The High Price of Health Care

TIME contributor Steven Brill responds to some of the criticism from his cover story “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us."

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Steven Brill stopped by the Center for American Progress to have a conversation on the high price of health care with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost of the University of Pennsylvania (and brother of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel), and Dr. Giovanni Colella, CEO and co-founder of Castlight Health. Brill’s opening speech begins at the 3:45 minute mark, his thoughts on the inadequacies of the Affordable Care Act begin at minute 26, and at minute 51, Brill responds to the attacks from the left and the right on his TIME cover story, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us.”

14 comments
iclark
iclark

After 15 years in nursing, this article explains a lot. I would like to know more about how profit motives in general increase the cost of our health care - any entity that sells stock must legally care for it's stockholders first, sick people second (if at all). insurance companies come to mind but also medical equipment and software companies, DRUG companies. Any for-profit entity has no business in health care because there will be an inherent conflict of interest. Mostly I would like to see our health care system separated from profits made by people who don't do a thing to contribute to the quality or quantity of people's lives.

BBBStone
BBBStone

I think education of consumers would be of great benefit.  What I have learned has been good to know, but what can I as an individual actually do about these high prices?  I can see classes in high schools and community colleges being of great benefit to our citizens.

JerryOkamura
JerryOkamura

The relevant question is are the people better off paying for their own needs and wants, or are the people better off depending on someone else to pay for their needs and wants.  What is the best way to control inflation?  When the people pay for their own needs and wants, or when the people do not pay for their own needs and wants?  Final question, when you depend on someone else to pay for your own needs and wants, haven't you given them the right not to pay, when you want and need them to pay?

La_Randy
La_Randy

What I got from this video is that a policy that does not address all aspects of the American healthcare system, insurance providers, hospitals, drug companies and medical device manufacturers will only favor those who spend the most to influence our representatives healthcare policy endeavors.

A single payer system would solve this problem.

LenSimpson
LenSimpson

In politics , business , or struggles for power, it's all a matter of Greed ! 

gysgt213
gysgt213

A motorist who was hurt in a collision with a wrong-way driver last April has sued a Texas City hospital, claiming her $20,211 bill for a four-hour emergency room stay is excessive, according to The Galveston County Daily News.

Melissa Torres filed a lawsuit against Mainland Medical Center in Texas City, claiming the hospital increased its bill fivefold and made a claim against her insurance settlement.

The hospital filed a lien on her property in Galveston County to settle the outstanding bill, The News reports:

Torres hired an attorney to file a claim against the wrong-way driver, which settled for the driver’s insurance policy limit of $30,000, the filing claims.

As recently as September, the hospital’s online billing system showed Torres’ balance as $4,850. The hospital’s collection agency sent Torres a bill seeking the $4,850 payment, but when the hospital learned Torres was involved in an automobile wreck, it updated the online billing records to show a balance of $20,211, the filing claims.

The hospital then made a claim to Torres’ accident settlement for the entire $20,211 bill, less a “paltry” 15 percent, or $17,179, the filing claims.


http://blog.chron.com/newswatch/2012/01/hospital-er-visit-racks-up-20211-bill/

gysgt213
gysgt213

Never say out loud what you really think.  Except this guy will probably have a good fund raising haul.


"Rep. Kris Crawford, a Republican from Florence [South Carolina] and also an emergency room doctor, supports the expansion but expects the Republican caucus to vote as a block against the Medicaid expansion.

“The politics are going to overwhelm the policy. It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party,” Crawford said."


http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/03/13/1712671/south-carolina-oppose-medicaid-race/

grape_crush
grape_crush

Brill makes sense. Emanuel and Colella, not so much; vague references to the power of the free market and personal responsibility. And Colella wonders why what he's saying isn't getting any attention and Brill is. He even goes so far to equate his IVF experience with something like a trip to the emergency room for a heart attack.

reallife
reallife

@La_Randy    do you mean obamacare is not the answer? what? you must be joking! how many more pages do we need?

retiredvet
retiredvet

So the ambulances are chasing ambulances now.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@grape_crush 

The best part is that Brill killed that argument in his article: the free market isn't relevant because you can't decide in the ambulance "do I want to enter the market place and where do I enter it?"

gysgt213
gysgt213

@forgottenlord @grape_crush I don't think the EMTs are going to honor any of your requests from the stretcher.  No matter how much you would like to save money or like or do not like the hospital they are taking you to.   They certainly won't be offering you a menu of alternatives.

AlistairCookie
AlistairCookie

@Ivy_B That's how it is here.  A friend of mine recently took a spill on the ice up by the airport here and she was taken to the nearest hospital, even though it was a hospital no one really wants to go to.  Upon stabilization, she was transferred at her request.  

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

@gysgt213 @forgottenlord @grape_crush I think I recall that at least in some places it's the law that in an emergency you must be taken to the nearest hospital. It's a worry for me because the hospital nearest to me is not one I want to go to!