Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us – III

ref: Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

  • Unlike other industries, technology in healthcare increases costs.  New and better diagnostic equipment is costlier, even though not always necessary for you.  You can trusts doctors to not use it if not really needed, but for the threat of being sued.
  • There is little patient pushback for these treatment for variety of reasons: getting treated is their topmost priority; unlike other services cost is not discussed upfront with doctors; if your insurance covers you for it, then all the more reason not to discuss; no matter how much researched, patients aren’t qualified enough to argue with the doctor and discussing cost versus benefits with patients makes doctors decision making rather difficult.
  • Sad that safe harbour reform was shot down, under which physicians and hospitals could have argued that they provided care that was within bounds of what peers have established.  It is a known fact that it is not new more expensive tests that save lives, but timely intervention.  Considering how little time doctors pay examining their patients, no amount of tests can counter lack of proper clinical judgement.  That would have also blunted the typical plaintiff argument that more test would have saved patient’s life.
  • The article talks about ad campaign by AHA that Congress not cut hospital payments as that would endanger billions the hospital provide as care to poor or those failing to pay their debt.  Well is that discount they talk off on highly marked up chargemaster price?  Where the latter itself has no basis.

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