Health Care is Expensive because the Government doesn’t pay their Bills in Full

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 4th, 2014

Week in Review

Health care is expensive.  It’s why we have Obamacare.  To lower the cost of health care.  And give quality health care to everyone.  But why exactly is health care so costly?  And who’s to blame?  Well, let’s take a look at the cost of an appendectomy to get an idea (see Reddit User Posts $55,000 Hospital Bill for Appendectomy by SYDNEY LUPKIN, ABC News, posted 1/1/2014 on Yahoo! News).

When a 20-year-old man got over the pain of having his burst appendix removed in October, he got hit with a hospital bill he wasn’t expecting.

The bill from Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., said the total charges were $55,029.31 but that the patient owed only $11,119.23 because his insurance had covered the rest.

Shocked, the patient took to Reddit to post the bill and vent his frustrations.

“I never truly understood how much health care in the U.S. costs until I got appendicitis in October,” he wrote on the social media site. “I’m a 20-year-old guy. Thought other people should see this to get a real idea of how much an unpreventable illness costs in the U.S…”

But the bill was not so unusual, given recent studies that showed how the cost of medical procedures could vary from hospital to hospital, said Timothy McBride, a professor and health policy analyst at Washington University in St. Louis….

Sutter General Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Turner said hospital billing is complicated, and that the hospital has people available to help patients navigate it. She said hospitals often serve many patients who don’t pay at all or don’t pay the actual cost of treatment because they are on Medicare or Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid.

“Sutter Health agrees that an improved billing structure is needed, where published charges are more closely aligned with actual costs,” Turner said. “And a more straightforward pricing system is only possible when reimbursement from government-sponsored patients covers actual costs.”

How much did your television cost?  How much is your cable bill?  How much was your laptop?  Your tablet?  How much was your mobile device?  How much is your cable bill?  How much is your cellular bill?  People know these costs very well.  For they are very discerning shoppers.  And because they are manufacturers and providers bend over backwards to give their customers what they want at the lowest possible price.  This is free market capitalism at work.  Competition for our dollars makes businesses try to give us the highest quality at the lowest price.  But none of this happens in health care.  Because there are no free market forces in health care.

No one knows what their health care costs are.  Because they don’t pay the bill.  So they don’t know.  And they don’t care.  It’s so bad today that most couldn’t shop and pay for the own health care if they tried.  On the rare occasion they pay attention to their bill what do they do?  Blame the hospital for gouging on their bill.  But there is a reason they do this.  And it’s not because they’re greedy.  They do it because it’s the only way they can keep their doors open.  Thanks to the people who don’t pay their bills.  And the government who doesn’t pay all of their bills.  Leaving no choice for health care providers but to over-bill the insurance companies.  Who are the only people paying their bills in full and then some.

Obamacare will only make this worse.  By giving ‘free’ health care to more people.  Health care that the government won’t pay in full.  Which will force the health insurers to raise their premium prices further.  Until it is so expensive that no one will buy it anymore.  The so-called death spiral.  Opening the door for single-payer health care.  And Medicaid-quality health care for everyone.  Well, perhaps not quite Medicaid-quality health care.  With more people in the program wait times and rationing will be greater than they are currently in Medicaid.  So it will be worse than Medicaid.  The worse-quality health care currently available in the United States.


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