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Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
Time Magazine Special Edition ^ | February 20, 2013 | Steven Brill

Posted on 03/03/2013 9:53:11 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum

When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.

(Excerpt) Read more at healthland.time.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
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To: SpaceBar
Previously I acknowledged that you were absolutely correct but that does not explain how we got here.

When government started to pay for medicine, practitioners soon learned to cash in on the gravy train.

You will notice that there are far more procedures than cures.

And while some advances have been made, we have a health care system that is far to large for the capability of a society to support it because no individual had to pay for it.

21 posted on 03/03/2013 11:08:07 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (They say "Right Wing" but they mean "Wrong Wing"!)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

because leftists have been working for decades to make it as expensive as possible and are succeeding.

Wait until its “free”, then it’ll be much worse.


22 posted on 03/03/2013 11:09:05 AM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Tau Food

You have been on the site for a year. You are out of touch with reality as the programs that are killing us are SCHIP, Medicaid,EBT cards that were strictly for food now being used for booze and tobacco,head start plus free this and that for every damn minority.


23 posted on 03/03/2013 11:19:58 AM PST by Lumper20 (`)
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To: Joshua

Not to argue with your words, but how much over what such people put into Medicare should they get back? I saw a graphic this week that shows the average Medicare money spent on men and women was $160,000 and $180,000, respectively (women had more, I presume, due to longer lives and/or more problem). The average they had contributed over their lives? $55,000.

I am not for anyone determining what people should “not get,” but any system that can’t be sustained, will crash, with far worse consequences falling on those left holding the bag.

I would suggest you rethink your words. There is no personal glory to God provided by paying taxes. It is through voluntary giving that God is glorified.

A Dummie Funnies by minister FReeper Charles Hendrickson brough part of this to light:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2992917/posts

You sound like the DUmmie who doesn’t get it.


24 posted on 03/03/2013 11:22:14 AM PST by ConservativeMind ("Humane" = "Don't pen up pets or eat meat, but allow infanticide, abortion, and euthanasia.")
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To: SpaceBar
Yes, it’s really that simple

Yes, it is that simple.

If healthcare was 100% turned over to the free market we would have a burgeoning industry filled with all kinds of competition, innovation and probably a 80% dive in costs.

Sort of what happening with technology in the last decades. Can you imagine how stultified and expensive computer technology would be if Gov't had been in charge of it?

Health care is no different.

25 posted on 03/03/2013 11:26:27 AM PST by what's up
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To: Lumper20
You have been on the site for a year. You are out of touch with reality as the programs that are killing us are SCHIP, Medicaid,EBT cards that were strictly for food now being used for booze and tobacco,head start plus free this and that for every damn minority.

Okay, maybe as I stay here longer, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare will somehow become more constitutional or more affordable. Time will tell, I guess, but I doubt you are right.

26 posted on 03/03/2013 11:27:55 AM PST by Tau Food (Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.)
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To: Tau Food
Old people need to really understand that death is normal and natural.

Old people ought to have the choice of spending their own money on their health care, instead of having that money stolen by the government and then having the government decide what treatment they wish to pay for.

27 posted on 03/03/2013 11:43:26 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum ("Somebody has to be courageous enough to stand up to the bullies." --Dr. Ben Carson)
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To: Tau Food
And, I would never deny care to the old. The patient should make that decision, and pay for it.

Neither you nor anyone else will ever have health care or any other large issue just as they want it. It's very cavalier and easy to say that: "The patient should make that decision, and pay for it," concerning health care. But with the cost of health care these days very few could pay for their care, and fewer and fewer can afford adequate insurance coverage.

It's a complicated issue and it won't be solved by Obamacare, or by cavalier and easily thrown around statements such as yours.

The only real solution was/is an economy that provides enough good jobs that a large majority of citizens can afford their own health insurance. But we are getting further and further away from that so we can be sure that the people will vote themselves "free" health care are long as that situtation exists.

28 posted on 03/03/2013 11:43:26 AM PST by Will88
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To: GeronL
Wait until its “free”, then it’ll be much worse.

It's already "free" to people who spend every cent that comes their way and have no money in the bank.

People who save and have money in the bank pay through the nose.

The goal is to make everyone equally destitute.

