubble will be new pressure to limit the use of credit checks in areas where they aren’t really relevant, like job applications and car insurance. A lot of middle-class people are going to end up with screwed-up credit from foreclosures. There’s never the political will to fix things like that when they only affect the poor, but when they start to affect the middle class, watch out.

  59. kaptainkk says:

    @cmdrsass: The medical advances (including imaging advances) would still have come because we are talking about life, we are not talking about making the next car that runs on water. Everyone wants to live as long as possible including those smart people that you are referring to. Remember the quote from the movie Blade Runner: “I want more life, fucker”. It’s so true. Those smart people were not doing it because they wanted to be the next Bill Gates. They have a real desire to learn and have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. The demand to innovate and excel would be still be there without a profit motive.

  60. PurplePuppy says:

    @bohemian: ‘Tis true.

    You know, there was actually a time in history when inovating and great works for profit was actually looked upon as impure motives… or at least crass.

    Heck, in the middle ages MOST of the innovation came from Monks in monasteries who took frikin’ VOWS OF POVERTY! Later, other innovations often came from independently wealthy “gentleman farmer” types who just wanted to make a better world.

    Have we really and truly lost all that forever?

  61. DH405 says:

    If she owes Norman Regional Hospital.. Screw ‘em. That two-bit operation stands about the same chance of giving you an infection as it does of healing you.

  62. SacraBos says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: This is why you should never equate health INSURANCE with health CARE. Health Insurance companies are currently a burden on providing health care. Face it, every dollar you pay to health insurance provides lots of money to many things that have absolutely nothing to do with the care between you and your doctor. And they make a profit in the deal, too.

    Used to be, it was easy to get a major medical policy. You sneeze, you pay the doctor. You get a get a boil removed, do pay the doctor. Your truck burst into flames, major medical kicks in to help you out.

    We need to be better consumers and realize that health insurance should be like car insurance. You insure yourself against unexpected losses, not normal wear and tear. Auto owners responsible for all the basic care, routine maintenance and minor repairs yourself. If you have a big accident, insurance helps with your loss.

  63. ironchef says:

    @Bladefist:
    That’s exactly why health care needs reform. It shouldn’t be left up to private companies to arbitrarily deny coverage like that.

    Plus the guy tried to buy CONTINUING coverage because he’s getting rolled off his father’s plan. WTF?

  64. snoop-blog says:

    I heard in canada there are HUGE waiting lists for doctors who actually give a crap. I was also told a lot of their doctors really suck, and Canadians who live close enough (and have money) will travel to the U.S. to see a doctor.

  65. johnva says:

    @snoop-blog: Where have you heard this?

  66. synergy says:

    @snoop-blog:

    Who would want to go to school for 8 years and rack up all kinds of student debt, just to come out and realize you get paid crap, work crap hours, and still have all this money to pay back.

    The method used in other countries to turn out doctors would be great here. A co-worker who is from another country and is an M.D. went to school almost for free. Their system rewards the brightest applicants for medical school by paying for their schooling. Once the top slots are taken you’re on your own paying for a private medical school.

    Of course, it’s the reverse as here. Here you get to pay for the priviledge of going to the best medical schools. Going to med school comes off as being good for you instead of being good for the community you end up in where you’ll (hopefully) perform a necessary service, caring for the sick, injured, etc.

  67. mwilliams3609 says:

    I used to bill for an acute care facility and our mark up was, on average, 3x what the actual procedure cost. This was back in 2000 though so who knows how much the mark up and procedures have gone up since.

    On the positive side (if there was one) if we had a patient that was about to go COBRA and they could not afford it, we would actually make the payments for them so that we would get paid something instead of nothing.

    My heart does go out to this young man and his family.

  68. Hobz says:

    @SkokieGuy:

    Bravo, how simple are just those few points to implement considering the alternatives.

    #5 I personally consider to be the worst of them all. Did you know that in 2000 the government funded 36% of all US medical research? How much of the money taxes payers invested in medical research actually came back to us?

