The story to me isn’t an abstraction. My family has gone through several iterations in our fraudulent and immoral healthcare system. Unfortunately, too many Americans are gullible to the disingenuous marketing techniques, grandstanding, lies, and the basal immorality of the tenet they use to enrich themselves. Medicare for All is the only solution, and it is just the start.
I thought my emergency room story was a nightmare. The short of it is that I had a blood pressure spike of 240/140. EMS showed up at KPFT to take me to the hospital. I refused the ripoff $500 to $1000 cost for a one-mile ride and drove myself to an ER closer to my home. They coerced an MRI and gave me a couple of cheap pills and told me to see my primary care doctor the next morning. For that, they charged me $5,000, which was out of pocket for me since I had a $10,000 deductible then. When I impressed on their operation that I would be writing about the experience, the bill was still excessive but just around $2500. Read about the entire episode. It will make your blood boil.
We had another ripoff experience with my wife as well. She had a bout of pneumonia, and they socked it to us again.
Texan Brittany Parson’s experience shows what an economic system based solely on extracting all it can from you, all that you can pay right up to bankruptcy does to us all. The Houston Chronicle revealed her story in the article “A Texas woman’s fight with a health care system she says, let her down that illustrates our healthcare pathology.”
She worried about insurance coverage so, before leaving, she checked the facility’s website, which said it accepted “all insurance plans.” What she did not realize — despite a state law to force insurance network transparency — is that “accepting” her insurance did not mean the facility as in-network. The facility was, in fact, out-of-network leaving her vulnerable to higher charges.
When she arrived at the ER, the staff began running tests and worked to stabilize her. They quickly concluded she needed to be transferred to a hospital because her condition was so dire.
Parsons spent seven days at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, three in the Intensive Care Unit. She was diagnosed with sepsis, a potentially fatal complication from an unknown infection. The billed charge from that hospital was about $56,000, most of which her husband’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield health maintenance organization (HMO) plan paid, leaving them with a few thousand dollars of out-of-pocket costs.
But then, months later, she got a seven-page bill from Excel ER that said she owed more than $36,000 for the roughly 6 hours she was there. Stunned, she called for an explanation and instead got an earful from a billing clerk who complained that Blue Cross and Blue Shield had been “unfair” to them.
“I’ll tell you what’s unfair,” Parsons snapped, “That I got a bill for $36,000.”
Medicare for All
There is no doubt that Medicare for All is the only answer. It is time to get the crooks out of our healthcare system.
The above act is legal extortion and thuggery. I do not view a thuggish system or thugs in suits any different than the common criminal. I see them in a worse light. Why? Because these guys can never ripoff enough. The hurt they put on people supersedes their greed. How can they justify $36,000 for six hours? Because they can; legally however immoral, unethical, or evil. They know we are gullible when they tell us this is how things are. This economic system gives them pricing power, and they use it. From the thievery, they use in exploiting diabetics’ need for insulin to overpriced education to toll roads, they find new ways to take it all. But that is for another blog.
Billionaire giving gifts are but a smoke screen to take one’s eyes off the ball. There is no benevolent billionaire. At best, they are accessories to all the damage caused by the capital markets.