29 posted on 03/03/2013 11:45:07 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum ("Somebody has to be courageous enough to stand up to the bullies." --Dr. Ben Carson)
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To: Tau Food

If I get diagnosed, I am gonna die, not because I don’t have insurance, because I do, but because I am not going to allow the “medical establishment” free access to to their ridiculous experiments. Pain relief is it. Done. Finis.


30 posted on 03/03/2013 11:55:49 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Tau Food

You would be a perfect candidate for a position on one of 0bama’s Death Care Panels. Or in an earlier time, you would have fit right in with Himmler’s SS.


31 posted on 03/03/2013 11:59:33 AM PST by SVTCobra03 (You can never have enough friends, horsepower or ammunition.)
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To: Will88

#4, which the author has been troll-chain posting on various threads, is an example of what you get when you try to be a “conservative” but without God in the equation.


32 posted on 03/03/2013 12:01:18 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: SVTCobra03
Death is not evil. It is not even the end. It is the beginning of a new, eternal life.

As for Obama's Death Care Panels, I am not the one who thinks that government should be involved in health care. If you want to depend on the government to unnaturally extend your life and then bill future generations for it, I guess you have a right to that opinion.

When it's time to go, it's time to go.

33 posted on 03/03/2013 12:05:43 PM PST by Tau Food (Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

The woman who is CEO of Sarasota Memorial Hospital (a county tax-supported hospital) receives around $600,000 in salary. Ridiculous!


34 posted on 03/03/2013 12:06:22 PM PST by RightWingConspirator (Obamanation--the most corrupt regime since Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe)
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To: Tau Food
This problem has really only developed in the last half century. Prior to that, no one wasted huge amounts of money to unnecessarily extend the lives of people who were dying. For thousands of years, we had the good sense to "let them go" when their bodies wore out. Death is normal. Death is natural. Death is good.

You are correct (at least partially) that this problem developed in the last half of the century, but your cause is way off. It wasn't that people didn't waste huge sums of money to unnecssarily extend the lives of people who were dying. Instead the medical advances had not been discovered. So no amount of money could have allowed you to to even attempt to extend your life. It was a fact of life, and people accepted this fact of life because there was no alternative.

However, with the advancement of medical technology, procedures, equiptment, and medicines it is no longer a fact of life. Lives can be extended. Government got involved in healthcare, not to extend the lives of very old people who were close to death, but more so to aid the poor who could not afford health insurance. This is why most Americans did not object. The problem was small and the costs were not prohibitive.

I know you say now, because you are no doubt young, that old people should just be left to die. I wonder if you will hold the same beliefs when you get old. I wonder if you will have reason to extend your miserable life, even if it is only for a few more years.

I have health insurance, but that being said I do not run to the doctor every time I feel a little bit sick. But that is because I was the son of a doctor and was taught to wait until it got worse before seeking medical attention. Fortunately in my 60 years I have not really needed the services of the medical profession except for 3 times. Once for a piece of gless that lodged in my right rear calf that required stitches, once for a hernia that required an out patient surgery procedure, and the third time for a snake bite from a baby copperhead (that one cost me 66,600). Needless to say I check really carefully before I pick up something in the yard now!!!

The reason I mention this is because too many people who have health insurance run to the doctor, or more importantly to the emergency room, more often than they need to. Why? Because they were not paying for it, their health insurance was paying for it. But this unnecessary activity caused health insurance providers to raise their rates. Not because the health insurance providers wer mean, but becuase there was more demand placed upon them.

So your analogy that government caused heath care costs to go up is only partially correct again. The blame lies with each and every individual seeking medical attention. Especially when it is not needed, which was caused by our not having to pay for it directly. I am not blaming us, I am just saying we have a share in the blame.

I know I have been blessed to have required so little need to seek medical attention, but there are those that do need medical attention and on an ongoing basis. My wife falls in that category, and for that reason I do not mind speanding a little extra for those who have the need, but I do think that government forcing everyone to participate is either pure evil or misguided compassion. But one thing is for sure, we cannot afford to keep saddling our children with more and more debt. They should be allowed to create their own debt.

