Ridiculous

There’s a lot to be dissatisfied with when it comes to healthcare.

I won’t bore you with a laundry list. You surely know most of it.

And you’re surely burdened by at least some it, no matter how much money you have.

But recent murmurings in Congress shone a spotlight on one aspect of our healthcare system in the U.S. that really gets my goat.

Pricing.

And not that everything is too expensive (but it definitely is).

It’s that you rarely know the cost before you buy.

I’m all about a free market. It’s what’s driven America to be what it is.

Supply & demand. What the market will bear. Competition. Entrepreneurialism.

Sure, there can be flaws with any of it. On the whole however, it’s good for growth, for jobs, and ultimately, for the consumer.

But when it comes to health, there’s often no opportunity to “shop around.”

Hospitals don’t tell you what your procedure will cost before they do it.

All too often, you don’t know how much a drug will cost until you’re standing at the pharmacy window.

And the cost if you have insurance is often different than if you don’t.

Isn’t it time we had a little more transparency here? Letting you know you often do have a choice… and with choice comes cost savings?

Look, transparency isn’t a cure-all. Most hospitals do most services. But they don’t all do them equally well.

Readmission rates, complications, the experience of the staff, rates of mortality, citations for hazards… this stuff all matters.

But can you imagine shopping for anything else and never knowing how much it cost until after you’ve agreed to buy it? And having no chance to backtrack… and certainly no “money back guarantee?”

I don’t know how to solve this problem. Maybe some “disruptor” will upend the healthcare system and become the “Amazon” or “Uber” of health.

Though I’m not sure it’s worth the cost savings to pull out my cell phone and be treated by someone on their “side hustle.”

Not a lot of people shop around. Too few ask questions. But the ones that do can save money.

And asking questions can save you unwanted and unnecessary procedures too.

Food for thought.

God Bless,

Jeff Reagan

Editor, Patriot Health Alliance

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20 thoughts on “Ridiculous

  1. Hello
    I think your article makes many good points.
    As a healthcare provider things need to be improved for the patient.
    The last thing to do is throw everything away and have „nothing”: socialized medicine, single payer,or Medicare for all or whatever you want to call it.

  2. It would be nice if the doctors would treat what it really wrong not just the symptoms. Their training now seems to be what the symptoms are and do drugs rather that digging for what is wrong and trying to treat that.

    1. Back in the 1960’s or so at an annual AMA convention the new approach to medicine was explained that rather than cure many “Not so serious” health conditions,there is more money in managing them… big pharma and physicians alike hit the motherlode. Now it’s gotten to the point where not only is this is the status quo but the attitude in many doctors offices, imaging facilities drug stores to name a few is the it’s a privilege for one to walk through the door. I have been treated like cattle being moved through a chute and then the doctor blows in like a whirlwind, asks a couple of quick questions,speed reads my lab reports and then writes a prescription or two and then double times it out of the exam room leaving one feeling like was this a dream or did this really happen ? It’s all about the money

  3. The problem with health care in the USA , just like everything, it is all about money. Everyone wants to be a billionaire , but not enough billionaires want to give back , are vote for a health care system that might cause a lose of income for themselves. Greed is the root to all evil, and unfortunately there are a whole lot of greedy people in this world. If politicians were forced to pay their own expenses, health care, travel, security, etc.. We would have a more equal playing field. Such as a fare health care system. The cost of pharmaceuticals would be lower, heath care would be more affordable, it is all about money…

  4. I work in healthcare. While I agree with the transparency suggestion, it goes much deeper than that. In my opinion, the entire system is broken, and needs a complete overhaul. In healthcare, manufacturers, insurance companies, and to a lesser degree, Surgeons are the winners. Many hospitals operate on a 3-4% profit margin, yet they’re expected to stay at the forefront of equipment and technology.

    I believe that government involvement is a major factor in our present situation. Even before Obamacare was implemented, government was dictating levels of coverage, and amounts of reimbursement, which was further squeezed by insurance companies taking their cuts. The result has been an incredible inflation of fictitious pricing charges implemented by most involved parties…just so they could hopefully come close to either hitting their profit margins, or to come close to covering their operating costs.

