Our messed up healthcare system

If there’s anything we can agree with our friends on the left about, it’s that the American healthcare system is out of control.

I recently had a small growth biopsied and removed. It was an office procedure, taking no more than 10 minutes. I ended up paying over a thousand dollars for that procedure and biopsy.

That was almost 2 months ago. A few days ago, I got this charge:

Laboratory Pathological 99.00
Health Plan Payments and Adjustments -79.15
Hospital Services 99.00 -79.15 0.00 19.85

The bold part specifies which procedure I’m actually getting billed for. Incidentally, it took several mouse clicks to reveal that the $99 charge was to place a specimen upon a slide. How generous of my insurance company to pay most of it – so that I must pay only $19.85 for this service. I should have volunteered to do it myself.

How might this messed-up system impact out struggle against the Corona virus? From Business Insider:

An American man and his daughter were quarantined over coronavirus fears for two weeks after they were evacuated from China, and now he says he’s facing more than $2,600 in medical bills for his government-mandated hospital stay, according to The New York Times

They were met with bills adding up to $3,918 from hospital doctors, radiologists, and an ambulance company, according to The Times. Nearly $2,600 is from the ambulance company…

A spokesman for Rady Children’s Hospital told The Times that the hospital charged Wucinski for his stays in error, and removed the costs from his bills. The spokesman said the hospital is investigating the error and is working with the government regarding billing.

But Wucinski still owes $2,598 for the ambulance ride and $90 for radiology costs. He also has to cover the $2,200 cost of his flight to the US…

The CDC told CBS Sacramento that if patients have healthcare, bills will be submitted to their provider. If a patient does not have healthcare insurance, the government is expected to pay the bills, likely through Medicaid, CBS Sacramento reported.

It’s the last paragraph that worries me. Many of us do, indeed, have insurance – but our deductibles are so high that the insurance companies won’t pay any of it (in most cases). So, when the CDC says “the bills will be submitted to their provider,” it looks to me like the patient will be on the hook if his deductible hasn’t been met for that year.

With so many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, exposing oneself to such medical bills is simply not an option. We will continue to work, to mingle, and to infect others.

What is my solution to our outrageous healthcare costs?

All medical schools, including dentistry and other specialties, will accept new students based ONLY on merit.

All medical schools that receive any taxpayer subsidies will be required to dramatically reduce their tuition. This can be accomplished by laying off all of the high-paying clerical positions, ceasing all non-essential construction projects, putting a cap on professor salaries and eliminating costly textbooks. I’m sure there’s more that can be done to accomplish this. The goal is to prevent medical students from entering the workforce with large debts hanging over their heads.

Rescind the law that hospitals must treat all who enter; reserve that right for citizens only. If you’re a non-citizen who is visiting, on a valid visa, you may be treated, just as Americans are treated abroad.

We need to have a 2, or 3, tiered hospital system. The vast majority of treatments can be done cheaply, and with old equipment. We don’t need state of the art equipment for everything. That sort of expensive care should be reserved for tier-1 hospitals, where life-threatening diseases are treated.

Politicians whose ties are too close to the pharmaceutical industry should be purged from office. Healthy competition, among drug companies, should be encouraged, and Americans should be encouraged to purchase their prescription drugs from abroad, where prices are more reasonable. This is already happening to some extent.

With a system such as the one we have, I have little hope that we can effectively defend ourselves from this latest virus. It would be poetic justice if some big pharma, and insurance, executives got infected with the Corona virus.


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5 Responses to Our messed up healthcare system

  1. I says:

    “We need to have a 2, or 3, tiered hospital system.”

    We could do the same with medical practitioners, Open things up a bit.

  2. MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    The problem is real. Your solutions are a batshit mix of fascism and utter stupidity.

  3. CharlesK says:

    “All medical schools, including dentistry and other specialties, will accept new students based ONLY on merit.“

    There I respectfully have to disagree with you. I noticed at a Montreal medical school, and from chatting to physician friends, that the secretive admissions process seems aimed to make sure that there are enough front line physicians. General Practitioners I mean.

    The most meritorious, the really brainy types go on for more and more eduction to specialize, or even disappear into research. You don’t want tooooo many of them. One acquaintance didn’t finish medical school until he was 35, at which time he received a dual appointment as assistant professor and as head of a department at the Jewish General (I mention that because I though it interesting that he was not himself Jewish). In the meantime, at the same age of 35, a friend of mine had been practicing as a GP for 14 years.

    It looks like, though I can’t prove it, that they look for some of the potential GPs amongst the brainy who are less qualified for medicine. Two friends of mine had non science undergraduate degrees but became GPs. Regardless of how clever they were, they were unlikely to be able to progress very far into a specialization.

    And then it seems (to me, I cannot prove it) that they look for medical students among studious and hardworking semi-dullards who spoke a third language at home (because French and English are a given in Quebec). They were admitted preferentially over slightly more qualified individuals who didn’t have the third language and the second generation immigrant cultural awareness. They now practice on Montreal’s Greek, Italian, and Chinese populations. And that same argument can be made for admitting some of those who may want to set up private practice in “black” neighbourhoods.
    I hate to say “semi-dullards” but several GPs I know are simply stupid outside their skill in dealing with diaper rash, ringworm, high blood pressure, and type two diabetes. They are the front line and they recognize and refer anything complex to a specialist.

    • jewamongyou says:

      “Merit” can mean various things. One thing it should NOT mean is particular ethnicities. It definitely does not have to mean “superior intelligence.” Compassion and empathy could definitely be taken into consideration, as well as the knowledge of certain languages (though I think we should be careful of the latter).

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