The Medical Mafia Wrote the Senate Bill

The following was written by Steven Weissman, a former hospital president, and published at the Daily Caller on 6-22-17, and the actions he described is exactly what we’re watching unfold right now.

The GOP and the teary eyed Dems are working in concert to protect a corrupt system of pricing of medical services. It is the political hoax of all time.

As of noon today, shares of the nation’s largest insurer United Health jumped $2.71 to an all-time high. Hospital Corporation of America is up $3.03, near its all-time high. Pharmaceutical companies are skyrocketing too.

Politicians are actively conspiring to maintain a system that continues to grow industry revenue through increases in the price of medical services.  By design, total U.S. health costs will continue to skyrocket.

Health reform discussions are the worst kind of political theatre. Congress does the bidding of the industry which spends more on lobbying than the defense, aerospace, and the oil and gas industries combined.  (NOTE: A look at this link shows that pharmaceuticals spend almost $3.6 billion dollars, yes, with a B, and insurance lays out nearly $2.5 billion, again with a B.)

Public political discussion is strictly limited to the extent medical costs are to be subsidized by the government verses direct payment by individuals. Either way, the medical mafia gets its money and we all lose. It is as if it were illegal to even mention the rigged system of medical pricing.

Ask any hospital, lab or physician the price of anything and all you ever get back is a question: “What insurance do you have?” A simple blood test for cholesterol can range from $10 to $400 or more at the same lab. Hospitalization for chest pain can result in a bill from the same hospital for the same services ranging anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000 or more. Your price depends on how much can be extracted from you on an individual basis, often at your most vulnerable. If you are out-of-network or uninsured you pay the highest prices. It is a vicious predatory system.

Industry apologists claim that everyone is actually “charged” the same amount, it’s just that we each receive a different “discount.” When your life and health is on the line, it’s the same as being robbed at gunpoint.

Total U.S. healthcare costs are simply the sum total of all invoices paid to health providers like hospitals, labs and physicians. Insurance is just a means to pay medical bills. High premiums are a symptom. The problem is the pricing of medical services which, in any other business, would be treated as fraud.

If any politician has the courage to challenge the healthcare mafia, the solution to health cost misery is simple and would slash health costs by at least 33% overnight (and the USA would still have approximately the highest cost per person healthcare on earth).

Congress must compel medical providers to play by the same rules that apply to all other sellers of consumer goods and services. They should remain free to set their own prices. However, providers must be prohibited from billing each patient a different price for the same service.

Legitimate pricing of health services will empower patients to shop for fair value. The existence of price competition in this protected industry would force providers to operate more efficiently and at lower cost, like all other sellers of consumer goods and services.

Legitimate pricing will impact the bottom lines of providers who do not want to change a system in which they are the only sellers of a consumer product that is exempt from price competition. As the share prices reflect, the desires of the powerful, elite health industry are being satisfied – not so much the rest of us unwashed masses.   

Legitimate pricing would also mean networks are obsolete. We would have the freedom to utilize any healthcare provider in the nation without being price gouged for being out-of-network or uninsured. Networks are an offensive and costly restriction on choice which nobody should tolerate – especially when making life or death decisions.