    “Pfizer, which for 2002 reported profits of $9.1 billion on revenue of $32.4 billion, earned a return on revenue of 28%, a rate more than twice that of General Electric, nine times that of Wal-Mart and 31 times that of General Motors.” – Time Magazine 02/04

  69. snoop-blog says:

    @johnva: my mother, though, she’s not an encyclopedia, she is pretty worldly.

  70. johnva says:

    @Orv: Plus, a large amount of the medical research that actually benefits people the most is funded by the government, anyway. So it’s not like that would go away even with a totally socialized system.

  71. synergy says:

    @kaptainkk: You beat me to the comment. All the bright people I know who are working on advancing science and technology really don’t make much money. The only ones making the money, I think, are the business people marketing their work.

  72. snoop-blog says:

    Man sixty some odd comments and we still don’t know why the truck set fire? I sell vehicles, and I can tell you that under normal operation, they don’t mystically burst into flames. Inquiring minds want to know!

  73. Techguy1138 says:

    He is not going to pay this.
    The hospital knows he can’t and he knows he can’t. At some point the hospital is going to write off the 1.2 million as non-recoverable debt.

    This of course means they need a way to pad the next 100,000 procedures by $12. Now you only need 10 people doing this before everyone is paying an extra $120.

    We ALREADY are socializing medical costs. The problem is now it is being done in a way that maximizes corporate profits and puts the burden on the hospitals to figure out how to balance the books.

    The only way to NOT socialize medical care in this country is to eliminate the mandate that hospitals must treat people with life threating problems. In short let people die at the door if they can not prove coverage.

    This ad-hoc system of saving ones mans life and then charges $20 for 2 aspirin to a different patient. Creating a common fund will benefit patients and hospitals. This ‘socialized’ medicine that people rail against is already here.

    Free market health care requires more deaths to balance the books. If this man couldn’t pay for his care and we advocate a free market solution the man in the article should be dead right now.

  74. snoop-blog says:

    @synergy: If you’re that passionate about something, you’d usually invest any profit back into your work.

  75. synergy says:

    @snoop-blog: My Canadian husband and his family live in fear of ever being caught on the U.S. side in need of medical aid.

    Not that I’m saying I agree with them, but that’s my anecdote on Canadian views on the U.S.’s medical system.

  76. donopolis says:

    The cost of medical care in this country is directly related to insurance companies…

    They do everything in their power to get out of paying the doctors.

    i used to work in billing for a family med. doc and they would return charges with all kinds of random reasons…my favorite…90 days have gone past and they are no longer responsible for payment…wow I want to use that one with the people I have agreed to pay.

    Don

  77. snoop-blog says:

    @synergy: Yeah I’m ignorant about Canada’s ways. But my mother was talking more about cancer patients and people with life threatening illnesses over there who are rich that wanted to see a better doctor than the ones over there. I don’t know… it makes sense though. If I was rich, I’d want to see the best dr. I could, and if he was in bfe, that’s where I’d go.

  78. Techguy1138 says:

    @snoop-blog:
    “I heard in canada there are HUGE waiting lists for doctors who actually give a crap. “

    That is also true in America. I have friend with chronic conditions and you actually need to search HARD to find doctors who care. Most doctors want easy patients that they give a prescription to and send on their way.

    For the most part doctors are really really lazy and do sloppy work.
    Just try finding a doctor who does these basic things.
    1: Fully reviews your medical history BEFORE they meet for your appointment.
    2: actually looks up your preexisting conditions and tries to understand them.
    3: takes sufficient notes at your office visit so a doctor not present at the visit can gain insight to your condition.

    Most doctors walk in, skim your history in front of you, ask the PATIENT to explain their medical conditions, scribble a note or two and hand off a prescription.

    So really the Canadian system sounds just the the US one.

  79. anthonyhasp says:

    @synergy: I think that this is a great idea. Why don’t you offer a scholarship to the best students to go through medical school and require them to work non-profit for a few years to pay you back?

    Oh wait, you mean you don’t have the money do that and want to steal it from other to make yourself feel better?

