Home / Government / How Government-Protected Hospitals Rob Us Blind
Print Friendly and PDF

How Government-Protected Hospitals Rob Us Blind

Posted on August 29, 2013

You knew it was bad. But this bad?

Much like every other aspect of the U.S. ponzi economy, the healthcare system is one gigantic centralized oligopolistic racket. The New York Times has done some excellent coverage on this topic as of late, most recently in an article I highlighted earlier this month about how Americans are now finding themselves forced to travel overseas for surgery. . . .

And don’t think Obamacare is going to help you either, we all know it was written by lobbyists and special interests, just like every other piece of legislation from crony Congress. From the New York Times:

It is one of the most common components of emergency medicine: an intravenous bag of sterile saltwater.

Luckily for anyone who has ever needed an IV bag to replenish lost fluids or to receive medication, it is also one of the least expensive. The average manufacturer’s price, according to government data, has fluctuated in recent years from 44 cents to $1.

Yet there is nothing either cheap or simple about its ultimate cost, as I learned when I tried to trace the commercial path of IV bags from the factory to the veins of more than 100 patients struck by a May 2012 outbreak of food poisoning in upstate New York.

Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution.

It is no secret that medical care in the United States is overpriced. But as the tale of the humble IV bag shows all too clearly, it is secrecy that helps keep prices high: hidden in the underbrush of transactions among multiple buyers and sellers, and in the hieroglyphics of hospital bills.

Continue Reading on libertyblitzkrieg.com

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

11 thoughts on “How Government-Protected Hospitals Rob Us Blind

  1. Texas Chris says:

    Of course the Times isn't going to directly implicate the government in high prices. Oh, no. Always the "free" market.

  2. went to the emergency with blood pressure promlem,doctor took blood pressure listened to heart ask several questions, later received a bill from doctor for over 1500.00,bill from hospital for another 5500.00,can you say highway robbery,how can anybody justify such actions, we have no insurance and are on a fixed income,this society is riffed with dishonest doctors,a dishonest medical industry,who has sold its sole to the devil for money,they have ripped of medicare for billions upon billion for fraudulent medical services,and insurance co. as well.And now we have Obamacare to contend with and we will be lucky if the elderly will be able to get an aspirin after it kicks in,and will be I believe the death of our nation,rotten cannot be fixed it must be torn down and rebuilt .

  3. I discovered when I had back surgery, in which they needed to use some dead people bones for the fusion, that the Blood and Organ bank tried to bill Medicare for $22,000 of which Medicare "only" allowed $5,000. Had I not had Medicare or insurance at all, I would likely had had to pay it all. One nice provision of Medicare is that hospitals, in order to treat Medicare patients at all, have to settle for what Medicare allows, not necessarily so for all other insurance and definitely not so for people without insurance.
    When I had lived in Oklahoma a few years back and had an abscessed tooth, I drove over 100 miles to the VA in Oklahoma City, since dental is not covered at all under Medicare. I walked in on a Sat afternoon, the clerk took one look at my very swollen face and said we do not treat dental patients on the weekend, so I got back in my car and went back 100 miles home. By that evening my face was so swollen I went to the ER, as I knew I had to get some antibiotics. They took x-rays also to make sure the infection had not gotten too out of control, and gave me some antibiotics and pain medicine. Medicare refused to pay anythng, so the hospital billed me $1500, and had refused to appeal Medicare's decision since it had literally become a life and death situation. I was able to get in to the only oral surgeon in town the next day and by then the infection had spread, I ended up eventually losing all the upper teeth, and had a bill collector on my butt for years. I told the bill collector that since it was billed on Medicare Part A the hospital was the place to do the billing, I would have no way of knowing correct codes, etc, and was called all sorts of horrible names, etc.
    Oh, and after the infection didn't go away, the oral surgeon told me I could not afford him and needed to go back to the VA where I saw a young dental resident who told me the infection had not spread. I went back to my PCP who treated me, it was some sort of bad strep infection, she learned on culturing the sore in the mouth and I had to go in every day for two shots in the rear, and never got a bill from her. I don't know if she figured she could work around the Medicare BS about not covering any dental work or if she just absorbed the loss, which she is a good enough person she might have done that. I think I likely would have otherwise died from the infection.

  4. Went into the hospital for 3 days in late May for TESTS. Just for tests. The final bill came to around $45,000 for 3 days in the hospital. 15 grand a day. I'm old enough to remember when a hospital bed was $100 a day. Now I know there's been a lot of dollar devaluation in the last 50 years, but 1500 times??? Thankfully, the hospital and all the other providers with one exception forgave 70% of the bill, but I'm still on the hook for about 14 grand. (I couldn't afford insurance and was self-employed. Lately I've learned of the Christian healthcare cooperatives from Dr. North. Wish I'd heard about them sooner!)

    However–even though 30% on the dollar sounds generous, I've heard that major insurers negotiate contracts with hospitals that require them to pay only 10-15% of the bill. So this is one motivation for the hospitals and other providers to pad, pad, pad. Also–just about everything that was done test-wise was on one of the other bills, not the hospital bill, which came to $37,000. For the hospital bill, the itemization was: "inpatient services"! What other business could get away with such a vague representation on a bill for 37 grand?

  5. Whoops, I meant 150 times in the first paragraph. Still quite a price increase!

  6. Yeah. It's always hilarious to hear these know nothings who think the "free market" is responsible for the cost.Government's hands are so deep into this its not even funny.

  7. Nan Nicoll says:

    Why can't we just admit that government regulation causes price increases and shortages? Look at Lasik and plastic surgery. These procedures have come down dramatically in price and are much more available. Bottom line, competition, which cannot exist with government healthcare, creates increased availabilty and lower cost. It is a fact of life that the left refuses to acknowledge. By the way, the way we got employer paid healthcare was because of government regulation many years age. Businesses were restricted by our government to increase wages. When employers pushed back with the fact that they wanted to reward their employees for a good job done they were told to give the employees some benefit other than a wage increase. Bingo. Employer paid-for health care insurance.

  8. You're correct, nothing "funny" about it—-PATHETIC!—-is one word that comes to mind, besides THIEVERY!

  9. David,That is exactly why I have always insisted on an itemized bill with explanation of EVERY charge on it.

  10. Cliffystones says:

    Some of the "reforms" the Republicans (Newt Gingrich's group comes to mind) would help. But there are a few simple laws that could be passed to put a stop to the BS several of you have related.

    1. No provider can ask an uninsured person for ONE CENT over the lowest negotiated insurance payout.

    2. No provider can enforce a patient signing a promise to pay that has no dollar amount for services to be rendered.

    3. Up front pricing on every procedure, service, bag of saline, asprin. Make all prices available in hard copy or on the provider's web site.

    These would put a stop to the horror stories of bill collectors coming after folks for pie-in-the-sky money that providers would never have received if the patient had insurance. And make it difficult to force sick folks to sign documents under the duress of not being treated if they refuse.

  11. During hurricanes in FL, there are laws against price gouging. To charge someone a high price because they’re in an emergency and have no alternative, well that is evil and criminal. How is it any different when a hospital charges $15,000 a day while you’re flat on your back in a hospital bed? It’s that or your life. To me that’s clearly extortion, no different from mob tactics. Now, charge a fair price, and I’ll back off from the mob/extortion comparison.