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Why I hate the US healthcare system

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Andrew got bitten by one of the feral kittens a few weeks ago, and the little managed to bite through one of Andrew's fingernails (amongst other puncture wounds in his hands).

I was worried that we wouldn't be able to clean out the puncture in his fingernail properly, so tried to book into the doctor to get onto a course of antibiotics. They couldn't squeeze us in, so we tried going to "Urgent Care", and they were closing, so told us just to go up to the ER.

If we had have got into the doctor it would have cost $10. We just got the hospital bill, and we are responsible for $415 of the total of $4000 or so. We spent maybe 10 minutes in there, and got a prescription for antibiotics and some antiseptic put on the puncture wounds. How the heck can that cost over $4000????? And how can they charge us $415 just for that??

We paid about $1200 for my open heart surgery - apparently a prescription and antibiotics is worth 1/3 of the cost of open heart surgery, ICU and a 5 day hospital stay...

Most expensive kittens ever...
post #2 of 20
Yeah, it stinks. I agree....
post #3 of 20
That part stinks, I'll give you that!
post #4 of 20
I had to have a complete blood workup before my surgery in February, and because the doctor knows my situation, he arranged a 20% discount for me.

Last week, I had to have it done again, but this time I found a clinic that does basic care at reduced rates for people without insurance.

The first bloodwork, by the doctor, cost $589 -- even with the discount.

The second bloodwork, by the no-insurance clinic, cost $43.

The clinic is subsidized by a local service organization, but certainly not by over 90%!

Our "healthcare system" is a long-standing and highly profitable scheme involving healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, the insurance industry, and government regulators. Prices are wildly inflated by this government-protected corporate greed, ensuring the biggest possible pie for each of them to get his piece of.

And I will never understand how those people sleep at night, knowing that their greed is causing people to suffer and die simply because they can't pay the outrageous price of healthcare and health insurance.

So yeah, I hate the American healthcare system too. I hope and pray our next administration will have the vision and courage to completely restructure it.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoochNNoodles View Post
That part stinks, I'll give you that!
Don't get me wrong - there's things I like about it, but the massive difference between the same service in a clinic compared to an ER (which is where the doctor told me to go), and with no estimation of costs, we are really peeved. We have excellent health care coverage and we STILL have to pay this much!

What about people who aren't lucky enough to have coverage like ours? What about people who don't have $400 lying around?

We could have just left it to get infected and been an even bigger drain on the system.

Yes, I am still riled up...
post #6 of 20
Good grief!

No wonder people don't want to go to a doctor when they're sick!

I'm so glad that I live where I do and have access to "free" universal health care. Well, it's not exactly free. We pay for it in our taxes, which are high! But everyone is entitled to medical care.

We are moving into a two tier system, where we have universal health care but there are some clinics opening up that gives users the option of getting their procedures/tests done faster by paying for it themselves.

A 2-tier system is the ideal system. I sure hope you guys get something along those lines down there really soon. I want to cry when I read about people who live in the US who are sick and need medical care and can't get it because of no insurance, and facilities not seeming to care.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
I had to have a complete blood workup before my surgery in February, and because the doctor knows my situation, he arranged a 20% discount for me.

Last week, I had to have it done again, but this time I found a clinic that does basic care at reduced rates for people without insurance.

The first bloodwork, by the doctor, cost $589 -- even with the discount.

The second bloodwork, by the no-insurance clinic, cost $43.

The clinic is subsidized by a local service organization, but certainly not by over 90%!

Our "healthcare system" is a long-standing and highly profitable scheme involving healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, the insurance industry, and government regulators. Prices are wildly inflated by this government-protected corporate greed, ensuring the biggest possible pie for each of them to get his piece of.

And I will never understand how those people sleep at night, knowing that their greed is causing people to suffer and die simply because they can't pay the outrageous price of healthcare and health insurance.

So yeah, I hate the American healthcare system too. I hope and pray our next administration will have the vision and courage to completely restructure it.
They rip us off every which way they can! I also hope the next administration can restructure it without being bought off by the greedy corporate people. They make me so mad.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
What about people who aren't lucky enough to have coverage like ours? What about people who don't have $400 lying around?
they just don't pay. that's part of the expense for everyone else - we make up the difference.
most ERs, per my observations, have more than their share of uninsured people - mainly because, if you go there, they pretty much HAVE to see & treat you. a private physician doesn't.
post #9 of 20
Here in Vermont we have Universal Health Care.... as long as your a citizen.... my husband who is a lawful permanent resident ( hes from Canada ) ... has to pound sand , even though he lives , works and pays taxes here LEGALLY. He cant get the coverage.
post #10 of 20
It's true that some ERs (not all, by any means!) will give you drops for your screaming child's earache or set a bone. If you're in labor, they will almost certainly help deliver your baby. If you're in immediate danger of death, they will generally stabilize you -- stop the bleeding or pump your stomach, for example.

If that's all you need, you can probably find an ER to help you out -- albeit at the cost of having your credit rating destroyed because you can't pay the bill.

But for anything more complicated, anything requiring long-term treatment or hospitalization, you're in trouble. My friend Rush sees it every day in his job with the American Cancer Society -- when I said people are dying for lack of money or insurance, I mean it literally, and I mean every single day.

Even people with insurance are dying needlessly -- because their insurance companies throw up all kinds of roadblocks to deny or delay treatment so long that patients often die before they ever get approval. This is a well-known and widespread industry practice.

Another common practice in the insurance industry is to pay a bonus every time an employee successfully denies care to an insured person. Denial is frequently the first response to any pre-approval request, even an obviously legitimate one, because they know many people won't even realize they can appeal the denial -- or will not live through the appeals process. At any given moment, hundreds of thousands of Americans are struggling to fight not only the ravages of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, but also the insurance companies that promised to be there for them in time of need.

But back to the plight of the uninsured. Yes, there are some low-cost or no-cost alternatives for some people in some places -- but not nearly enough. The amount of "indigent care" provided in this country is minuscule compared to the massive need, and the cost to taxpayers is minute compared to the cost of the American practice of price-gouging on everything related to healthcare.

And I believe most of us, if we think about it, would be happy to pay that tiny portion of our taxes that goes toward saving the lives of our fellow man. If we are here to love and support one another as human beings, isn't that one of the most fundamental ways to do it?
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
And I believe most of us, if we think about it, would be happy to pay that tiny portion of our taxes that goes toward saving the lives of our fellow man. If we are here to love and support one another as human beings, isn't that one of the most fundamental ways to do it?
I didn't get that impression from the IMO thread. My overall feeling from that thread was that more people opposed a US health care system because they didn't want to pay more taxes. They pointed out all the flaws in systems in Europe and Canada to justify why they wouldn't want one in the US.

I don't mind paying more taxes just to know that if I'm sick or need medical attention, I don't have to give a second thought to seeing a doctor/ER or specialist. It's worth it for my peace of mind.
post #12 of 20
Oh, I didn't read anything about this in IMO -- I try not to go there! But you're right, people do cringe anytime you mention taxes. That's why I said, "if we think about it." I think a lot of those people are just responding the way they've been conditioned to respond, and not really considering what it means.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
I didn't get that impression from the IMO thread. My overall feeling from that thread was that more people opposed a US health care system because they didn't want to pay more taxes. They pointed out all the flaws in systems in Europe and Canada to justify why they wouldn't want one in the US.

I don't mind paying more taxes just to know that if I'm sick or need medical attention, I don't have to give a second thought to seeing a doctor/ER or specialist. It's worth it for my peace of mind.
That was really frustrating me. I think the people who were against it already have good coverage they can afford. My DH and I struggle to pay for ours. I would much rather pay for it through taxes and have everyone covered.

Those without pre-existing conditions can get affordable private insurance. Unless your employer offers group insurance, those with pre-existing conditions are just out of luck.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
If we had have got into the doctor it would have cost $10. We just got the hospital bill, and we are responsible for $415 of the total of $4000 or so. We spent maybe 10 minutes in there, and got a prescription for antibiotics and some antiseptic put on the puncture wounds. How the heck can that cost over $4000????? And how can they charge us $415 just for that??

