As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500

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posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 12:55 AM
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A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them, including California Pacific Medical Center, emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures — closing a wound with a needle and thread — typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more.

At Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Daniel Diaz, 29, a public relations executive, was billed $3,355.96 for five stitches on his finger after cutting himself while peeling an avocado. At a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., Arch Roberts Jr., 56, a former government employee, was charged more than $2,000 for three stitches after being bitten by a dog. At Mercy Hospital in Port Huron, Mich., Chelsea Manning, 22, a student, received bills for close to $3,000 for six stitches after she tripped running up a path. Insurers and patients negotiated lower prices, but those charges were a starting point.

California Pacific Medical Center’s 400-page chargemaster for this year contains some eye-popping figures: from $32,901 for an X-ray study of the heart’s arteries to $25,646.88 for gall bladder removal (doctor’s fees not included) to $5,510 for a simple vaginal delivery (not including $731 for each hour of labor, or $137 for each bag of IV fluid). Even basic supplies or services carry huge markups: $20 for a codeine pill (50 cents at Rite-Aid or Walgreens), $543 for a breast-pump kit ($25 online), $4,495 for a CT scan of the abdomen (about $400 at an outpatient facility nearby). Plenty of other hospitals set similar prices.


www.nytimes.com...

That seems simply crazy. Considering how often I need emergency visits and doctor visits, largely due to sports injuries, I was lucky not to be born in US.

1000 for a few stiches??? Despite the hospital being non-profit organisation, at least that particular one. I guess there are several reasons for it: 1) Too many middlemen/administration, who are not directly giving aid 2) Even non-profit hospitals can not function well and keep balance. Paying high salaries to doctors/nurses, while improving the equipment, requires lots of finances, which leads to rising the costs of everything. 3) Possible overspending in certain fields, the expansions/top equipment are not always a necessity.

I personally see it as another point, why anything but universal healthcare, leads to patients losing, even if the intentions are good and not-for-profit. This is simply too expensive field to run at basic business principles.

Here every hospital is a government-funded institution. All the necessary equipment, all the (fixed depending on position) salaries are funded by the government based on the amount of patients living in that particular area the hospital has to cover. Hospitals do not have to worry about income. They are given a certain amount that they have to spend, so no additional income is needed, which leads to no doctor´s fees, just a symbolical visitation fee during the first visit (roughly 7 dollars), no extra for doctor or used equipment/drugs during the treatment. No need to earn back the cost of machines by setting fees for using them, as after all these are bought on tax-payers money. And all this comes for 7,5% of my salary (taxes), which is reasonable in my eyes, especially as nobody directly profits from my illnesses. The people who treat me are paid reasonably well, but no CEOS/insurance companies or other middlemen.




posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 07:36 AM
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reply to post by Cabin
 


I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts into words here, so I apologize in advance if this comes out disjointed.

My husband and I were talking about stitches last night. He cut himself at work and asked the kid who works with him to help him make a butterfly. The kid had no idea what a butterfly is, and was totally freaked that my husband wasn't going to urgent care or emergency. It's sad, but we understand why. For years, we've been scared, intimidated and threatened if we do not seek medical care for every little thing. My kids got plenty of cuts, but never had stitches. A good cleaning and butterflies always did the job just fine. But today, someone would report us for child abuse if we chose to treat their cuts ourselves rather than seek professional care.

This is not the free market at work, and it's not about our health. It's just one more way we are forced to participate in a system that is more concerned about profits than health, and a government that demands subservience and obedience. People aren't even taught how to take care of themselves now. Instead we are forced to hand that decision to someone else. The medical establishment has a captive consumer base, ripe for exploitation and extortion, and likes it that way. Hence the need for Obamacare. Can't let the people have a choice or they'll find other options.

Just imagine if we had a health care system that actually educated and empowered people to take care of themselves...



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 08:17 AM
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reply to post by Boadicea
 


I understand how you feel. The system is not working well.

Your points are good. Money is ruining the health care system.

I did some research on the US healthcare today after creating this thread.


They looked at CEO paychecks in 2009 alongside hospital size, quality and other data from 2008, figuring salaries and bonuses might be tied to the prior year's figures.

The study included 1,877 CEOs from 2,681 private, non-profit hospitals across the country. The average executive earned about $596,000.


www.reuters.com...


Considering the extreme costs in US, I am starting to wonder, when will Americans start travelling to different European countries for receiving healthcare, as the 2000 dollar cost on plane tickets and expenses will eventually turn out significantly cheaper than the treatment in US, while the quality is the same, if not better.