  80. anthonyhasp says:

    @Techguy1138: My son has to see a variety of doctors for severe allergies and a few other issues. I have to say that his doctors are AMAZING. His pediatrician went out of his way to get insurance to cover visits to an allergist that works in an experimental clinic and has my wife e-mail every week or two to see how my son is doing. The allergist is top notch and communicates with my wife on what he is reacting to and how to change his treatment every few weeks. He does not charge for these biweekly consultations, just $150 every six months for the checkup.

    It doesn’t hurt that I have an option of choosing between two health care plans and two hospitals in the area (each hospital provides its own health care plan). They are fierce in the competition, which is good for us. Oh, I live in the US.

  81. archeomason says:

    @scootinger: Yeah, I saw her on that Documentary too. Boy, debt problems about with her. That’s very sad…

  82. anthonyhasp says:

    BTW, the experimental clinic would not likely exist under a single payer plan as they admit that few insurance companies will cover them (our case was the first time that our insurance company paid for visits) and the total cost of treatment is $1,500 per year, which almost everyone pays out of pocket. Under a single payer plan, only those treatments that the government will pay for will be available.

  83. Orv says:

    @snoop-blog: What I’ve heard, from sources I consider reasonably reliable, is that you will generally not have to wait long for critical care, but that elective surgeries sometimes have long waiting lists. So basically you’re not going to be told to wait three weeks to have your heart attack taken care of, but you might have to wait a while for that hip replacement.

  84. Orv says:

    @anthonyhasp: That’s not necessarily true. Not every country that enacts a single-payer plan outlaws private out-of-pocket care. I think it’s unlikely that private care would be outlawed if the U.S. went that direction.

  85. SkokieGuy says:

    @Hobz: To me, digitizing all medical data is the embarrassingly obvious no brainer.

    Do you realize how insane it is that we trust our lives to a hand-written scribble? Especially with so many marketing invented drug names. [blogs.wsj.com]

    Just to add a layer of insult, dosing instructions are sometimes written in Latin.

    Almost all businesses use computers to not just to increase accuracy, but to increase efficiency and reduce costs – could that benefit the healthcare industry? HELLO.

    Why does it seem to be necessary to legislate that medical facilities adopt office procedures that virtually all other business have been using for decades?

    This is could be a bipartisan issue that could be implemented in a relatively short time frame. It doesn’t have to wait till we ‘solve’ our healthcare problems.

  86. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I am the most rabid “let the market take care of it” person I know, but when I see crap like this, I totally understand why some form of socialized health care is in the cards for the citizens of the US.

    Insurance companies do this sort of thing, and we allow them to.

    One day the tipping point will be hit and we’ll end up with government insurance for all.

  87. bobpence says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: Not a market failure here, a government one. Employee health care benefits became popular due to the WW2 wage freezes imposed by the government. They continue because of unequal tax treatment. Make private insurance payable with pre-tax dollars, including a voucher from my employer in place of what he would pay toward a group plan, and the pool will increase in size until, like employer plans, it mirrors the overall population.

    And stop thinking you’re more rabid than I!

  88. failurate says:

    Story after story after story. Our system sucks. It seems to be destroying more people than it is helping. Even those of us with insurance are getting screwed by this insanely greedy system.

    Health care has to be socialized. There is no other way around it. The insurance companies and hospital administration need to be put out of business or sucked up into the business of making socialized health care work. They are perpetuating the growth of the distance between classes, pushing middle class folk into poverty.

  89. Techguy1138 says:

    @anthonyhasp: You are lucky to find such doctors without having to search for them.

    My experience is not that such doctors don’t exist but that they are rare. It may have to do with the fact that your child is a pediatric patient.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with insurance. Good doctors and mediocre doctors will exist in any system.

  90. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @linus: Seriously. It’s a disgrace. Improper billing and accounting from the medical industry needs to get just as much attention as people being denied.

  91. FLConsumer says:

    The healthcare system in this country doesn’t work. There isn’t any other way to put it. I don’t have any great solution to bring to the table to fix things. It’s a multitude of problems that have brought us to where we are today. Shortage of doctors, greedy doctors (not all, but there’s plenty who are), incompetent doctors, doctors who aren’t willing to kick out incompetent doctors from the profession, trial attorneys, insurance companies, etc.

    @Techguy1138: I’m in the exact position as your friend. Health problems that most doctors aren’t willing to take the time to treat. I’ve seen multiple doctors, most who don’t have the slightest clue or just want to see me for 5 mins and high-tail it to the next examining room. Maybe this healthcare system works well if all you have is high blood pressure and can’t get a stiffy, but for anything complex, you’re on your own.

    I’m currently waiting to see a specialist, but he’s booked until the end of OCTOBER. And the worst part is that I do have good health insurance. At this rate, I’m half-tempted to fly to Europe and see the doctors there. They have a much higher success rate and far lower costs.

  92. johnva says:

    @bobpence: How exactly do you plan to solve the problem of insurers cherry-picking people who have no preexisting conditions? Those people who do would likely be unable to get health insurance in a system that requires individual underwriting of all policies. The only solution to that that I can see is either to force the insurers to take everyone and charge the same or use socialized insurance, like single-payer. Otherwise what you describe will not happen. Instead, the sicker people will not be able to get insurance, and will get dumped on the government. And taxpayers will thus end up providing an indirect subsidy to the insurers.

  93. swimmey says:

    Health care FUNDING should be socialized — or rather, funded under a universal single-payer system. We could save money and cover everybody. Most people would pay less in “Medicare for Everybody” tax than they do in premiums. Businesses would get a tremendous break — ask any small bizperson what keeps them up at night, and one of the answers will be health care costs.

    We have rationing already. NPR just did a huge series comparing health care in the US to Europe. The difference in the way we treat people with the poor luck to get sick is incredible.

  94. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @Bladefist: I concur. I think this is tragic, just like everyone else. But the question is, who SHOULD pay for it?

    I don’t feel I should. But, the amount that he owes is out of control. For 1.2 million, he should get a free vacation home in the virgin islands. We need all kinds of reform. We need to first eliminate the overhead that causes our health care stuff to be so expensive. First is tort reform. Once you remove a lot of the speculatory risks Dr’s take everyday, thats a start.

    So Ya, tons of reform is needed. Going Social, will create all new problems and we’ll be back here again w/ more, different, horror stories.

    Give me a break, every state that had “tort reform” didn’t have rates go down one red cent. Heck they didn’t even grow at a slower pace.

    Insurance is the greatest scam ever invented. I know, I used to work for both property AND health insurers. A huge storm went through the local area a few years back. What did the insurer do? Delay, delay, delay, until they tallied up the total estimate, found THEIR insurance wouldn’t kick in, then told all adjusters to low-ball claims and gave incentives for the best low-ballers. Of course they didn’t call it low-balling, that would be illegal.

    Don’t even get me started on health insurance. The black hole that is a private health insurance company has enough double and triple-billing to terrify a hollywood accountant. You’re paperwork is done in quadruplet, billed to multiple entities in an effort to hide any semblance of profit when possible, between BBU’s (battling business units), billed at inflated rates (which they then use to charge people without insurance at the hospitals because many insurers partner with hospitals and charge the same rate to everyone even if they never really pay that), with an inefficiency, lack of humanity, and a sacrificing of all to the altar of bureaucracy that would make a Vogon quake with fear. The only thing even HALF efficient in an insurance company is billing the customer. You can damn well bet those items are processed reasonably efficiently. Well, unless the insurer is looking for a reason to drop said customer.

    We won’t even go into the bureaucratic nightmare that is the appeals process for denied claims where people are, nudge nudge, wink wink, paid on “performance” (read: maintaining the denial no matter what) first and foremost.

  95. frugalgirl says:

    This is the biggest reason we need to have socialized medicine, to help out the folks that can’t help themselves.

    NPR did a huge story on this last week, and they mentioned that even with an increase in taxes the socialized system would still cost less than what we have now.

    AKA the reason I’m looking to live overseas.