Most expensive kittens ever...
excuse me - an ER visit was $4000? I've worked in healthcare for over 10 years and have only seen a bill that big once - and it mostly involved providing hours of resucitation on a man suffering from a severe MI.

What in the world was being done that cost $4000?
A charge audit is in order. I'm surprised your insurance co didnt demand one.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
The total cost billed to the insurance company was $4000 - we paid about $415.

I assume you don't mean that $4000 billed was the largest amount you've seen?? I've had 2 visits to the ER this year which resulted in a $27,000 and a $10,000 bill (of which I paid nothing, because I had already reached my maximum out of pocket expenses for the year).
post #16 of 20
you mean JUST in the ER? No admission?

Yes, I do not see ER bills that high. If the costs of the service are high it is either because they are admitted and/or have surgery immediately, or are monitored for for over 24 hrs (for chest pain for ex)

Honestly, I have no idea what state you are in but a bill that high for 10 min on a hand sounds crazy! I personally havent seen anything likethat, but of course I haven't lived or worked everywhere.

I honestly thought the 4000 was a typo.

Your statement should be itemized. I cant imagine what they are charging for each service.

at myf acility for the service, it most likely would have been:
facility fee ERI: $220
antibiotic: $14
supplies: $4

then the doc would have sent a bill for service of like $125.

I'm just shocked, not arguing with you :lol

and another for $27000 and you didnt even get admitted? Again, my mouth is hanging open!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
My $27k one, they did keep me in a pre-admission ward - it's where they put people to keep an eye on them without actually admitting. I think I was there about 12 hours or so.

On that one, it is broken down so it has CAT scan, x-rays, laboratory, and all that jazz, but it also has one line that is $4950 - Emergency Room. So I guess that's just what they charge for going to the ER - it was a different hospital to the one DH went to.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
Andrew got bitten by one of the feral kittens a few weeks ago, and the little managed to bite through one of Andrew's fingernails (amongst other puncture wounds in his hands).

I was worried that we wouldn't be able to clean out the puncture in his fingernail properly, so tried to book into the doctor to get onto a course of antibiotics. They couldn't squeeze us in, so we tried going to "Urgent Care", and they were closing, so told us just to go up to the ER.

If we had have got into the doctor it would have cost $10. We just got the hospital bill, and we are responsible for $415 of the total of $4000 or so. We spent maybe 10 minutes in there, and got a prescription for antibiotics and some antiseptic put on the puncture wounds. How the heck can that cost over $4000????? And how can they charge us $415 just for that??

We paid about $1200 for my open heart surgery - apparently a prescription and antibiotics is worth 1/3 of the cost of open heart surgery, ICU and a 5 day hospital stay...

Most expensive kittens ever...
DH's open heart surgery, aortic valve replacement, a double by-pass, a pacemaker, 2 weeks in the hospital, plus one more trip to the ER, cost $750,000. We didn't pay for any of it as we had met the deductible.

Yeah, health care here has so much room for improvement. DH's companies have been really generous.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by butzie View Post
DH's open heart surgery, aortic valve replacement, a double by-pass, a pacemaker, 2 weeks in the hospital, plus one more trip to the ER, cost $750,000. We didn't pay for any of it as we had met the deductible.

Yeah, health care here has so much room for improvement. DH's companies have been really generous.
I worry about situations like this because I don't have insurance. I would never be able to pay that amount of money in my lifetime. I had really good insurance at one time in my life, but now the company I work for offers terrible insurance that isn't worth the cost. I am all for universal health care. More and more companies are not offering the good insurance that they used too. I would pay extra taxes for Universal Health care, at least my taxes would be going for something beneficial for once.
post #20 of 20
I've been happy with my insurance (Anthem Federal) but I try to avoid a trip to the ER like it's the plague. Costs too darn much to go there even with insurance.
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