The real problem with healthcare

I seldom pontificate on matters of politics.  I have my opinions, don’t get me wrong, but I seldom air them.  First, I don’t like to argue with people mainly because I’m not too good at the kinds of rapid responses that seem to be expected today.  Second, I always come back to some advice my dad gave me.  He said ‘never argue politics or religion, nobody wins.’  Third, and perhaps most important, I don’t usually think it’s worth it.

Every now and then, however, I have to weigh in.  I recently read a TIME magazine article about why health care costs are so high.  Not insurance costs, mind you, but the actual bills you get from the hospital.  I’m not going to try and outline everything I read—it would take too long.  Instead, I’m adding a link to the special report.  I encourage everyone to read this. 

http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/

I’ll be honest and say that I was outraged.  I have no objection to private businesses making money but I don’t believe in price gouging and I have to say that after reading this article that’s exactly what’s been going on here for far too long.  The hospitals are even worse about than the pharmaceutical companies.  Read the whole article (it’s long, I know, but worth your attention) and you’ll see why. 

I admit, I have a personal reason for getting into this.  Many of my friends know that I had a lot of medical issues last year.  I even spent three days in the hospital for a nasty post-operative infection.  While my insurance covered more of the bill than I thought it would I was still on the hook for what I consider to be a substantial amount of money.  I’ll be paying those bills off for a long time.  And the bills keep coming.  My wife had some surgery last year, too, and is having the same problem.  Our issues are trivial compared to those who face critical care bills but it’s still an issue for us. 

So now I’m going to take a position on health care  I know I’ll probably take some heat on this.  So be it.  You may not like what I have to say but I’m going to say it and let the chips fall where they may.

Based on my own experience and the TIME article I have come to believe that the hospital industry is one of the biggest rip-off operations around.  They’ve ripped people off for far more money than Bernie Madoff ever did..  Their executives pull in salaries comparable with executives at major corporations.  Non-profit hospitals exempt from taxes are pulling in millions a year over and above their operating costs.  They have turned into businesses and are being run like them—at the expense of you and me.

I’m not advocating free health care.  I would love it but I also know that it would probably cause more problems than it solved.  I don’t mind paying for health care, but I do object to paying too much.

Oh and just to be clear, I’m not talking about the doctors, the other health care workers or even the insurance companies. I’m talking about the hospitals and the outrageous prices they charge for things you can buy at Wal-Mart or your local pharmacy on the cheap.  How much does a generic Tylenol cost?  How much does a hospital charge you for one?  Oh, and before you say that they have to cover their overhead read the whole article.  Like I said before, it’s long but worth your attention.

I’m interested in what you have to say after you read the WHOLE article.  Your comments and opinions are welcome.  Until next time, then.

Robert

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