  96. elaineous says:

    I work as an independant contractor. I tell people all the time I’d have to find a different kind of work if I ever were to talk to a psychiatrist, gain too much weight, get any kind of major cosmetic surgery, get diabetes or any other chronic diseases.

    While I’m healthy, I’m taking contracts in other contries to find someplace I can afford to be old. The health system in this country is pathetic.

  97. failurate says:

    Janne O’Donnell became an activist against credit card companies after her son’s suicide and was featured in the documentary Maxed Out.
    Hate to say it, but with this new crusade, she sort comes off as a professional publicity seeker.

    That said, the system still sucks.

    [www.americanprogress.org]

  98. bobacus says:

    Funny thing about this whole debate is we already have “socialized” medicine. VA, medicare, schip, various programs…

    Just get rid of it ALL and put everyone on same system. Stop skirting around the issue and give it to everyone equally. We are already paying a “tax” for health care in the form of jobs being shipped over seas to countries that HAVE a healthcare system.

    3 simple ways to fix issue.

    1. All insurance companies are to become NON profit. There should be no profit making on people’s health. It’s not only morally wrong, but against everything America is about.

    2. Tort reform. Lawyers drive this. It needs to end.

    3. Price fixing. America pays 25 times more for medical supplies and medicine than any other country. Not only are we paying more, but there is no reason we should be. Medical costs SHOULD NOT be a money making venture.

    The “free market” idea Nixon had for Health care does not work. End it. There is no more room for debate. but hey, Im just posting on a website. What can I do about it?

  99. attackgypsy says:

    This is why CT started the Charter Oak Insurance. So everyone can have insurance. It’s not the greatest, but its something. No mandatory 2nd opinions, and nearly everyone will take it. Yes, some high deductibles, but better than nothing.

  100. crypticgeek says:

    @SkokieGuy: Oh man, you’re one of THOSE people! Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just, I hate how people think that digitizing medical records and throwing computers at the problem would be like sprinkling magical fairy dust over health care costs. This has been the mantra of many a politician over the years, on both sides of the aisle. Of course, it’s a bunch of hooey. Sure, you can reduce certain kinds of costs and create some efficiencies. However, the initial cost can be great, you have to train everyone to use it (more time and money), etc etc. It’s not the panacea that everyone thinks it is!

    And yes…typing errors can happen just as well as written errors can. Not to mention bugs and security issues. I’d feel no better trusting my medical records to hand written scrawl than to a machine. Anyone who’s programmed anything will probably feel the same way. I do sometimes worry about Rx’s (how DO they manage to read that crap?), and I always check them for accuracy. I guess that’s one thing I wouldn’t mind being 100% digital.

  101. SacraBos says:

    @bobpence: Thank you! I can tell you get it. Government created the problem, and now we expect Government to create the solution to their problem.

    “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help” is considered one of the Great Lies, yet ironically, we still expect someone from the government to come and help.

    Cut the middle man, get rid of 90% of all health insurance. All this $10 co-pay stuff has done is centralize health dollars around the insurance company, when it ought to be centered on the health providers.

  102. rworne says:

    @EtoilePB:

    What’s even more of a crime is tha the hospital likely billed him up the wazoo too. I’d like to see what the insurance rate for that stay was.

    Here’s my case:

    Gastroenteritis sent me to the ER one fine day. It lead to a hospital stay of a mere 16 hours as they need to do some tests and possibly prep for surgery (gallstones).

    I got out without getting cut open. Just some antibiotics and an IV drip for 12 hours. Plus ultrasound, some radioactive dye scanning to measure bile flow, and a chest xray or two.

    Total bill:
    $14,700

    Insurance allowed amount:
    $1,500

    My share (10%):
    $150.

    If I didn’t have insurance, the hospital would have saddled me with a nearly $15,000 hospital bill. The difference in cost is criminal.

  103. varro says:

    @PurplePuppy: The solution to this is to not visit medical providers. Deal with emotional problems with alcohol and illicit drugs. Ignore symptoms of chronic diseases.

    Remember, using your health insurance makes you weak and uninsurable. Don’t do it.