Let me conclude that while I may agree with your original argument (at least some if not most) I totally disagree with the manner in which you presented it. First you attempted to argue that our health care costs issues can all be laid at the feet of old people for trying to extend their miserable lives. While old people may require more than young people it is true, we old people have paid our dues my young friend. Secondly, most of us old people have no more miserable of a life than young people. In many ways we have less miserable lives. Thirdly, peoples choices have attributed to the overall costs of health care. Drug usage, alcohol useage, cigarette usage, aberrant sexual activities, even food consumption play a big part in health care costs rising. Medical advances have been another reason, as these have required greater costs in education (both time & money) and development & acquisition of equipment. One last reason, which many argue is the greatest reason, is the cost of litigation, created by our ever expanding litigious society that was not as prevalent 50 years or so ago.

If you had just stuck to your contention that governement need not be involved I would have said you are 100% correct.

35 posted on 03/03/2013 12:23:09 PM PST by Robert DeLong (u)
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To: AmericanExceptionalist
With a managed-care plan (either a PPO or an HMO), there is usually an enormous difference between the Submitted Charges and the Plan Allowance (i.e. the amount that the healthcare provider is contractually obligated to accept as payment in full).

And that is one of the major problems in our health care system today. Unlike normal markets where prices are known, and guide commerce, true prices are hidden in the medical industry, and the published prices are wildly inflated. Thus as you noted, a $5000 invoice has $3200 in it that nobody is expected to pay. That means that the true price is nothing like what the invoice says it is.

But the patient without insurance still gets sued for the full $5000, and I wouldn't be surprised if the hospital writes off the full $5000 as "unpaid medical care" when they write up their financials. But for most patients the hospital is more than happy to receive the $1800 for the transaction, which of course is the real price.

One consequence of the fake pricing used by the medical industry is that it becomes impossible to determine what medical care really costs. Which number is the real price - the one on paper which is applied to some unlucky customers, or the price which the hospital agreed to provide the service for in its contract with the insurance carriers - a confidential document.

No other industry functions this way, and for most businesses this kind of fake pricing with secret pricing for different groups of customers is illegal. (and no, medical industry pricing schemes are unlike quantity discounts, or affiliate marketing discounts, contrary to what their defenders say.)

The first step to reforming our medical system is to force it to adopt open, published pricing like the rest of commerce.

36 posted on 03/03/2013 12:31:02 PM PST by freeandfreezing
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To: Robert DeLong
I know you say now, because you are no doubt young, that old people should just be left to die. . . .

Fortunately in my 60 years

You and I are both young, but you are younger than me. ;-)

I think you and I agree on most everything here. And, I suspect that you, like me, will know when it's time to go.

I didn't mean to say, if I did say, that government is the cause of high health care costs I will say again that Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare are unconstitutional. I will also say that it is a fact that too much of the Medicare money is used to create the appearance of life in old folks who are not in any meaningful sense still living. And, I will also say again that the entire system is bound to collapse financially because so much money is wasted in that sort of fashion.

But, I still believe in liberty and so I believe that if some old fart wants to continue "living" for an extra few weeks or months with tubes emerging from every orifice, then i think he should have that right so long as he pays for it.

37 posted on 03/03/2013 12:50:21 PM PST by Tau Food (Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.)
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To: Tau Food
You and I are both young, but you are younger than me. ;-)

I must admit, that does surprise me.

If you mean that too many Americans act in selfish irresponsible ways, then yes I agree with that assertion.

We need to look at how our decisions affect others, especially if that decision requires others to pay for it or even assist in paying for it. Either way it is not our government's responsibility to force people to support other people. Either here are abroad.

If the government would stick to the Constitution we would not have a lot of the problems we currently do have. At least at the Federal level. Too bad many Americans do not see this reality.

However, I still disagree with how you choose to presented your argument. Not that you don't have a right to present it how you deem fit, but I think if you try to present it in a different fashoin you will find less blow back. Just a suggestion.

38 posted on 03/03/2013 1:59:03 PM PST by Robert DeLong (u)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks E. Pluribus Unum.
If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free. -- P. J. O'Rourke

39 posted on 03/03/2013 4:20:55 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: Tau Food

I would not want to be the souls who kill people for government “savings’ (rationing). They will all pay and pay for eternity.

In mass murder (genocide), deluded good intentions don’t matter. They are like Nazis under a different gig.

Don’t cheer for them, rationalize nor condone their mass murder. Don’t let them turn your soul cold for an ideology that lost to them.


40 posted on 03/03/2013 5:01:13 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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