M Catastrophe should just change the title of his column to "Trolling the Libertarians"
These companies you see advertising all sorts of medical products (catheters, diabetic supplies, ED products, scooters, etc.) on TV are making money hand over fist and every penny is coming from the 50% paying taxes!
Here's how it works ... They charge Medicare patients the $100 annual deductible, I think $0 for Medicaid, and say they require the client 20% co-pay, but most waive that under the guise of a "hardship" waiver. They then pocket the Medicare allowable. People paying the extra 20% are suckers and that's more profit to the supply company. If you call them and say you want to pay cash they refer you to another company. You call that company and get quoted a significantly lower cash price. This other company is owned by the same people, but they keep cash transactions separate from insurance so they don't get caught charging far less to the cash customers. The Medicare allowable is much more than the cash price, which also has a huge profit margin. There is no telling how much profit they are making on insurance based transactions. It's absolutely obscene I'm sure!!
The scooters you see on TV cost $40 to $60k each. A basic wheelchair can easily cost $2 to $5k. Yet you can but a luxury car for under $40k and a bicycle for $100.
Why are scooters & wheelchairs so expensive? Medicare, Medcaid, & other forms of insurance. Get the gubment out of medical & insurance transactions and the cost of these items would be pennies on the dollar compared to current costs.
Wanna know why the SEC never catches big Wall Street banks breaking the law? They don't want to. Go work for the SEC for 5 years then parlay that into a cushy high 6 figure salary at Goldman Sachs.
The bigger, more far reaching, and intrusive gubment is, the more opportunity there is for corruption and easier it is to get away with it.
When the banking crisis happened guess who was a high ranking executive at FannieMae? Barney Franks boyfriend!! And Frank was chairman of the powerful Banking Committee, which has oversight of the GSE's like Fannie & Freddie. And Frank constantly cried foul for years as the Bush administration warned of a coming banking & housing collapse. Then the Dems blamed Bush!!
Good points Ned. I think it is important to point out that the P&C article was specifically referencing what hospitals bill Medicare. No mention of it, but I assume it is the same for Medicaid, which is free medical care for the professional poor.
For reference regarding Trident Medical being crooks, let me share my experience. Last summer my collar bone was broken in an accident in Mt Pleasant. The emergency room visit ending up costing me $2,300, and here's the rub. It was a bad break which required surgery, so they did nothing. Understandable, but that kind of money seems like a lot for a doctor spending less than 10 minutes on me and providing a recommendation.
So my private practice ortho specialist normally preforms surgeries at the Trident East Cooper facility. His bill for the surgery was slightly under 2k, the anesthesiologist charged $750. Both reasonable prices.
The price Trident wished to charge me for JUST the room for a 2 hour outpatient surgery?...15,300$ !!! Is it just me or does that seem a bit extreme?
If I were on medicare or medicaid that ridiculous bill would have gone directly to the taxpayers.
Most rational people also consider a house, a car, food, clothes, and other items necessities that we need every day, unlike healthcare, which for most is rarely used at all. Yet no one is telling the providers of those other necessities what they can and can not charge.
Healthcare is expensive because the gubment has been screwing with insurance for decades. Same with college tuition. Anytime the gubment gets involved, prices skyrocket. Back in the day - pre-1990s - health insurance was largely used for hospital stays and major emergencies. Typical doctor visits were paid via cash out of pocket. Prices started skyrocketing when insurance started being used to cover everything, including preventative care. Same with dental care & eye glasses. They were much cheaper before insurance got involved.
Once someone else starts paying the bills customers stop caring how much it costs. There is no more market incentive to help hold prices down.
Same with college costs. As soon as loads of easily obtainable, low interest student loans from the gubment became available college tuition skyrocketed. My entire 4 years at Clemson (1984-1988) - tuition, room, board, books - EVERYTHING - cost around $20,000. Today one year at Clemson as an in-state student costs more than my 4 years!!! That's 400+% inflation in only 25 years! That's insane.
I had many friends work their way through school, but that's nearly impossible now! My 1st car was a (new) Nissan Stanza bought in 1983, one year before I went to college. It cost a little over $10,000. Today you can but many cars far nicer than my '83 Stanza for not much more than $10,000. Yet college tuition has gone up in less time over 400%. Again - INSANE!! Why? Because the gubment is subsidizing it. Same as medical insurance. Yet basic cars have gotten far better, far safer, much more technically advanced yet only moderately more expensive.
The surest way to create asinine inflation is with government subsidies. The gubment isn't helping anyone with subsidies of ANY kind!! Subsidies hurt infinitely more than they help and they come with higher taxes and huge gubment bureaucracies to manage them. And once start become almost impossible to end.
Once again, it's the gubment "saying" they want to "help" but all it does is expand the size, scope, cost, and influence of gubment while taking more money out the pockets of hard working folks. The ONLY winner is gubment and supporters of more & bigger gubment!!
Want healthcare costs to drop and service/quality to go up? Go back to cash for services rendered for MOST medical expenses and return insurance to its intended purpose - hospital, emergency, major medical, & catastrophic care!!