  104. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @snoop-blog: I get frustrated when people pull out this old canard because it is absolutely not true.

    Waiting times in the U.S. are as bad as or worse than Canada. And, unlike the U.S., in Canada no one is denied needed medical care, referrals, or diagnostic tests due to cost, pre-existing conditions, or because it wasn’t pre-approved…….

    Canada also has no waits for emergency surgeries. It also doesn’t have 44 million people who are uninsured because everyone has a national healthcare card guaranteeing health care from any doctor or hospital they choose. And it doesn’t burden those with insurance with rising deductibles or co-pays.

    From here.

    Stop spreading FUD about single payer or socialized health care – Google is an excellent tool for making informed decisions about the health care debate. Our country’s innovations in health care devices and pharmaceuticals will not disappear because we choose to spread the burden of cost across all taxpayers, and the “market driven” approach to health care means that people who can’t afford it don’t get it. Does it seem humane to you to deny the poor life-saving medical care simply because of their station in life?

  105. PurplePuppy says:

    @varro: Sarcasm much?

    Hey, I’ve been to a shrink a lot of times when I needed it (especially when I was trying to finish college). What I’m saying is: “Here’s how to play the stupid game better as long as things suck like they do.” You try to make it sound like keeping things of the record is my official recommendation for optimal care.

    Good grief, we play this game with our car insurance too! If it’s small, we’d rather settle for cash because the increased payments to our insurance will be MORE than equal to whatever we shell out.

    But hey, if a glass of wine at the end of the day cures all YOUR problems, go for it.

  106. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @rworne:

    Wow you’re bill for 16 hours totaled almost 1/4 of what I spent in 10 days “sub-acute” (i.e. one stop below ICU) and two surgeries. I was in a motorcycle accident, well it really wasn’t an “accident” because the moron that almost killed me broke 4+ traffic laws and was lucky I was paying attention or it would have been worse.

    22 screws, 3 plates, two surgeries (one 5 1/2 hours), massive doses of painkillers (which the hospital did manage to f*ck up royally when they turned off my auto PCA morphine drip and didn’t start me on a required painkiller pill regimen causing me 12 hours of intense pain after the second surgery), et al. I have the 70k dollar knee. Toss in an extra 20k for the collar-bone. Oh and that’s for the first month’s follow-ups too. The in-home nursing was separate (1 month, 2 times per week to check my cumadin?(spelling?) levels) and totaled 2.5k.

    Seriously, wtf were they charging you for? My guess is that the insurer and the hospital are part of the same system (in my case, they weren’t) and the “hyper-billing” becomes real evident then. I bet the insurance company got a very, very, very large discount. Since that’s negotiated separately (different contract) you aren’t required to be able to see it in many / most states.

  107. stinerman says:

    @Techguy1138:

    The only way to NOT socialize medical care in this country is to eliminate the mandate that hospitals must treat people with life threating problems. In short let people die at the door if they can not prove coverage.

    That’s exactly right. The free-market proponents never bring this up, though.

    Free market theory only works when there’s an actual free market. Requiring any business to provide goods and services to people who can’t pay drastically distorts traditional market forces.

    Could you imagine what the cost of groceries would be if people who couldn’t afford them were allowed to just walk in and take what they wanted off the shelf? How much more would the auto mechanic charge you for new brake rotors if he had to replace mine for free?

  108. aphexbr says:

    @snoop-blog: Hmmm… here’s the problem. You seem to be discounting the healthcare system used in the majority of the rest of the world because your Mom told you that one of those countries has problems (which information she probably got from another unreliable or anecdotal source)?

    Take it from someone who’s actually experienced these systems first-hand – they are no worse than the current US system, doctors do get paid a decent salary, and you won’t have to wait too long for surgery that’s truly necessary. You also won’t end up bankrupted or faced with huge debt because your insurance company decided to hit you with 20 co-pays or refuse coverage altogether after you had the audacity to have a serious medical complaint.

  109. kable2 says:

    Wow alot of people in the states are either brain washed by the doctors and the insurance companies or are just not that smart.

