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View Diary: Just How Fu¢ked Up Is the US Medical System? (158 comments)

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  •  Its both. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, Lilredhead

    The inflated prices have to do with the fact that some people are subsidizing other people in the system.  Its true that the uninsured are charged high prices but often those debts are unrecoverable.  Medical care is expensive--not as expensive as it appears in this country but it is expensive. Anyone who tells you that they paid ten dollars out of 810 for their anesthesia is basically being subsidized by a whole lot of other people in their insurance pool.  The hospital is trying to recoup some of its other costs--possibly even other costs of other uninsured patients in other specialities--by overbilling insured patients. Not just by overbilling uninsured patients.

    •  I wonder how many more of those debts (5+ / 0-)

      would be recoverable if they weren't so freaking ridiculous.

    •  Inflated prices do subsidize others, but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lilredhead

      ... it goes beyond that.

      I've lived in the US for 4 years. My employer provides, by US standards, fantastic health insurance, with a clinic on site that has zero copays, all paid for by my employer. My employer also provides plenty of other great benefits.

      My wife & I, between us, in 3 years, have had to use ER 3 times. We've been in hospital on 5 occassions. So we've had some exposure to the US system in terms of quality of care, effeccctiveness of medical care, and some insight to costs.

      In the UK, where my wife and I are from, there is a single payer system, and my wife worked with in it for quite a few years. We both had cause to use the ER and hospital services there over the years.

      Broadly, the standard of medical care we recevied in the UK and the US was the same - mostly excellent. There are upsides & downsides for both, but minor.

      In the UK, the single payer systems covers 100% of the population. In essense it subsidises medical cover for the 'poor' and jobless... and overseas visitors. It uses essentially the same medical techniques, drugs & equipment as used in the US. It costs approx 40% of the US costs on a per capita basis.

      So sure, the high costs in the US are subsidising those without insurance etc. The rest of the revenue, I suspect by far and away the biggest chunk, goes elsewhere... inefficiencies in administration, lobbying(!), out and our price gouging...

    •  Yes but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger

      Even if we accept this logic, why put most of the burden on poor people?  Why isn't the cost shared among all of us (including those with no health problems).

      See the many examples here where poor people are charged many times what the insurance company would be charged and people who don't have health problems, due mainly to sheer luck, don't get charged anything at all.

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