Yeah, Thomas, and the resultant end-quality would be proportionally the same as with home repairs - in many cases shoddy and unacceptable. The real problem with the CMS survey was the sample they used, Medicare patients, and comparing for-profits to non-profits that must also take all indigents. And to Mat- my hero, Sam Clemens said 3 kinds of liars: liars, damned liars and statisticians. Your statistic ($55 million profit) means absolutely nothing out of context of their total income. To be fair you would have set that as a percentage of income so one could make a decision as to whether or not they profited more than a fair return on receipts.
If only our health system was as for-profit, unregulated, and relatively free and unencumbered as the home repair industry, healthcare would be abundant and inexpensive, just like home repairs.
The profit motive also provides motivation for better quality in a competitive environment. Government subsidized Non-profit hospitals and government run hospitals sometimes function at a bare minimum level of quality because they can.
If hospitals and doctors who seek to make money by providing care bother you, make a mental note to avoid them in the future. If enough people did that they might lower their fees or just go out of business.
Lol, so mat the city dwelling socialist doesn't want us to use power? Does his computer run on soy bean sprout generators?
What a load of big government propaganda. It is BIG GOVERNMENT who makes corporations so powerful that they are above the law. If you remove government from the equation, Big Business immediately collpases and the free market flrousishes, creating joy and propserity through the and.
"food producers work hard to produce safe food, not because the government mandates it, but because killing your customers with tainted food is the quickest way to go out of business."
Clearly unfamiliar with the state of US food production before regulation. History, not even once.
I think a great example of effective regulation is that from the FAA and NTSB of the commercial airline industry. Isn't it absolutely remarkable that with tens of thousands of domestic flights every day that there hasn't been a single fatality on a commercial flight in more than four years? We can manage to hurtle millions of these incredibly complex machines through the air at nearly 500 mph and yet not a single person dies in four years? The feat is almost entirely thanks to our government having meticulously examined every single incident involving commercial aircraft since the beginning of modern air travel. Imagine how expensive these sorts of investigations are. They involve hundreds or thousands of experts and often many years to conclude. We pay for these with tax dollars because they contribute to the public good. But upon concluding the cause of an accident, what's the next step?
Do you like the idea of flying on a plane that crashed last year due to a mechanical problem that still hasn't been fixed? If it was simply left up to the private industry to do what they want with the information, they would likely do a cost-benefit analysis to see whether they want to immediately fix the issue or maybe wait until the next maintenance cycle for their planes. Some companies may choose to ignore the information entirely. Just too expensive to fix it...worth the risk. Every time you fly, if you want to maximize your chances at survival, you'd have to research which airlines followed a good maintenance schedule before deciding on a carrier. Where would you find the maintenance records for each carrier? They of course wouldn't publicize them. The natural solution is for the federal government to create a regulation that requires all commercial air carriers fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time. There are now thousands and thousands of rules that regulate the behavior of air carriers. These are why we are blessed with the privilege of flying across this great country in less than six hours without even thinking twice about whether we're going to be in one piece upon arrival.
Mat, I doubt we here in america will build buildings like india does or many of the third world countries do. we do have very good Building regulations here. what does India have to do with us anyway ? Hummm ?
Duffy, which charges are u disputing? who's analysis r u disputing? Instead of demanding more research from others (a tired old ploy) u may want to actually specifically mention wtf u r talking about. You used a lot of words to express very little. Are u pathetically attempting to attack the article or a commenter? Anyone who opposes big government is correct in their assumptions. Your quote is a blatant indictment of big government, silly. "became extensions of the corps they were supposed to be overseeing", thats the inefficient federal govts fault!, get it?
What are the bases for these charges? References or citations to any research would be helpful to substantiate very dubious analysis. Anyone who opposes big government, does so in great part because of the incestuous relationship with big business.
"During the Reagan years, Washington cut funding to many regulatory agencies, and as a result they were unable to perform their legal duties adequately. Under George W. Bush it got worse. Many regulatory agencies simply became extensions of the corporations they were supposed to be overseeing."
Well, I'm not saying that the Gov is an ideal organization (local, state, or fed). I'm just saying that regulation is a necessary evil. And yeah, sometimes I think OSHA is just a big Federal Anti-Darwin program, but seriously, should someone have to risk their life to earn a paycheck stitching garments together?
Gunny, I think what you will find is most people speaking against "regulation", are speaking against federal regulation. This is because the feds are extremely cost inefficient at doing anything. Cities, counties and states have far more to do with building codes than the feds.
Ask anyone who has had to work with (or in spite of) OSHA or FEMA how efficiently these organizations operate. You site "greed and avarice" in business then claim intelligence for not noticing the same in government.
"I wonder if Mat thinks we need to better regulate the internet?"
I wonder if you realize that government regulation of the business that provides your internet service ensures your equal access to the internet?
"We are not Bangladesh. We have building codes and building inspectors."
A.K.A. Government regulations. Sheesh, you even make his point for him!
"We are not Bangladesh. We have building codes and building inspectors."
We have regulations, ones that impose restrictions on businesses, and you're vouching for them? Now I've seen everything.
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