    We need to ‘start over’, with a truly transparent, and capitalist market, with little to no involvement from lobbyists and government entities. This would undoubdtedly have an enormous negative impact on financial markets. However, until that happens, I don’t think we’ll ever solve the problem.

  5. If the money sucker in Washington would like to help Healthcare they need to go to other countries and look at what they have. One thing they do have is the Drug and Insurance companies calling the shots. Do you know that you can go overseas and get better and cheaper Health care that you can in the States? You should look at how many people go overseas every year for their Health needs. Even with the fact they have to pay to get there, they save a ton of money. The U.S. has become a bunch of SLIMEBALLS and all they want is money. I wonder what they are going to do when the Dollar become worthless more so than now, because its not worth the paper its printed on now.

  6. If ALL health care was a non- profit- there would be a start.
    However, even that model is flawed. The basic Corporate Algorithm installed in our economy is the pre-programed instructions “Make as much profit as you can”. That “driver” gives alibi to all this insanity, and lets off the hook any reasonable cry for equity. Behind the profit are non-competitive trusts that squeeze the individual wage earners last penny to fuel “corporate shareholder’s earnings” for promised investors sustenance in a circle of inflation.
    The tapping of medical income streams by insurance companies, labor organizations, bribery, R and D- all take the individual payers to beyond affordability. Insurance companies realize “enterprise zones” and actually bill by zip codes that assure “affordability” by the economy of each region, and is tapping paychecks to the maximum.
    There IS a solution, however. And, it comes from a very counterintuitive realm. We CAN afford health care- even WITH all the greed and guile mentioned above, if the economy were not already paying for a much larger debt-Secrecy.
    Our system is dependent upon the OIL economy whose sustenance is poisoning the world in every respect. We call it “The Petrol Dollar Economy.” .. Whether solved by LFTR ( safer Thorium reactors), or releasing anti-gravity knowledge to the marketplace— one of these two energy opportunities will revolutionize our world. Apparently, we are not ready to acknowledge , nor allowed to pursue either.Those that even speak of either solution are being sequestered by a cabal of power that cuts of any suggestion of such possibilities through threat, diversion, and forced extinction of the pursuit of these ideas. Life is short, yet even shorter for those that run against the grain. Speak truth to power. It is available to all, yet not always profitable in the short run.

  7. Loved your email regarding transparency in healthcare pricing/shopping.; it is a rip-off of sorts..
    You always make good sense. Keep it up, Jeff!

  8. My late father was an orthopedic surgeon in Baltimore, Md and practiced medicine in the city from the early 1960’s
    till his death in 2013. One thing I can say about the way he did medicine, and he had many, many beloved patients who adored him, was that he was an incredibly generous, kind and personal kind of doctor who really cared about
    his patients. Most came right off the streets. Many times, my mother, who sometimes filled in for his office manager, was quite frustrated with how
    charitable he was, and how many people he told to just wear arch supports, lose weight, get better shoes, eat better,
    quit smoking/drinking, even wear a better bra for some of the heavier women. I’m sure the sports injuries that we are overcome with now would baffle him. Parents?? Hello? He was very slow to recommend surgery. Obviously he was most helpful in the emergency rooms, as he was quite an artist with creative fixes…but
    he was not a greedy man. Sometimes there were years where he didn’t make much money after paying for malpractice insurance and other business expenses. Dad recommended to his 6 children NOT to get into medicine, as it had become nothing more than a business, a cut throat business at that. This was never the goal of medicine. This is my point, in medicine, as in other disciplines, we need to stress VOCATION…a calling…that great work that God is calling us so that we can help humanity along. Medicine, esp. modern medicine with all its pharmaceutical so called wonder pills is a far cry from helping humanity be more human. Quite the opposite I’d say. I stay away from it like the plague.

