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Thu Feb 21, 2013, 01:59 AM


Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

1. Routine Care, Unforgettable Bills
When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.

Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.

Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Sean’s visit — just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised — would be $48,900, due in advance. Stephanie got her mother to write her a check. “You do anything you can in a situation like that,” she says. The Recchis flew to Houston, leaving Stephanie’s mother to care for their two teenage children.

About a week later, Stephanie had to ask her mother for $35,000 more so Sean could begin the treatment the doctors had decided was urgent. His condition had worsened rapidly since he had arrived in Houston. He was “sweating and shaking with chills and pains,” Stephanie recalls. “He had a large mass in his chest that was … growing. He was panicked.”


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Reply Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us (Original post)
dkf Feb 2013 OP
OceanEcosystem Feb 2013 #1
Warpy Feb 2013 #2
moondust Feb 2013 #3

Response to dkf (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 02:08 AM

1. Health care ought to cost only 10-30% of what it currently does. N/t.


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Response to dkf (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 02:18 AM

2. Discount insurance that only pays a little bit of the bill

is worse than no insurance. At least no insurance doesn't drain your bank account so you've got nothing to work with if disaster strikes.

I figured it out a few years ago, I saved somewhere in the six figures for not paying Blue Cross's monthly whack, and that's at their rate they quoted me when they would have insured me about 17 years ago.

Having to save every dime in case disaster strikes (and my pre existing condition is a dilly so it always does) kept me artificially poor when I was actually making a decent living. The irony was that I was an RN who couldn't afford hospitalization, putting me in the same category as every other worker who can't afford to buy what s/he makes or provides.

For profit insurance has failed miserably at anything but well regulated Medicare Part B insurance. It needs to be junked and replaced with Medicare for all, thus leaving them Part B for all, something they will do well since they will no longer be able to act as gatekeepers on providing care.

Bottom line: we can't afford the system as it is, and it's killing too many of us.

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 03:35 AM

3. CNN/AC360 did a segment on this Wednesday.

Apparently continued Thursday.

Family fights $474K hospital bill

CNN's Drew Griffin and Time magazine investigate what's behind the high cost of medical bills in America. They find a family who was charged hundreds of thousands of dollars for items like a blanket and the paper cup that holds a patient's pills.


Whoever thought for-profit health care was a good idea desperately needs a brain transplant.

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