What Does Health Care Cost?

The Last Psychiatrist has some very interesting things to say about the actual cost of healthcare, vs. what healthcare providers (including institutions) bill. I think he makes some good points. At the same time, there are some pretty odd statements. For example, he actually uses this as an argument:

I once stood on a small hill and looked at an ER, and from what I could see with my B&L 10x binoculars, nothing that occurred there costed $1000.

What? This is simply silly, Psychie. (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the alliterative rhyming.) Unless, of course, you are the purchasing agent for that ER, and you also know all the fixed costs (building, equipment, salaries, etc.). Then you might have a point. But then, if that were they case, why are you outside watching what goes on with binoculars? Which, you know, honestly, I find kinda creepy.

The Last Psychiatrist’s larger point is that most surveys are not honest about actual costs. That may or may not be the case, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s right. However, he hasn’t provided any real evidence that it is the case.

Nonetheless, my experience with the healthcare system is that what he says here is right on:

Hospitals traditionally use the tuition model on patients: indigents can’t pay, so Blue Cross is charged $300 for a guaze pad. Blue Cross knows perfectly well it is being “scammed” but they make it up from employer contributions, etc, etc, so no one complains. The only person who complains is an actual individual, with an income but no insurance, when he is asked to pay the Blue Cross rates. He doesn’t realize he’s being overcharged gigantically. He just knows he’s about to go into bankruptcy. The problem simply is that he’s caught in the healthcare racket that hospitals, the government, and private insurers have agreed to.

Yep, I think that’s right.

Anyway, interesting post.

H/t Neo-neocon; here’s her post on frequent fliers in the ER where I found the link in the comments.

Go on.


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