  9. Jeff, you are right to complain about the lack of a more flexible and responsive health care apparatus in the US. At every aspect, there’s room to improve – or even totally revamp. What must not happen is a ” One Size Fits All ” plan that is imposed on everyone. One aspect of medical care that can be rapidly improved involves the pharmaceutical industry, with its fat protective patent systems, huge markups, and ridiculous overcharges for in-hospital drugs and supplies. Another area that is gradually undergoing change (not fast enough) involves insurance plans. Insurers should be able to offer or be required to provide nationwide coverage with non-cancellation for pre-existent conditions, flexible enough to include bare-bones plans all the way up to deluxe coverage. I could rant on about ridiculous restrictions on prescribing practices that effectively violate doctors’ Hippocratic Oath to first do no harm. I hope you get a ton of responses today.
    Barry

  10. I have acquired a fine book “The Lost Remedies of Nature” which describes, gives preparation instructions and uses plants which grow through out the U.S. All ingredients are available in grocery stores and some in stores focused on natural items, organic items and holistic approaches. These not only cure some issues which the medical-pharma-legal triad would have you think is only solved by the pills and potions with side effects, which can be worse than the disease, plus only treat symptoms and not problems. There are also preventative ways to stave off illness. This is not a “final treatment” book, but, does provide real and viable solutions and prevention approaches similar to the holistic concepts of Asian Medicine and treatments from Native Americans.

  11. Get this story..
    I went to the doc for some tendon soreness. He prescribed an ointment. When I asked how much it would cost, be said not much, it’s generic. When I went to the pharmacy to pick it up the cost was over $60 for a tube of ointment! I asked if this was the generic, they said no. I told them the doc said it would be generic and they looked at the prescription and said oh, it does say you can have the generic. I had to go back the next day to get the generic and guess what? $8.00! Can you believe it? If I hadn’t known to ask I would’ve paid over $50 extra for the same thing!!!

  12. Jeff, I do shop around and get pricing. I have crap for insurance, and have been told by my insurance company that I am maxed out for the year…that was in July when I found out I had prostate cancer. This is not what I signed up for, and unfortunately, I have no way to prove it as I was not given anything in writing that specifically laid out the coverage. I was read over the phone what the coverage was, took good notes, however they deny, my notes….My point is that when I tell potential providers of no insurance I can negotiate a lower price. Perfect example, when I needed a bone scan & CT scan the insurance price was $1,200.00. My out of pocket price was $650.00. No wonder our insurance prices are so high!! How much do insurance companies have to make to be profitable at our expense?
    My urologist charges me $25.00 for my PSA bloodwork(he has a contract with the testing facility), the company/facility lab charges me $265.00.
    Appreciate your emails…………Lane

  13. I have been quite satisfied and usually very happy with any product that I have purchased from Patriot Health and never hesitate to tell people to try the products and see for themselves. However the reports about the U.S. health care situation is news to me as I am a Canadian. I am happy with our system but I can see that it isn’t something every one wants. Please keep sending me the emails as I like getting them. Also keep sending me info about your new products.

    Thank you, Ann Bews.

  14. This reminds me of a conversation that transpired on a friend’s facebook page. I suggested that they should post price lists on the walls of emergency rooms. 😉

  15. I would like to see prices on drugs equal to those in Mexico & Canada. Somehow there needs to be some control.
    Also health insurance needs to be available to all at a reasonable price. Life is a gift from God. Denying someone health care is inhumane and not Christian.

  16. Jeff,
    Hillsdale College in Michigan just wrote up a very informative article on the healthcare system and historically how we got into this mess. Recommend you read it.

    Thanks,
    Dwight

  17. Yea! Yea! I AGREE with you, Jeff!
    Their are certain commonsense issues that do not consider this matter as an important factor in the lives of Americans.
    However, some may regard the issue as being overly socialistic.
    I have been fortunate to have worked for a Henry J. Kaiser company, Kaiser Engineers, in Oakland, California.
    I suggest that you check out this man because during World War II, he started a Healthcare Plan that still flourishes today. And as a 91 year old retired worker, I am forever grateful for Henry J. Kaiser’s foresight.
    PLEASE check out his many accomplishments.
    You could be surprised!

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