Did you know the number one cause of bankruptcy in America is healthcare expenses? SERIOUSLY. Go google it, I’ll wait…CRAZY right? But no one is doing anything about this. Yes, Obama got more Americans coverage, which is great. But the problem is not the amount of Americans that are covered, it is the cost of healthcare. Even with healthcare you can still rack up huge amounts of debt. Getting more Americans coverage is like making sure everyone has a raincoat before a tsunami. Pointless. Instead of distributing all the raincoats, do something to stop or reduce the tsunami.
Of course stopping a tsunami is very difficult, but so is changing healthcare in the US. the healthcare industry has so many politicians wrapped around their fingers that any meaningful change will be hard pressed to be passed. Healthcare was not always this expensive, and it really isn’t as expensive as it seems in the US. All over the world healthcare is done rather cheaply and there are all kinds of arguments that the US costs more because the care is better and what not, but this isn’t true. Check out this post from Newsweek published by Ryan Bort http://www.newsweek.com/united-states-health-care-rated-worst-637114
We are seriously last in all the countries that were analyzed. In pretty much every area the US healthcare system is awful. I am not going to make the single payer argument in this post, although that would make the most sense. In this post I want to take about how pissed off you should be that you are getting screwed everyday of your life.
Ever heard of something called a charge master? No? I mean, that’s fair, it is rather obscure. It is the document that hospitals use to charge for things. California requires that hospitals publish this information, so I took the liberty to pull one up for you from Hanford Community Medical Center. All The prices below are taken from their 2016 charge master. It is the first one on the page when you filter by 2016, go look at the prices. https://www.oshpd.ca.gov/chargemaster/default.aspx
Let’s say you get dehydrated, you pass out at a sporting event and are taken to the hospital and oh no, you don’t have insurance. The first cost you get hit with is an ambulance charge which we won’t even get into because it’s so variable, but trust me $500-2000 is not going to be uncommon here. Ok, so you are taken into the ER for treatment, you have now woken up and are sitting there wondering how you got there. Well, you are in the ER so you get a fee for that, Which this isn’t a serious case, so they may treat it as a Level 1 which comes with a tag of $707. As you are sitting there, the nurse, or doctor, assess you and figures out you are dehydrated. Well, that is an assessment, or screening, and that has a price tag of $500. They start an IV on you to give you fluids, the IV fee is $134. They hook a bag of saline up to it, that’s $524. (These cost a dollar by the way). Then let’s say they keep you there for an hour, which is another $88. They let you go and you think all is well. Until you get hit by a whopping $2,000 bill minimum, not including the ambulance.
$2,000 for a simple thing, that is insane. Go look through them, the charges for some things are insane. I chose a very simple thing for everyone just to give an example. But even with insurance, this could cost you a few hundred dollars to the full cost depending on what type you have. We should be outraged that they are allowed to charge $524 for a $1 dollar bag of saline. We should be outraged that they charge $707 to just have a room in the ER and then bill a minimum of $88 every hour you are there. Higher costs does not mean better care.