Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

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Maclowery
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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

Post by Maclowery »

I haven't had it in a decade. I should probably go to the doctor sometime in my adult life, I guess.

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Fat_Bulldog
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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

Post by Fat_Bulldog »

heyzeus wrote:We're already paying for universal healthcare; we're simply doing it in the most expensive, inefficient, financially destructive and medically risky way imaginable. If you show up to the ER bleeding/stroking/cancering, you'll get treated. The bill will be 5 or 6 figures. Much much higher than the cost of preventative health care that could have helped prevent your stroke/heart attack/diabetes/cancer.

Your choices are: Pay, and your entire family is financially ruined. Not pay, and your life enters debt collector hell, maybe file for bankruptcy at some point, and maybe never get a house or good job again. Oh, and every other person who receives health care (ie, all of us) ultimately foot the bill in terms of higher costs.
This.

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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

Post by TimeForGuinness »

IMADreamer wrote:ah sniff sniff. meanwhile on the poor side of town someone just died.
I don't think this was appropriate.

As for diddy's comment, that's a real concern on how to pay for healthcare, but I think what most fail to realize is that healthcare premiums were expanding and were going to continue to expand at an exponential rate. But the insurance companies were really only letting healthy people get insurance, they didn't want to cover the terminally ill or people with pre-existing conditions. Is that what we want as a country?

So we're back to trying to figure out how and what to cover...and I think a blended approach is a great start/compromise before we go "all in".

As for wages and salaries, a lot of people were disappointed in how their salary was calculated in the last few years. Some had to foot more of their insurance bill, some got pay cuts, some got laid off...combination of healthcare reform, bad economy, and housing fallout. Companies are stockpiling cash because they don't know their future costs in healthcare, taxes, and oil...things are volatile right now, and there's a lot of money sitting on the sideline because it's too risky to invest large sums of money.

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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

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doe_boy
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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

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planet puma wrote:Yea Missouri!
Progressively repressive, that's my native soil!

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AdmiralKird
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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

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I guess life begins before conception now.

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pioneer98
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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

Post by pioneer98 »

This seemed like a better fit for this thread than the Obamacare thread.

Time Magazine did a comprehensive article about how screwed up the charges are in hospitals. I read it over the weekend, not even sure what section to share because it is all so interesting, and messed up. Here is one section towards the beginning that gives an overview of the problem:
Dozens of midpriced items were embedded with similarly aggressive markups, like $283.00 for a “CHEST, PA AND LAT 71020.” That’s a simple chest X-ray, for which MD Anderson is routinely paid $20.44 when it treats a patient on Medicare, the government health care program for the elderly.

Every time a nurse drew blood, a “ROUTINE VENIPUNCTURE” charge of $36.00 appeared, accompanied by charges of $23 to $78 for each of a dozen or more lab analyses performed on the blood sample. In all, the charges for blood and other lab tests done on Recchi amounted to more than $15,000. Had Recchi been old enough for Medicare, MD Anderson would have been paid a few hundred dollars for all those tests. By law, Medicare’s payments approximate a hospital’s cost of providing a service, including overhead, equipment and salaries.

On the second page of the bill, the markups got bolder. Recchi was charged $13,702 for “1 RITUXIMAB INJ 660 MG.” That’s an injection of 660 mg of a cancer wonder drug called Rituxan. The average price paid by all hospitals for this dose is about $4,000, but MD Anderson probably gets a volume discount that would make its cost $3,000 to $3,500. That means the nonprofit cancer center’s paid-in-advance markup on Recchi’s lifesaving shot would be about 400%.

When I asked MD Anderson to comment on the charges on Recchi’s bill, the cancer center released a written statement that said in part, “The issues related to health care finance are complex for patients, health care providers, payers and government entities alike … MD Anderson’s clinical billing and collection practices are similar to those of other major hospitals and academic medical centers.”

The hospital’s hard-nosed approach pays off. Although it is officially a nonprofit unit of the University of Texas, MD Anderson has revenue that exceeds the cost of the world-class care it provides by so much that its operating profit for the fiscal year 2010, the most recent annual report it filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was $531 million. That’s a profit margin of 26% on revenue of $2.05 billion, an astounding result for such a service-intensive enterprise.1

The president of MD Anderson is paid like someone running a prosperous business. Ronald DePinho’s total compensation last year was $1,845,000. That does not count outside earnings derived from a much publicized waiver he received from the university that, according to the Houston Chronicle, allows him to maintain unspecified “financial ties with his three principal pharmaceutical companies.”

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heyzeus
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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

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Oh I can testify on this [expletive] first hand.

'Zeus Jr. had to go to the ER a few months back when he had RSV. Our primary care doc told us we needed to go to the ER in case his oxygen levels were low and he needed treatments, which the doc's office isn't equipped to do.

In short, he had a cold, and was wheezing a lot. At the ER, they took his vital signs, found that his oxygen levels were low, and gave him a nebulizer breathing treatment. We waited for hours like every other non-emergency case.

For that privilege and pleasure, we got a $3000 bill. We're trying to figure out how the [expletive] that could be. Short answer: the hospital codes every visit on a 1-5 scale, ranked in terms of severity (5 being the most extreme level of care). Level 1 or 2 would be a mere $800 visit. But the hospital coded us as a level 4. LEVEL 4. One step away from dying on the gurney or bleeding out. By escalating us to "level 4", the visit alone tripled in price to $2400.

This is clearly bull [expletive]. Nobody's been able to tell us what criteria they used to code our visit as a level 4. They probably don't have any. I can tell you what their criteria is. "Well this person has insurance, so let's charge them as much as we can get away with to make up for all of the patients who don't have insurance that we'll never collect on."

Needless to say, we're knee deep in the bull [expletive] dispute resolution process now.

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heyzeus
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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

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Oh, and a nebulizer treatment ($10 worth of albuteral from a machine that, brand new, costs about $90. I know because we had to buy one) was $500. Bull [expletive] [expletive].

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pioneer98
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Re: Best Damned Health Care Anywhere!

Post by pioneer98 »

This part was interesting:
Under Internal Revenue Service rules, nonprofits are not prohibited from taking in more money than they spend. They just can’t distribute the overage to shareholders — because they don’t have any shareholders.

So, what do these wealthy nonprofits do with all the profit? In a trend similar to what we’ve seen in nonprofit colleges and universities — where there has been an arms race of sorts to use rising tuition to construct buildings and add courses of study — the hospitals improve and expand facilities (despite the fact that the U.S. has more hospital beds than it can fill), buy more equipment, hire more people, offer more services, buy rival hospitals and then raise executive salaries because their operations have gotten so much larger. They keep the upward spiral going by marketing for more patients, raising prices and pushing harder to collect bill payments. Only with health care, the upward spiral is easier to sustain. Health care is seen as even more of a necessity than higher education. And unlike in higher education, in health care there is little price transparency — and far less competition in any given locale even if there were transparency. Besides, a hospital is typically one of the community’s larger employers if not the largest, so there is unlikely to be much local complaining about its burgeoning economic fortunes.

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