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Norm's Soapbox- My corner of Hyde Park

We keep being told we have the best medical care in the world. Socialized medicine is much worse care, and costs more. Now California hospitals are telling us that $8.6 billion a year in hospital bills are not paid. Let's look at this from a different angle.

The hospitals are still open, making less money than they want, so their expenses are being covered. Statistics say the vast majority of bankruptcies are due to medical expenses and job loss. That means the rest of us are paying for the medical care already, for the hospital fees have been raised to cover those losses, while we also suffer losses from their bankruptcies. The emergency room bill is much higher as a result of how we deal with medical care, and that extra cost is added to the bill to cover the shortfall, raising those numbers, kind of like credit card interest and finance fees on late fees they impose. This is not very straight forward and efficient.

Since Medicare has had about a 3% overhead, and health insurance averages 15% overhead, I can't say the single payer approach is very wasteful or ineffective. If we assume 66% higher overhead for a single payer medical system, 5%, that still leaves 10% more money for medical care instead of paperwork. If a single payer pays the hospital bills for medical care (not cosmetic), the hospital saves money on paper pushers and collection agents, does not have to overcharge to pay for the ER, and the rest of us are less likely to get that letter from the bankruptcy court saying you will not be paid. And that does not account for the savings of a kid dragged to the primary care doctor and immunized, instead of the ER.

The California hospitals want their 8.6 billion dollars, which they will get one way or another, and could get without closing their ERs. We can cut the hospital bill, reducing it to hospital and medical expenses without millions for health insurance handlers, ads, debit collectors, and extra bankruptcies. You can still get capitalist healthcare just like the Queen of England when you want. It just means everybody gets care, as the "private system" supporters claim happens now, including that case coughing next to you. 10/30/2007

Copyright © 2007   Norman Montgomery; All rights reserved.