    Yea govermnent run health care is crap. I mean who wants excellent health care for everyone. Who would want the doctor alone making the decisions to save your life(remember the insurance company loves ya). Who in their right mind wouldnt want the thrill of going bankrupt.

    I wish we could get rid of the government health care here in Canada so that I could pay to have a private health care plan. One where I can still have have the joy of paying a co-pay to see a doctor. Where is the thrill of waiting to see if the treatment that will save your life will be approved, and the fun of fighting to have the treatment approved.

    Seriously what is the fun of having the doctor just signing his name to request and having it done.

    I will never know the joy of fighting with a health insurance company or the fun of going medical bankrupt.

    How I wish we were more like the states.

    /Not really

  110. EllaMcWho says:

    My brother, who has worked for the same employer for 5 years – and had been eligible for their health insurance benefit for 4 and 1/2 years but hadn’t enrolled ($100 per pay period premium and when he had started at this job, he was still covered under parents’ policies). He had stomache pain on a Friday evening, went to the quack-in-the-box doc-on-call and was diagnosed with constipation and prescribed stool softeners – the bill was $600, including $75 for ‘prescription strength’ dulcolax. So comparing the cost of the care he received and the cost of the insurance, on Monday, he signed up for his employer’s health plan. The first premium withholding would activate the plan – 11 days after he signed up for the insurance. BUT that following weekend, he collapsed at home with a perforated appendix and had emergency surgery while uninsured. He was home 2 days before the bills started coming in, and covered 3 days after that. $27,500 in bills later – he offered the hospital his savings ($9,000 cash) to settle the bill and they accepted. 1) this tells me how much the bills are inflated or conversely, how much hospitals are willing to discount to get a bill paid quickly and 2) that insurance is a requirement, even for otherwise healthy 22 year olds.

  111. NYGal81 says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: No, not flawed, but definitely in a higher risk tier, especially when you add in a family history of suicide/major mental illness. It is pretty widely accepted (wish I had a reference on hand…) that people with mental health concerns of any type (mild anxiety, depression all the way up to schizophrenia) are more likely to have poorer physical health than those without. They are also likely to be higher utilizers of health care resources than those without mental health concerns. Should this man be fully denied coverage? No…but if he is covered, you bet that the actuarial findings will not be in his favor when it comes to his premium.

  112. Caslonbold says:

    Just scheduled an appointment with my dermatologist. They schedule appointments for every 10 mins. I said to the nurse, “Wow, the doctor doesn’t spend much time with her patients.” The response was that the doctor doesn’t need too much time to figure out the issue. Of course every time I saw this doctor she saw you for 3 minutes, had her nurse work on something, came back to the room to spend 3 more minutes. Hardly enough time to read one’s medical chart or become truly involved in the patients issue.

    Cost to me for appointment without insurance: $100. You do the math, 6 appointments an hour = $600 x 7 = $4200 a day. And my appointment does not have additional services she can bill me for like cosmetic treatments, no lab fees they can mark up, etc. I am sure if I had insurance my 10 minute appointment would bill well over $250 to the insurance co.

    Wish I could make minimum $4200 a day.

  113. NYGal81 says:

    @Ein2015: I think the *content* of the sessions is confidential–not the treatment as a whole. If the services were billed through an insurance carrier (i.e. using your mental health benefits and only paying a copay), it may be considered fraud of some sort if you don’t disclose your full medical and mental health history (as it pertains to the questions you’re asked) as accurately as possible. I do know that mental health concerns are asked for by Anthem BC&BS, because I just reapplied for insurance through them, and I recall them being on the list. It was nice, though, that they seem to distinguish being treated for something “benign” like anxiety or depression and being treated for something more “serious” like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

    I know a number of therapists who encourage patients to self-pay instead of using insurance if it’s possible, the reason being that once they submit a claim with a diagnosis code, the therapist cannot prevent the insurance company from using that information to raise premiums or deny coverage in the future. It’s a smart policy to have if you work with a population that can afford to pay mental health benefits out of pocket. I do know for sure though that most insurance plans require “treatment plans” for continuing to authorize sessions. These are usually very vague, and shouldn’t contain any content of the previous session.

