Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us – I

ref: Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

Reading this comprehensive article in pages, and thoughts are flowing.

  • Asking for advance payment doesn’t seem entirely wrong to me unless the prices is not exorbitant.  But, seeking huge payment for life threatening disease seems criminal. 
  • Why is it necessary for patients to purchase medicines from the hospital itself.  If they’re given the choice to buy themselves, it will drive the cost down.
  • It compares the price of chest x-ray to individual versus Medicare patient.  I don’t know if the costs are purposefully kept high to cross-subsidise Medicare patients.  But there needs to be some sanity towards pricing.  It could be that insurance companies are willing to pay that much, so it doesn’t matter.  But, where does uninsured or inadequately insured go?  Do they have to pay the hospital as much as insurance companies do?  Do hospitals have any incentives in cutting down how much they charge the insurance companies?  If not, then they need to be created.  The article itself states that,”By law, Medicare’s payments approximate a hospital’s cost of providing a service, including overhead, equipment and salaries.”  So, what are these costs meant for.  I guess, I’ll find it upon reading further.
  • I believe that hospitals able to generate such revenue because insurance companies are willing to pay them any amount so long as they are able to recover from payers.  It seems there aren’t enough incentives for hospitals to bring down their prices, such that they can be passed onto individuals.  In all this, an uninsured or inadequately insured get stuck, and they have no voices besides media.
  • Shouldn’t it be mandated that non-profit hospitals spend only so much on administrative cost.  That is something along the lines of charitable organizations.
  • I think these hospital organizations are penny wise pound foolish when they spend so much time and energy to save costs via process improvement and strategic sourcing.  It would be much simpler and easier if they were to just cut their executive compensation.  But, again what if the insurance companies doesn’t pass it on to their clients?  I think it would be much easier for HMOs as they have their own plan.
  • With cost of Medicare/Medicare a big burden on exchequer and even greater burden via insurance, one really wonders what is happening.  I guess the key cost drivers are the tuition fee of doctors and lack of adequate emphasis on primary care.
  • From the last paragraph, I would like to advice Republicans to help cut down healthcare costs so that business and individuals can invest that money to create more jobs. 

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