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Tuesday, 24 November, 2020

The Cow Dung Flung (final part of three)

Date: 01 May, 2010

By: Chief

To read part one.

To read part two.

Imageello again. Back at the ranch ...

The exorbitant cost of medical care

We all know how ridiculous the cost of medical care is. Whether it is a simple (ain't no such-a-thing) visit to the doctor or a trip to the local ER. There ain't such-a-thing as cheap.

While We the People have known this for years it appears that the mainstream media is just now catching on while government still doesn't get it — and probably never will.

In a recent story by CNN:

"[Cindy] Holtzman, a consumer advocate with Medical Billing Advocates of America, looks at medical bills for a living. Among the excessive charges she's seen: A patient in Florida was billed $140 dollars for one Tylenol pill; a patient in South Carolina was billed $1,000 for a tooth brush; a patient in Georgia was billed more than $4,000 for 41 bags of IV saline solution when she went to the emergency room for a two-hour visit and used just one bag."

That makes the $600 hammers the military paid for look like peanuts by comparison. Still and all it is a crock of crap.

One of the reasons bills are so blasted high is because if you do have some sort of medical insurance the insurance company is billed first. Then you. But apparently some, if not most, insurance companies do not even look at the bills they receive — unless it is over 'X' amount. Then they scrutinize it till who laid the rails — sometimes. Quoting CNN:

"Usually any kind of bill that's under $100,000, they [insurance companies] don't look at the details. And that's where something like that can be paid in error[.]"

Puh-lease. Just you let any housewife deal with that bill and I bet they will find all kinds of errors. My wife can squeeze a quart of blood out of a turnip. Or six cents out of a nickel.

Of course hospitals think over billing is just fine and dandy. Quoting CNN:

"Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, says hospitals mark up prices on medical bills to make up for lower payments the government pays through Medicare and Medicaid.

" 'They're making up for underpayments elsewhere', Umbdenstock said. 'Certainly if you're the patient to whom the cost is being shifted you feel you are paying more than you should. The public programs need to pay their fair share. At the same time hospitals are trying to lower their cost of providing care, so that they don't have as great a gap'."

What in the Sam Thump is Umbdenstock talking about? "[U]nderpayments elsewhere." That just stinks. And I submit it is illegal too boot. Is it unfair business practices? Collusion perhaps? How about cartel pricing manipulation? Fraud? Could be any one of those. It also could be all of those. It could also be something I have no clue about.

I tell you this — by comparison the medical care racket makes the mafia look like Sunday school children. Quoting the CNN story:

"Consider this: For every dollar the nation spends on health care, 50 cents is wasted.

"According to a 2008 report by Pricewaterhouse Cooper's Health Research Institute, wasteful spending accounts for $1.2 trillion of the $2.2 trillion spent on health care in the United States. The medical waste includes costs associated with inefficient insurance claims processing, defensive medicine, preventable hospital readmissions, medical errors, and unnecessary emergency room visits."

Geez, that sorta-kinda covers the water front. Except for two rather large areas — pharmaceuticals and medical equipment (technology). But what do you expect? Complete honesty — not from these bozos. Quoting Dr. Brent James (chief quality officer for Intermountain Healthcare, same CNN story):

" 'The old belief that better care is more care, turns out it's just not true', James says. 'The big problem. It costs you money. Most of these savings go back to insurers or the government, those windfall savings. We're nearly always financially punished every time we save money'."

You are just breaking my heart Doc. You dirtbags signed the contract with government and private insurance companies. And now you're howling about it — scurvy hound.

A big button hook in the well water is the idiotic 'A' fee for 'A' service. There is an absolute financial incentive to do more tests, procedures, etc. Not that it does the person being tested any bloody good — but it helps to fill up bank accounts. And not We the People's either. Quoting that scum sucking scoundrel Rich Umbdenstock from the CNN story:

" 'Under a fee-for-service payment system the incentive is to do more. To generate more fees. And yes, the fundamental structure of payment today is based on paying for the unit of service. So we've had a lot of discussion around how to turn those incentives around and pay not based on volume but pay on value, quality and cost'[.]"

Value, quality and cost all sound mighty fine but value and quality are similar to beauty. Both are in the eye of the beholder. Cost, on the other hand, can be brought down. It is merely a question of — is the medical industrial complex willingly to do that? The answer to that question folks I submit is no. Cost is an ugly duckling. As Dorothy Parker so aptly put it:

"Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone."

So true. So painfully true.

Let me ask you a question — when was the last time you saw a price list at your doctor's office? I didn't think so. Here's another question — when was the last time you saw a price list at your local get well quick shop (hospital)? Me neither. Oh, when was the last time you got an estimate from your doctor or hospital? Yep, me neither.

Just about any other business provides the cost — up front — before you sign on the dotted line. But not the world of medicine or any part of the medical industrial complex. I wonder why that is? Why don't they tell We the People up front what the cost is going to be? I don't have the answer to that question and I'll bet you don't either. But somebody does. And that somebody is the medical industrial complex. They ain't telling either. It would be bad for business. As such, they just keep raking in more fees and selling more useless:

Here in the U.S., have you seen a poor doctor? Just to be fair let me put a time line on that for you — ever? Neither have I. Nor have I seen a doctor on welfare. But I have seen several doctors driving new vehicles — every year. Or taking exotic vacations that most people can only dream about. Must be nice. I don't mind that as long as I am not the one paying for it.

It is time to provide a dose of reality to the medical industrial complex — cut the price or y'all will be out of business and actually applying for welfare.

Propaganda in middle school

As the old saying goes, 'if ya can't dazzle 'em with brilliance ... baffle 'em with bullshit'. And schools are doing a mighty fine job of the latter.

At the middle school in our town the health teacher has been preaching about the horrors of high cholesterol and fatty foods as the main cause of plaque buildup within the coronary artery. This is also known as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) for the uninitiated.

Having a licensed, knowledgeable, teacher provide health instruction to kids I generally have no qualm about — if you insist on a public education for your kid(s). However I do, in this case, have two major objections.

My objections are as such:

Normally the second item would be of no importance, however, because so much crap has been spewed forth by "experts," advocacy groups, lobbyists and other uninformed parties — parents need to read what is going to be taught before it is taught.

As is par for the course the teacher is foaming at the mouth preaching the party line. Cholesterol is bad. Fatty foods are bad. Yada, yada, yada. More accurately it is — hogwash, hogwash, hogwash.

When it comes to CAD there are very few facts. And those few facts are these:

Those facts are not taught in our local middle school because it goes against the grain. What a bunch of babbling, bumbling bounders.

Just the facts

When it comes to health care what We the People need are facts. All of them. The good, the bad and the ugly (price). Don't sugar coat them either. And don't give me a 'well I think what we are going to do is ... ' line of crap. Just give me the facts and I shall tell you (the doctor) what you are allowed to do. Period.

Additionally, if a medical test or exam is not one hundred percent accurate, each time, every time, it should never be used. The FDA has failed us in that regard miserably. The same holds with medications. If it is not absolutely safe (no side effects whatsoever) then it should never be placed on the market.

Yes indeed, as the title of this story states — the crap has hit the fan — and the splatter has the medical industrial complex running for cover while trying to wipe the crap off of themselves.

Sewers and septic tanks do stink — just like the medical industrial complex.

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