  114. jackal676 says:

    I love it when someone defines the healthcare system of a whole nation based on what one or two people have told them.

    I really don’t understand how hospitals can get away with charging these crazy rates to uninsured people. I had my wisdom teeth taken out last year, and there was a huge difference between my Anthem insurance negotiated rates and what the hospital charged in general for each line expense. Most expenses were double or triple of the negotiated rate. It’s disgusting. They demand the most money from the people who are least capable of paying. It’s almost like how the rich get the best interest rates on credit cards, but that (however unfair it is) at least makes sense based on a risk factor. How do they justify charging an uninsured person double or more for the same care? You can’t get blood from a stone.

  115. almk says:

    I tried to get out of pocket health insurance between graduating from college and getting married (it was all of a month). BCBS wouldn’t insure me because I had taken anti-depressants within 5 years. Not that they hiked the rate up, or anything, and I didn’t have any problems relating to it. They simply wouldn’t insure me.

  116. FrankReality says:

    I can’t imagine how long it would take to pay off $1.2 million in debt. I can’t even imagine the interest on such a debt.

    First thing his attorney ought to do is research what insurance companies would have paid to the medical service providers and demand equitable treatment – to pay no more than that. The attorney basically says his client will pay no more than what an insurance company would and if that’s not acceptable, the client will file for bankruptcy. That’s not hardball – that’s recognizing reality.

    In my neck of the woods, when anyone gets in such a predicament, the community holds fundraisers to help pay the medical bills. $1.2 million is hard to pay off with fundraisers, but if that amount was knocked down to $300K, fundraising certainly can help.

  117. TechnoDestructo says:

    The worst will always be assumed about absolutely anything about you, ever. Don’t ever get any kind of mental heath care…no matter what people tell you, unless they’ve got some sort of similar experience themselves (and maybe even if they do) they’re going to distrust you for it. Don’t ever sign anything that states it is not or you are told will not be taken as an admission of guilt or anything else that wouldn’t be in your interest, because it WILL be.

    @marsneedsrabbits:

    I’m going to laugh when it happens. I think I may seek out an unemployed insurance executive (probably selling cars or something) and laugh in his face. Because the industry as a whole has been BEGGING ON BENDED KNEE for the inevitable coming of its execution or castration.

  118. IC18 says:

    My parents are in the same boat, my dad is a truck driver with no employer health insurance. I tried for months to buy insurance for my folks but keep getting turned down by most of insurance compines becuase my mom had surgey over 15 years ago for afterbirth complications. Now whenever they have a medical emergency the hospital is going to have to fork the bill. Hospitals should fork it to the insurance companies. This system really sucks.

  119. LibraryGeek says:

    Actually, a shocking amount of the high cost of medical care is coming from costs courtesy of the insurance racket. Doctors, hospitals and labs have to hire people to deal with the byzantine insanity that counts as their patient’s health insurance. Doctors wind up overcharging in order to come out barely even because they are underpaid by medicare et.al. I should say — general care practitioners and general surgeons. Insurance (and Medicare — insurance companies often follow the standards set by CMS) pays out a larger amount to specialists, even for basic office visits. Another problem is that doctors are paid for service, not for time. Thus, preventive medicine that consists of counseling on nutrition lifestyle changes etc are short changed.
    Interestingly, both patient and doctor satisfaction are high and costs are lower where doctors and other medical professionals are on salary, rather than fee for service. I am blitzing out on the name of the hospital, they do a lot of great cutting edge work and I’ve seen them on Discovery Health types of shows, so they are large. Anyway, the salary vs. pay for services might be something that needs to be looked at.
    I don’t always agree with the blogger but you can learn a lot at
    [healthpolicyandmarket.blogspot.com] Health Policy Review blog.

  120. scootinger says:

    @scootinger: gah I realize I meant “Maxed Out”…no idea where that title came from!?!?

  121. MisterE87 says:

    @linus: In my opinion, our healthcare system will remain broken until we deprivatize it and turn it into a non-profit agency.