I imagine many of you have heard about the fantastic article in Time magazine called Bitter Pill, written by Steven Brill at:
In a nutshell, it exposes the absurd system of chargemasters and bills the hospitals use to obfuscate their prices. It exposes the unconscionable reality that the uninsured, who are usually low- to middle-income people with jobs, pay the most for hospital-related costs. Not just admissions to the hospital, but services such as ER visits and chemotherapy infusions.
I’d like to make couple of points about some of the implications of the report:
First, Medicare came out as the only entity that has successfully pushed back against the excesses of the hospital industry. The 83% of the U.S. economy that is not healthcare is clearly being overcharged by the other 17% of the economy. This is the tail wagging the dog.
Second, the fact that the large employers and their insurance company consultants have let themselves be manipulated by the hospitals shows that high-deductible health insurance products are even more absurd than they already appeared. If Aetna can’t purchase a common service such as a day in the hospital without succumbing to the hospitals’ tricks, what chance does an individual employee have against the healthcare industry? The human resources/benefits people have dumped this responsibility onto the backs of their employees. They have set up their employees to fail.