Hospital Focus on Greed not Need
Americans pay twice as much any other developed country––more than the next ten highest countries combined––yet results are among the lowest. Healthcare in America is a $ 2.8 trillion annual dollar market, employing more personnel than most major industries, with many hospitals tax-exempt and yet without investors profits are paid in the multi-millions in colossal salaries to parent firms and upper management. For decades, record profits have come not from providing better products and services, but from charging patients thousands and sometimes tens of thousands more than actual costs. An aspirin a day can run hundreds of dollars; simple chest x-ray run bills cost thousands; ordinary lab work––normally $20 a test––are billed at tens of thousands of dollars. Fees are duplicated and triplicated the details hidden within other undecipherable charges and esoteric practices. No patient can read a bill and no patient knows how to question billing. Understanding complicated medical bill terminology requires the technical know how of a legal degree. As a result, a quarter of all medical bills are estimated to be substantial over charges. Medical practitioners bill patients according to a system called, “Charge Master,” which dictates the greatest possible charge for even the most basic of services. When the doctor says you need to go to the hospital its too late to negotiate. The hospital is the seller, the patient is the pitiful buyer, and it’s a seller’s market. If you don’t have Medicare you are at the mercy of the masters of medical profiteering. Medicare pays only what the trade considers, “approximate costs.” To overturn healthcare reforms, medical operators hire the world’s highest priced lobbyists––former congressmen. Healthcare is the biggest, most profitable, fastest growing industry in the U.S. Unlike other industries where technological advancements lower costs, U.S. healthcare is skyrocketing out of control. Why? Only in America can a political party like the Republicans campaign in lock step against competition, against government interference, and against business reform. Only in America can the banner of free enterprise allow medical facilities to focus on greed instead of need.
Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA