Who Benefits?

My daughter dislikes my talking about healthcare in America.  Most Americans are rather ignorant of how healthcare is practiced in this country.  Let us look at hospitals for a moment.  Sixty-two percent of the hospitals are Not For Profit organizations.  We have for profit hospitals but they make up only eighteen percent of the hospitals in this country.  The other twenty percent are government hospitals.  The not for profit hospitals are owned by various religious or charity groups and under the Hill-Burton Act of 1946 receive federal funds for treating the poor.

This raises a few questions such as why, if I have medical insurance does the non profit hospital charge so much for whatever treatment I am provided?  And why do these hospitals turn away those in need of treatment if they have no insurance?  After all, wouldn’t they receive funds from the federal government if they actually treated the poor and indigent?  And why have so many non profit hospitals been built over the last two decades?  What happened to all those charity hospitals that were, at one time, providers of healthcare to the poor?

The physician who sees you in his office has to be certified by the non profit in order to have the privilege to treating you if you are hospitalized in that particular non profit hospital.  And very often what we see is that your doctor’s office is actually in the building owned by that non profit.  Now let us say that a couple of doctors, specialists, if you like, start a clinic that provides out patient surgery for the same procedures that the non profit hospital.  The first thing that the non profit hospital does is to revoke the privileges of those doctors.  Non profit means non competition or monopoly for them.  Those new buildings cost money as does all the medical equipment and the staff of non medical employees needed to operate the hospital.  Just because you may work for a non profit organization mean that you have taken a vow of poverty.  Take a look at how much the individuals as directors are paid.  It is not unusual for a director to be paid a very high six figured salary and many get that seven figured income.

It is also about the medical equipment that often costs six or seven figures and to get that return on investment the equipment must be used as often as possible.  That means that MRIs and other treatments are routinely ordered even when X-Rays would be more efficient.  And you can count on that high price for the MRI.  In Japan an MRI will cost about fifty dollars.  In the US at a non profit hospital you can count on paying a minimum of one thousand dollars.  The physician must order as many tests as the insurance company will pay for and more that you will have to pay for.  Remember, the insurance has limits on the number, the type, and the cost of those procedures that they will reimburse the hospital for.  And the hospital make a practice of over charging for the cost of an MRI.  The difference between what your insurance will pay and the balance will either come out of your pocket or be presented to the federal or state government as an noncollectable debt and those two government entities will pay the difference.

But, but, you say, aren’t there laws against this behavior?  Not for healthcare.  Hospitals, doctors, other medical professions are completely exempt for any federal or state anti-trust legislation.  Nor do they or will they tell you before you are treated what that treatment will cost.  And if you are poor and indigent you get turned away because they can’t collect their high overcharging fees in total for the government.  Think about it, to them you aren’t worth their time no matter how many beds are empty at the moment.  Now if community groups will pay for the poor individuals then they will accept you.  If not, tough luck.  The old Sixty Minutes would have gone after those responsible for this grave problem in America.  But today the media will not cover that story.  Ask yourself why.  There is a federal law against interlocking boards of directors but it doesn’t apply to Healthcare and is rarely enforced any more.  Isn’t Obama Care suppose to do something about this?  Of course not.  congress would have had to put the healthcare community back under all the antitrust laws, fair advertising practices, deceptive business practices, and so on.  Who wrote that Obama Care act?  The very individuals and groups and businesses that benefit from a forced payment system.  No, I am not writing about any conspiracy or theory.  The evidence is available on line to anyone who wants to do a good bit of research.  And that is just the problem, most individuals can’t be bothered.

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