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The Great System We Have — Why Now?
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The Great System We Have

Wendy Victoria is a columnist for the Local Puppy Trainer, last seen complaining about the religious chatzkies that festoon the tax collector’s office. She now writes about local health care:

The patient spent 12 hours at a local hospital and during that half-day, ran up a $20,000 bill for lab tests and consumed $160,000 worth of drugs.

It’s hard to imagine spending that much money that quickly.

But you have to remember, this is the world of hospitals, where patients don’t have the chance to do comparison shopping. Heck, we don’t even know what they’re doing half the time, much less what it should cost.

But it seems like the final bills have no basis in reality. Nor do hospitals expect to actually be paid the amount they bill. Of the $600,000-plus in total costs, the hospitals will get about $30,000 from the insurance company, according to the statements.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Everything. Starting with the fact that consumers have no way to assess how much health care actually should cost. If billed amounts had some basis in reality, maybe more people would be able to pay for their own medical care, which would be good for everyone.

She includes a PDF of the bill, to back up what she’s saying.

Looking at the bill I saw the “7 Nor Sal Ster 500ML $1757” she mentioned which is 3½ liters of water with 31.5 grams of salt in it. I also saw “Na Bicarb 7.5% 50ML” for $230. That is 50 milliliters of a 7.5% solution of sodium bicarbonate, OK, baking soda in water. The big expense was 250 doses of esmolol for $155K. That’s a dose every 3 minutes for the 12 hours in the hospital. This is one of the fine line of HCA hospitals that infest Florida.

Of course, the real problem with the $600K final bill is that if the patient hadn’t had insurance, they would have gone after the estate for the entire $600K, not just the $30K the insurance paid.


1 cookie jill { 07.13.09 at 1:19 am }

It’s insane. Senator Bernie Sanders has printed up a booklet with healthcare stories from Americans. Truly heartbreaking.

I can’t find permanent work here so I am registered with a Temp agency. They offer healthcare and I have money taken out of my check, as an asthmatic, I have to have insurance just to get into our 1 hospital in town should I have a major attack. If I get hospitalized and am not able to work…I lose my insurance.

Catch 22 in a big moolah sort of way.
.-= ´s last blog ..What a warm welcome for Whole Foods =-.

2 Rook { 07.13.09 at 6:20 am }

What? No special code for the $5000.00 toilet seat? I mean, it has to be cleaned, you know.
.-= ´s last blog ..Why Distracted? =-.

3 jams O'Donnell { 07.13.09 at 8:02 am }

$600k? Did the people running the hospital learn their trade running Soho clip joints that charge £500 for a bottle of fizzy cider? What vermin
.-= ´s last blog ..When swearing is not only big and clever, but also downright useful =-.

4 Bryan { 07.13.09 at 11:35 am }

Another major problem with employment-based health insurance, Jill – what good is it if you lose your job because you’re too sick to work.

Cleaned, Rook? I identified it as an HCA facility. Why would you think that it would be cleaned?

Jams, where do you think the Soho joints got their pricing from? £155 for a half liter of salt water in a plastic bag make the fizzy cider cheap.

5 Kryten42 { 07.13.09 at 12:09 pm }

There’s been several stories in C&L lately, like this:

Bill Moyers Journal: CIGNA Chief Admits: Michael Moore’s SICKO “Hit The Nail On The Head”

Susie Madrak posted this story that shows on a personal note just how bad the system is:
Compare and Contrast: A Woman With Pneumonia Goes to The Local Clinic

The very simple fact is that the people controlling the USA don’t care one bit about human life (except their own), they only care about themselves, money and power. The other 90% are their slaves. When the avg American finally realise they are little more than sheep (little more than a commodity to be used and thrown away when they are no longer of use to the ones with all the money) and do something about it, will anything change. And change isn’t going to happen any time soon by talking. The time for talk is long over. I suspect that if all the Americans that have died in the past decade because of a failed amoral health system had gotten together and actually staged a rebellion, at least some of them would probably be alive and healthy today. At the very least, their deaths might have been for something. And the number of deaths under the current system is rapidly increasing.

If I were there and I was told to go home and die, I can assure you I’d make sure at least a few of the bastards killing me died with me. You can count on that. 🙂

Ignorance and stupidity. The only real difference between the USA and China (or Iran for that matter) is that the USA has several thousand dictators controlling the 300 million sheeple. The big difference is, in China, Iran etc, the sheeple know who the dictators are and know they have little choice, and for the most part, they get decent health care.

Yeah… what a great system. 🙂

6 Bryan { 07.13.09 at 3:07 pm }

The problem with Americans is that they expect the system to work after spending decades helping to dismantle it because the GOP and media convinced them that that was the thing to do.

People keep trying to work within a system that no longer exists. It was heavily damaged by Nixon and finished off by Reagan. The GOP has managed to delink cause and effect. Raising revenue by lowering taxes is illogical, but people bought it.

If things get bad enough there will be bloodshed, and the people responsible are not the ones who pay. The media will cover it up, just as they covered up the starvation deaths during the Great Depression. One of the most annoying things about getting old is listening to people lying about what life was like in “the good old days”.