And I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for either of our two main Parties to take the lead on this. Why? Because they are BOTH beholden to the large corporate interests that have given birth to this leviathan of deceit. This ‘reform’ is going to have to come from We The People, the healthcare facilities themselves, and perhaps the Libertarian Party if they wish to actually break through and be a real contender.
It’s time to call out those who think this is not:
- A winning campaign issue.
- Where they should put their political capital.
I am speaking directly of serious reform of the medical system, specifically, hospitalization and so-called “insurance.”
I have argued often that it is very common for people to be billed at ten times the rate that something should cost, mostly because (1) we allow illegal aliens and others to steal medical care which they cannot pay for (by forcing us to eat the billing) and (2) we destroyed the charity-care system — on purpose — so that firms, including doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies could fleece us.
In other words these firms bought Congress to get special laws passed that allow them to screw everyone — theft by government, literally.
I’ve been challenged on this assertion.
Well, those who have said I was wrong have just been proven to be incorrect.
I place before as “Exhibit A” The Surgery Center of Oklahoma. This is a surgical facility that performs all sorts of common procedures. But it’s very different than all the other medical centers in your neighborhood. Quite literally, the money quote:
If you have a high deductible or are part of a self-insured plan at a large company, you owe it to yourself or your business to take a look at our facility and pricing which is listed on this site. If you are considering a trip to a foreign country to have your surgery, you should look here first. Finally, if you have no insurance at all, this facility will provide quality and pricing that we believe are unmatched.
It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more and more out of pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.
See, it only accepts payment in one way: Cash.
That’s right — money. Now. Up front. Actual cash or a cashier’s check. That’s it. No credit cards, no checks, no “I’ll pay you laters”, nothing of the sort. Fork up the money, get the service.
They also expose their infection rate. It is a tiny fraction of the national average. In other words, they “do it right” and thus your risk of contracting an infection in their facility is lower. Much lower.
So what does this do to the cost of medical care? I’m glad you asked.
First, there is a $200 consultation fee. If you are not recommend for surgery, or decide not to have it, that’s the bill. If you decide to go ahead, that is applied to your procedure.
Let’s take an example.
“Open reduction internal fixation” — that is, an open fracture that has to be repaired with screws, a plate, or similar. Their price: $4,455.00 for the entire thing, except for the hardware which is provided at actual, invoiced cost — no mark-up.
Now there’s a person on my forum who happened to need this surgery performed rececntly. He was on a HSA so he saw the entire bill. It was $25,000.
His girlfriend had a cervical disc fusion, two levels — $150,000. Their price is $21,500.
Another user on the forum had a Lumbar Laminectomy performed and the bill was over $50,000. Their price? $9,900.
A few other examples:
Achilles tendon repair, $5,730.
Simple (closed) fracture reduction and cast: $1,925.
Hernia repairs, including the mesh, from $3,060 to $4,500.
A mastectomy: $5,005.
Getting the idea yet?
Sure, it’s expensive to have an operation.
But these are the sorts of costs that you could go take a loan out for against your house or even car, or in many cases just take a cash advance on your credit card!
This is typically 1/5th of what you “pay” now. Or, if you prefer, 80% off. And this is the entire deal — including the surgeon and anesthesiologist.
Do you know why?
Because they don’t have to treat people who can’t pay or don’t pay. They don’t have to take Medicare or Medicaid and have the government tell them they’ll pay $500 for a procedure that costs them $5,000 to perform. And they don’t have to treat Juanita the illegal Mexican, unless she has money.
Leverage spent a lot of time on this subject and recommended exactly this path — forced level billing and published prices. I’ve been writing on it for years. I’ve had people tell me that this model is impossible, despite the fact that it’s the very model we had in the 1960s and 70s and it definitely worked then.
We have proof it works folks.
Any politician that doesn’t support this is in fact supporting stealing from one person to give to another. This is not about “compassion” — if it were then we’d be talking about how to raise the charitable contributions to fund procedures at this sort of price.
It’s about theft, and it is time for all Americans to rise and say in a loud, concerted voice:
No more stealing.