I checked the costs here for non-insured (foreigners and people without citizenship living here). On average 7 dollars per every blood test, 100-400 dollars for CT-scan depending on region, 300-700 dollars for MRI depending on region/full body is 1300 dollars, X-ray 30-75 dollars, night at hospital 10-50 dollars depending on the hospital. 2000 dollars can be saved quite easily if something is needed, considering you might have to pay tens of thousands for same scans locally.
edit on 4-12-2013 by Cabin because: (no reason given)


(post by starfoxxx removed for a manners violation)

posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 08:55 AM
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I agree that Universal Healthcare should be a given in this country. I also agree that the cost is too high. But it is NOT for the reasons that you have specified. Healthcare costs what it costs in the United States not because of physician, or nurse's salaries, and not the salaries of CEO's, (although I will give you the overspending on new equipment bit, but once again, the reason for that isn't what you think).

Most of this is because of the high cost of coping with Medicaid/Medicare (and now the ACA to make it even worse). The entire system is designed so that the government can get out of paying its bills. Any Medicaid patient that walks into the hospital means only a fraction of the cost of that visit will be reimbursed by the government, and I mean cents on the dollar, generally between 40 and 80 percent. Now, this isn't a profit mind you, it is simply what it actually costs the hospital to cover care. Most Medicaid/Medicare patients leave a hospital in the red for that specific patient. That is, if the hospital gets reimbursed at all; which they won't be if someone forgot to type in part of the date, or one of the forms required in quadruplicate turns up missing, or any number of 10,000 tiny, intricate things outlined in a wall of books inches thick is not done exactly as specified. That theory that if they can make a system complicated enough they will catch you out on something you are doing wrong is well in play here.

There is an entire department (sometimes several) in any facility dedicated solely to government claims and reimbursement. This costs money, which is reflected in the cost of healthcare. Also, when a large percentage of patients are walking in and only a portion, or none of their bill will be paid, those costs must be offset somewhere, and that is reflected in the cost of healthcare.

A significant portion of the onus for the bloated cost of healthcare goes to government involvement already, and currently there is a great deal of propaganda that demonizes the professionals in healthcare in order to justify even more government interference. The State points the finger somewhere else with one hand while they are screwing the public with the other.

Government involvement in healthcare in the United States is not compassionate, or cost effective, or even efficient, because it is not about helping the public. It is about passing laws that are designed to pad the pockets and further the goals of special interest groups and corporations.
edit on 4-12-2013 by redhorse because: (no reason given)
edit on 4-12-2013 by redhorse because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 08:57 AM
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Canada model, England model, (well minus their euthanasia practices, don't take the bad), French, NORWAY, Australia, New Zealand, there's a whole world out there that is not like the US with healthcare, and stitches are covered. No extra billing.



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 09:02 AM
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Unity_99
Canada model, England model, (well minus their euthanasia practices, don't take the bad), French, NORWAY, Australia, New Zealand, there's a whole world out there that is not like the US with healthcare, and stitches are covered. No extra billing.


Maybe we can design a BETTER system then those..
Got to work out the kinks, good god people..

You know how they rake us over a barrel on the back end here with the doctors,
they do the same thing to you guys on the front in with your taxes. Aint no damn different
if your put over the barrel before or after..



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 09:31 AM
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After my SO was in a bad truck accident, they gave him a brace to wear. A turtle shell brace. It had two big pieces of PVC type material, some foam, and some straps with velcro.....It was 5,800 bucks according to the itemized report for his charges.

His total bill for just the 4 day hospital stay was over 40,000 dollars. 10,000 dollars per day. That did not include the two ambulance rides, the separate doctors fees, or the 24 weeks of physical therapy.

Prices for anything medical or dental anymore are completely ridiculous.



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 10:01 AM
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reply to post by redhorse
 


Actually Medicare/Medicaid is ran very efficiently. Arguably the most efficient large scale government program. Almost all Americans pay into it, but only a few qualify for it.

ObamaCare does nothing to address the inflated prices us Americans are forced to pay for healthcare. My last visit to the ER was about 8 years ago, I got a few X-rays saw the doctor for about 1 minute and was billed over $1000, I received no treatment. I did not have insurance and that is now one of many dings on my credit report.

The US needs universal healthcare. We are way behind the rest of the world in terms of health care. A single payer system is not a bad idea, but most Americans have been sold on the idea that universal health care or a single payer system will turn the US into a socialist country and strongly oppose it.



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 10:14 AM
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jrod
reply to post by redhorse
 


Actually Medicare/Medicaid is ran very efficiently. Arguably the most efficient large scale government program. Almost all Americans pay into it, but only a few qualify for it.

ObamaCare does nothing to address the inflated prices us Americans are forced to pay for healthcare. My last visit to the ER was about 8 years ago, I got a few X-rays saw the doctor for about 1 minute and was billed over $1000, I received no treatment. I did not have insurance and that is now one of many dings on my credit report.

