Why Medical Bills are Killing US - Time Article

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    Suppose you and I both went into a restaurant and both ordered a steak and lobster dinner. Both meals are prepared the same and both were delicious. Then when our bills came, you were charged $157.61 and I was charged $11.02. Would you think that fair? That's what is happening every day in our health care system.

    Janice S. was also charged $157.61 for a CBC — the complete blood count that those of us who are ER aficionados remember George Clooney ordering several times a night. Medicare pays $11.02 for a CBC in Connecticut.
    The first of the 344 lines printed out across eight pages of his hospital bill — filled with indecipherable numerical codes and acronyms — seemed innocuous. But it set the tone for all that followed. It read, “1 ACETAMINOPHE TABS 325 MG.” The charge was only $1.50, but it was for a generic version of a Tylenol pill. You can buy 100 of them on Amazon for $1.49 even without a hospital’s purchasing power.


    Dozens of midpriced items were embedded with similarly aggressive markups, like $283.00 for a “CHEST, PA AND LAT 71020.” That’s a simple chest X-ray, for which MD Anderson is routinely paid $20.44 when it treats a patient on Medicare, the government health care program for the elderly.
    Every time a nurse drew blood, a “ROUTINE VENIPUNCTURE” charge of $36.00 appeared, accompanied by charges of $23 to $78 for each of a dozen or more lab analyses performed on the blood sample. In all, the charges for blood and other lab tests done on Recchi amounted to more than $15,000. Had Recchi been old enough for Medicare, MD Anderson would have been paid a few hundred dollars for all those tests. By law, Medicare’s payments approximate a hospital’s cost of providing a service, including overhead, equipment and salaries.
    I'm not sure the answer to this but it seems like usury to allow charges to be jacked up so high or to let Medicare pay way under what they should. I don't know which is happening but it's probably a bit of both.



    http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/2...ling-us/print/
    herring_RN likes this.
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  3. 14 Comments so far...

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    I just want to know why it costs my insurance $277 to see my psychiatrist for sixty minutes (I pay $50 of it) and $165-and-change for 30 days' worth of generic Geodon (I pay full price for that). Of course, sanity is well worth any price, but it sure blows a hole in the budget.
    aknottedyarn, tewdles, and herring_RN like this.
  5. 4
    Would someone please tell me why the heck it costs my cousin who has advancing MS $1800 PER SHOT? Her insurance covers all but $20 per injection, but since she gives herself one every three days, it still adds up. Fast.

    When the dog needed an RX refill and the Vet was almost out and we took the written scrip to the drugstore, the pills were cheaper because they had a dog's name instead of a person's...
    aknottedyarn, VivaLasViejas, tewdles, and 1 other like this.
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    Our FDA makes sure the US is a captive market so that everyone from manufacturing to distributing to retail can charge as much as they think we can pay. When you see what they charge for the same drug in other countries it's sickening. I don't know this site and cannot recommend them but check out the difference in pricing from US source to other sources for this one med. Even with the same company the pricing changes dramatically. http://www.northdrugstore.com/buy-Geodon.html
    sharpeimom, aknottedyarn, StNeotser, and 2 others like this.
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    One of the nurses I work with takes a friend to Mexico each month to buy her chemo. It's the same drug and manufacturer as in the US but at a tenth of the cost.
    aknottedyarn, tewdles, and herring_RN like this.
  8. 4
    Quote from azhiker96
    Our FDA makes sure the US is a captive market so that everyone from manufacturing to distributing to retail can charge as much as they think we can pay. When you see what they charge for the same drug in other countries it's sickening. I don't know this site and cannot recommend them but check out the difference in pricing from US source to other sources for this one med. Even with the same company the pricing changes dramatically. http://www.northdrugstore.com/buy-Geodon.html
    You might remember that part of Obama's 2008 platform was to open up the pharmaceutical market in the US to foreign competition (so long as they were the same as US drugs), this idea was vilified by the right as Socialism and as a result never made it's way into the ACA:
    Reimporting Socialism, Not Drugs | Conservative News, Views & Books
    aknottedyarn, StNeotser, tewdles, and 1 other like this.
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    Too bad he didn't push it through anyway when he had both the House and Senate. I'm tired of US consumers paying for R&D to develop new drugs for the rest of the world. The article Muno linked does seem to paint a bleak picture if we did open up our market to offshore pharmacies. I think we should limit the prices here to the median price charged in the world. If someone does try to manufacture in spite of patent protection then we can use whatever is needed to convince them to stop.
    aknottedyarn, tewdles, herring_RN, and 1 other like this.
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    Nice try but the right couldn't stop anything from being put into the bill. Obama got what he wanted anything that was stopped was by Democrats in the house and or senate. This isn't even debateable.

    Quote from MunoRN
    You might remember that part of Obama's 2008 platform was to open up the pharmaceutical market in the US to foreign competition (so long as they were the same as US drugs), this idea was vilified by the right as Socialism and as a result never made it's way into the ACA:
    Reimporting Socialism, Not Drugs | Conservative News, Views & Books
  11. 0
    that's just it he could have if he wanted to. He was actually for the bill before he was against it.

    Quote from azhiker96
    Too bad he didn't push it through anyway when he had both the House and Senate. I'm tired of US consumers paying for R&D to develop new drugs for the rest of the world. The article Muno linked does seem to paint a bleak picture if we did open up our market to offshore pharmacies. I think we should limit the prices here to the median price charged in the world. If someone does try to manufacture in spite of patent protection then we can use whatever is needed to convince them to stop.
  12. 1
    Quote from azhiker96
    Too bad he didn't push it through anyway when he had both the House and Senate. I'm tired of US consumers paying for R&D to develop new drugs for the rest of the world. The article Muno linked does seem to paint a bleak picture if we did open up our market to offshore pharmacies. I think we should limit the prices here to the median price charged in the world. If someone does try to manufacture in spite of patent protection then we can use whatever is needed to convince them to stop.
    I think this is a grand idea...
    herring_RN likes this.


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