For the record, the bills for my emergency gallbladder surgery this past December keep coming. To date of the total $7906.11 billed, my Highmark insurance paid 75% leaving me with an outstanding bill of $1989.86.
With this recent unexpected surgery expense, I was very eager to read Stephen Brill’s comprehensive article about our healthcare problems: Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us. Brill follows the money to explain the too many inherent inequalities in our system and how Obama Care does nothing to address the underlying issues behind these skyrocketing health care costs.
Brill discusses many important ideas in detail including how changes in Medicare could actually lower overall costs and bring some fairness to the system; how we need to tighten antitrust laws to keep hospitals competitive; why we need to exercise our right to tax not-for-profit hospitals who make high profits and limit non-doctor excessive salaries; and how to create and require a process that uses actual and thoroughly transparent costs; limits profit margins on drug companies, CT, MRI tests and other outpatient services, to name only a few of the actions that stood out for me.
It’s sad but true, one-fifth of our economy, our largest consumer product, does not operate in a free marketplace. When are we going to do something to stop that?