Saturday, March 12, 2011

What's Wrong with Healthcare

This post goes a bit off-topic, but I have in the past in my frustration written about healthcare.

I’m know many long-time residents went to doctors Snyder or Kessler, then crossed the street to the Nazareth Pharmacy to get their prescription. And while I know I should get annual check-ups, I’ve pretty much gone to a doctor on an as needed basis since Dr. Snyder retired. Since that has happened twice, I haven’t gotten a new doctor.

This year my wife got strep, my daughter was already on antibiotics, and I was getting a scratchy throat so I decided to go to St. Luke’s North on a Saturday so I wouldn’t have to take time off of my new job.

I signed in, gave my medical card info, filled out a form and ten minutes later I was meeting with a Physician’s Assistant. Told her the one sentence description, she asked if I wanted the test or the script, I took the script and I was done in less than five minutes.

This week I opened a bill from St. Luke’s for $357.00 for the service provided. $143.00 was charged as Emergency Room and $214.00 for Professional – Emergency Room.

I wish I could somehow manage to earn $2568 per hour as the hospital network was earning off this PA, not to mention the $1716 that was charged for the use of a single room for one hour.

I guess it is easy to understand why a typical family medical plan now costs around $1500 per month with an equal annual deductible and co-pays of $30-40 with formularies ranging from $20-$60.

So despite the fact that it was fast, convenient (open on a Saturday morning), and the people were friendly, plus I didn’t cost my employer time (though through insurance I did money) I won’t ever be returning to their facility.

With that off my chest, I’m going to finish paying bills so I can get outside and enjoy some of this sunshine before dinner with friends and a show at the Nazareth Center for the Arts (come on out and see Bill Toms from the Houserockers out of Pittsburgh, PA – show starts at 8:00 p.m., tickets $10, BYOB).

Posted via email from Ross Nunamaker


Xitch13 said...

Since Healthcare and its associated costs are mine fields now, I am not going to go into a long diatribe about what would help and what would not. I will raise three points which I believe are valid and should start any discussion about healthcare and its cost.

1. Health Insurance in America has never been about making sure the insured person gets the medical intervention needed. It was started by the doctors and hospitals to insure they received compensation for work preformed. It has not been the case that All doctors are rich (yes, I know very simplistic view and does not hold up under scrutiny. But as a generalized statement has some truth and can be used in an exemplary fashion). Rather the rich doctors, were the ones taking care of rich patients. If your practice was rendering aid to farmers or workers, you were often as well-off or as poor as your patients.

2. The health insurance companies enjoy near monopoly status. If you do not believe me, call every insurance agent in a 10 mile radius of your house, and ask for a quote on personal health insurance. IF, and that is a big if, they can give you a quote, it will be from a maximum of two companies. (I purposely left the internet out of this example because many of the offerings there are frauds or have huge holes in coverage)

3. Health insurance companies have no incentive for keeping prices down. Remember, a health insurance company is a company. A company's main focus is on maximizing profits. (There is nothing wrong with that, either - as long as the customer recognizes that truism). Yes, an insurance company wants to keep the costs down, but as long as premiums cover costs and their customers must pay any increase in premiums, then there is no incentive to lower costs. As a thought experiment ask your self this question: If you make 5% on someone buying a year's worth of health insurance coverage, would you rather they bought the $10,000 policy or the $20,000 policy?

Again, some of my examples were simplistic. But they were so only to better exemplify the central points.

The Battle Cry of Freedom said...

There is a doctor on South Main named Wasson. I go there as does my wife and we have not one complaint.Give him a try. Bet you won't see those charges there.