The actual problem with our system is that medical pricing is all smoke and mirrors and totally dishonest. Sadly, not one politician has shown the courage to challenge the industry’s death grip on pricing. Until that happens, I’ll stick to movies for entertainment. The political theatre is sickening.

~~~~~~~~~

Since Congress hasn’t even had the nerve to actually repeal O’care, it’s more than obvious that they don’t have the courage to challenge the medical industry. That means there is no way Congress will compel them to play by the same rules as everyone else. They won’t even go toe-to-toe with the Democrats across the aisle, so how could we possibly expect them to do battle with the medical industry on our behalf?

If Trump truly wanted to make a name for himself, this is the battle he should take on. He should demand the medical industry play by the rules and refuse to accept anything less.

~Kathy



Categories: Political

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8 replies

  1. It’s not health care.
    It’s monopoly healthcare paying.
    Health care is when you take care of yourself and go for help when you have a problem.

    What goes on today? Annual doctor visits. Screening and testing to see if you HAVE something wrong. Drugs to prevent things when the very drugs you take are slowly harming you. Prescriptions written by doctors who won’t refill them unless you return for an office visit every 3-6 months.
    The REAL things you need actual health care for are what really cost a lot. And they still happen to you even though you do all this expensive stuff, take the prescriptions and spend your life at the doctor’s office and labs.

    I’ve divorced myself from this system. They will see me if and when I need them. And I’ve told them. They have finally quit calling me for these tests and prescriptions and ‘annual check ups’.

    We have learned to reduce hubby’s blood pressure with breathing exercises. He’s off those drugs that make him so tired he needs a nap between each chore. And his blood pressure is better than when he took the drugs. 130/80. And he feels better. We walk 3 miles 3-4 times a week. I lift weights. Hubby chops cords of wood. Other wise we are healthy and happy. And we have more time to do what we want.

    *Just my little old opinion.*

    Like

    • “It’s monopoly healthcare paying.” That’s the truth, tannngl, it’s a monopoly, and the testing and referrals are out of hand. A friend of mine went to the doctor about the ringing in his ears and ended up doing a colon scope – how crazy is that?

      Our regular MD tries to push us into shingles vaccines, flu shots, pneumonia shots, etc. We have to wade through her endless recommendations and then bring her full circle back to the reason we came in.

      Most of them are only too happy to write prescriptions for pain pills rather than fix the problem – much like the VA is notorious for doing. It is completely out of control, and at this point I don’t see it ever being corrected.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. >>” The problem is the pricing of medical services which, in any other business, would be treated as fraud.”

    I can’t begin to say how spot-on this article is, Kathy. Steven Weismann has explained the problem perfectly.

    A few years back I ended up in the emergency room and was told I should have my gall bladder removed that day. No time for financial planning. The bill was something like $28K, which was just about fully covered but since we hadn’t met our deductible yet that year our out-of-pocket costs were $3,000-$4,000. My husband had issues with his gall bladder for years so after this experience he planned on having his removed the following year but this time we had time to plan to minimize the out-of-pocket costs. Silly us. Although we had met our deductible we now had a different plan which required a 10% co-pay on top of meeting the deductible, plus his surgery – at a different facility – was more costly, so we again ended up paying about $4,000 out-of-pocket. It’s a rigged system where the consumer always loses because the rules of the game are secret or hidden in page after page of tiny print.

    As I have complained ad nauseam, any healthcare “reform” is doomed to fail because none of the proposed “fixes” does anything to restore normality to prices, and this can only be done in a healthy consumer-producer market. That market has been slowly destroyed by both Democrats and Republicans who just keep making it worse with their stupidity and their refusal to see the problem for what it really is.

    Ten years ago a friend of mine had an acquaintance in his mid-thirties who was an anesthesiologist. Back then he made $850,000 a year. I’m all for capitalism, except that I know the reason he’s able to make that kind of money is all due to the impotence of the consumer who doesn’t usually get to shop around for a good price on an anesthesiologist. You take what you get and you don’t even look at the bill. And if you do look at the bill, who are you going to complain to that 20 minutes of this man’s time cost you $3,600?

    I’m happy you posted this but I have no hope for this country. Americans are too lazy to pay attention to the wise words of Steven Weismann.

    Like

    • Your incident is certainly relatable and it seems there’s just no amount of financial planning to make it economical. My husband’s insurance changed, for the better we thought since the deductible went down a tad, only to discover that we’re getting hit with higher co-pays and lab fees. Those increased costs are the equivalent of the higher deductible, so we gained nothing.

      It is a racket run by the medical and insurance industries and kept in place by greedy politicians. Those politicians are the ones who are supposed to be on our side, so yeah, there’s not much hope for this country in that regard.

      Like

  3. Frankly, I don’t see how we can ever cause major changes to the healthcare cabal. That’s a combination of the providers (doctors and hospitals) and the insurance companies. Their representatives are powerful and when they lobby Congress, you know big bucks get attention. I place most of the blame on the insurance companies – that’s where the reformation needs to take place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, Garnet, if the insurance companies were reformed, then hospital and lab charges would go down as well as doctor fees, but they’re all so woven together that prices just continue to escalate. They are indeed a mafia and the people have no say at all, except to fork over more money.

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  4. If they have that much to spend on lobbying, they can afford to drop deductibles by half.

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    • Exactly, Crawfish. They could also drop the price of drugs considerably too, but then we have to remember it’s not really about the people.

      We need to take the money out of lobbying and equalize the big corporations to the little people. We can’t afford to buy the laws we want – all we have are our words – and it should be the same for lobbyists. Then we might see some laws that help us instead of big business. But just like term limits, it will never happen.

      Liked by 1 person

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