The US needs universal healthcare. We are way behind the rest of the world in terms of health care. A single payer system is not a bad idea, but most Americans have been sold on the idea that universal health care or a single payer system will turn the US into a socialist country and strongly oppose it.




Single payer? If you work under the table, or don't even work at all, you will not even get a bill THAT IS YOURS. Why should other people pay for my healthcare?
What do you do with it when it cost more money then it is taking in?

Children are covered already, these are adults were talking about.
Adults who should have their act together by either paying for their own insurance
or paying out of pocket for care they receive..

Kids should see that if they don't do something with their life,
their not going to be able to afford medical care.

If they see from cradle the government will give you food stamps, pay all your medical bills,
pay rent and utilities, millions will loose any respect left for having to care for themselves..



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 10:56 AM
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reply to post by Cabin
 


When we had our second child a few years back we calculated the birth in total at a cost of around 37,000.00
This includes the visits to the doctor before and after and of course the delivery...

Just imagine how much it costs the government to defer the costs of people who are on welfare or are here illegal....somebody has to pay for it...

My hope is that if people do have to pay more for doctor visits more people will look to alternative medicines and in general take better care of themselves by limiting crap foods, smoking and exercising.

I think we should also remember that hospitals are out there to make money...and in no way do I agree with one of the posters that says government healthcare can run efficiently. It can only run as efficient as the amount of money people are taxed to go into it...
edit on 4-12-2013 by chrismarco because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 11:21 AM
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reply to post by starfoxxx
 


If you want the US to be a first world country, we need first world health care. We do not have that. Every other modernized country in the world has some form of universal health care. Why can't the US?

The health insurance industry is in the business of ripping people off, I refuse to support that industry. When making a profit is more important than one's health we all loose.



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 11:34 AM
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jrod
reply to post by starfoxxx
 


If you want the US to be a first world country, we need first world health care. We do not have that.



What are you talking about? 3rd world countries, your sick, you die, simple as that.

If you want America to be a country at all. Bankrupting it worse is the answer?



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 11:43 AM
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The US is already bankrupt.

Using tax payer money to pay for firefighters, EMTs, the police, the prisons, the MIC ect. hasn't caused the country to go under.

I'd gladly pay a little more for the Medicare tax if it meant universal health care.
edit on 4-12-2013 by jrod because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 12:44 PM
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reply to post by Cabin
 


Wow. Just wow. Those numbers are mind boggling. Including your 7.5% contribution to healthcare. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that... So a person making $100,000 would only pay $7500 per year for healthcare, and that covers pretty much all necessary medical care? That doesn't even cover premiums here. It's shameful.

Thanks for sharing. Really puts some perspective on the cost issues. Too many fat grubby fingers in the pie.



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 12:51 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 01:03 PM
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jrod
reply to post by starfoxxx
 


If you want the US to be a first world country, we need first world health care. We do not have that. Every other modernized country in the world has some form of universal health care. Why can't the US?



I'm so glad you said this. I just have to shake my head when I hear people say we have the greatest health care system in the world. As long as even one person is left to suffer and/or die for lack of funds to pay for health care, we cannot and will not have the greatest health care system in the world. Of course that's not the only problem, but I think most other problems would take care of themselves to a large degree if Congress' true mission was to provide quality health care for all, instead of just trying to feed the corporate/campaign beast.



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 01:48 PM
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I must have gotten lucky when I received my 5 stitches on my knee after an accident at work!

30 minutes at the hospital for 5 stitches only came out to $1,600



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 01:55 PM
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These so called "patriots" and "defenders of the constitution" are a joke and they are the ones that are holding back this country.

They will go out and vote for the next flag waving, gun toting tea party candidate that is selling the latest conservative taking point about how welfare moochers are driving this country into bankruptcy and how we need to give more tax cuts to corporations and CEO's.

Societies that choose conservative politics will by definition not move forward.



posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 03:35 PM
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There are two main reasons (In my opinion) healthcare in the U.S. has, in some cases, ridiculous price schedules. 1.) About half the people who visit the hospital actually pay their bill (I'm not passing judgements, just stating a fact- I understand there are legitimate cases where people can't pay). and 2.) Frivolent law suits.

Now, from the law suit aspect comes some, arguably, perplexing behavior. As one example, suppose you're in surgery and need absorbent sponges, or medicated eyedrops (or whatever, fill in the blank), what happens is that container is opened and whatever isn't used is THROWN AWAY. In other countries they will re-sterlize the product and use the perfectly good remainder in the future. Tossing reasonably good and usable supplies in the trash is like tossing the money in the trash; hospital admins would rather throw money in the figurative landfill than at law suits. And that "trash" is saving lives all around the world. Go figure.
edit on 4-12-2013 by FatherStacks because: clarity





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