This is a true story. A family member had an accident in the home. She took a nasty backward fall and her head slammed against a piece of sharp edged furniture. The result was a bloody mess and a call to 911 for assistance. Ambulance, police and fire department vehicles were promptly on the scene. The patient was transported to the hospital about 4 miles distant.
Three stitches were required to close the wound. Some tests were made to be sure there were no hidden injuries. Twelve hours later the patient was released and walked out of the hospital. It was as simple as that; there were no extenuating circumstances. The medical care was good; the healing was complete. That’s not the story.
When the bill came, it was $27,607.92. That’s the story. One item was $13,541.54. It was called Trauma Response Level II. That’s the price for the house call. The other items were all various hospital charges. One does not expect good medical care to be cheap but having to pay these prices is bizarre! But wait.
There were two more items on the bill. One item was Insurance Paid $1,610.51. The other was Insurance Adjustment $25,947.41. Translation – A) the prices were highly inflated, and B) nobody paid the artificially inflated prices. Nobody was ever expected to. The injured was a Medicare patient. Medicare only pays a certain percentage of the “price” for each service, so the price is set high because the percentage paid is low. There is something seriously wrong with a system that requires healthcare providers to bill at horrendous rates in order to receive modest remuneration for their services. That’s the story.
Oh yes, there was one more item. There was a box at the top of the bill that read Your Portion $50.00. And so in round numbers, the patient paid $50, the healthcare providers got $1,600 but they had to bill for $27,000 to get it.
What about the uninsured, perhaps a mid-life family provider currently out of work, a foreign tourist or a member of the perpetually unemployed? Is there a separate billing rate for them? In some cases there is not. Full rate billings happen every day. In these cases it is up to the patient to negotiate a better rate. It’s similar in the doctor’s office. There is a list price, the price an insurance company pays and there is the price Medicare pays, all different prices for exactly the same service. What you pay if you are uninsured may be different from all the other three and it will be the highest. Health care in America is superb. The financial administration of it stinks.
In Connecticut, Aetna Insurance petitioned the State regulators to allow a 24.7% rate increase to cover the increased cost of providing coverage under Obamacare. They were granted a 14.2% increase for large group plans and an 18% increase for small group plans. Similar rate hikes are being granted in other states. Facing this magnitude of cost increase several companies have announced they will no longer be providing health coverage for their workers. These employees will end up on the government plan by default. This is Obamacare working as planned.
The squeeze is on. Insurers need to raise prices for survival, employers need to control costs to remain internationally competitive. The pragmatic solution for business is to default to single payer government coverage. For insurance companies the path to survival is to diversify away from providing health care coverage. In time, at the end of the struggle the government plan will be the only man left standing. Pelosi, et al, knew this consequence was built into the bill. Whatever else was there didn’t much matter.
The Declaration of Independence declares the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be inalienable rights, rights that can be denied to no man. Franklin Roosevelt added food, clothing, housing and adequate health care in what he termed “The Second Bill of Rights”.
The Declaration of Independence. It is just one page, not 2,000
The difference should be apparent. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do not require the taking of a right from one person to fulfill the right of another. However, implementation of the FDR’s Second Bill of Rights does just that. It demands the taking of personal property from those who have it in order to pay the cost of goods and services for those who do not provide for themselves, no matter the reason. A right cannot be denied. The inalienable right to life cannot be denied. The inalienable right to require someone else to pay your medical bills does not exist.
This is not to say that society has no obligation to support the needy. Dennis Miller, in his inimitable style, said it well when he said “We just want to see some bona fides, that’s all.”
LIBERTY LOST, ONE BILL AT A TIME
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, includes a provision that eliminates private sector student-loan programs. Preposterous? Nothing is preposterous in Washington.
In a letter to supporters, Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, writes:
[Hillsdale’s resolution to remain independent of government funding] comes at a time when the federal government is increasing its unconstitutional grip on higher education. In the most recent example, sweeping legislation was passed that takes the student-loan business away from private lenders and hands it over to the Department of Education. This measure was tacked onto the health-care bill at the zero hour, and with false and laughable claims of saving billions of taxpayer dollars.
He who controls the purse strings controls absolutely. We are losing our liberty one increment at a time. We are losing it in subtle, almost clandestine ways. Did you know this provision was in the health-care bill? I would venture to say that many, perhaps even most of our representatives who voted for the bill were unaware of it.
Medicare and the New Health Law is the title of a glossy full color bulletin written by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health & Human Services. The leaflet is currently in the mail to a broad list of recipients across the nation. It is an expensive mailing, no doubt. It is little more than a propaganda piece that reads like an Obama speech with all of the same talking points.
Within the bulletin’s four pages Sebelius manages to cast aspersions on the insurance industry 5 times. For instance, in the opening paragraph we read:
It will also ensure accountability throughout the health care system so that you, your family, and your doctor – not insurance companies – have greater control over your care. (emphasis is in the original).
The same arguments we heard from Obama when he was campaigning for passage of the bill are repeated in the bulletin: reduction of fraud, better quality care for more people at less cost, and new services to assure people “will no longer be forced into poverty”.
There is need for a letter to explain the provisions of the new law but this is not it.
Did you know Obama has a dot com store? He calls it Organizing for America. For $25 you can promote three things in one shot – Barack Obama, government health care, and the use of the word f*****g.
At his store Barack is selling T shirts, ladies and mens, your choice of white or blue, emblazoned with “Health Reform is a BFD“, the acronym for the celebrated, and now glorified remark our Vice President made to our President, Barack Obama. (They won, now they push our nose in it.) Shipping is free.
What hath Democracy wrought upon us that we should be led by street thugs?
You did well if you took a vacation from the political scene over the Easter weekend. But now it is Monday and the laundry must be done. Here is a collection of events that you may have missed.
Obama claims he has saved the nation from bankruptcy
AP reports: Obama says he did a full court press for a health care system remake because “this country was going to go bankrupt” [without it].
Florida doctor puts sign on door
Backlash from the medical community has begun. If you want Obamacare please find another doctor, was the essence of the announcement this doctor posted on his door.
British MP calls an end to special relationship with America
It appears the Brits have had enough of Obama’s insults, or maybe it was our position on the Falklands. Member of Parliament Mike Gapes, speaking as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee said the time has come for Britain to drop the idea that there exists a special relationship with the United States. Can you blame them, after our President has already expressed the same sentiment.
Obama has caused America to lose a good friend. Perhaps he will find some new ones for us.