The Locker Room

U.S. News blows the story three times

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:55 AM

The latest issue of U.S. News and World Report focuses on health care, but the authors and editors miss some of important points.

A list of changes that will affect consumers missed two changes that could affect more than 10 million Americans. Beginning January 1, 2011, individuals will not be able use their health savings account (HSA) to purchase many over-the-counter medications unless they first get a certificate of medical necessity. If somebody makes a mistake and purchases something not on the allowed list or does not get the right paperwork, the penalty will double to 20 percent of the cost. These are significant costs that will hamper the one insurance product that has proven capable of improving care at lower cost, but U.S. News ignores them while highlighting expansions of coverage and government subsidies.

An article on hospitals seeking payment from patients highlights a reason for this: "Some $260 billion went to uncompensated medical care between 1999 and 2008." That might sound like a lot of money, but is less than 4% hospital costs and less than 1% of total health care expenditures over the 10-year period.

A bigger problem facing hospitals, insurers, and patients alike is the attitude expressed in a sidebar. A woman faced a $418 facility fee in here $1,133 doctor bill. She fought it, but said, "Everybody's attitude was: What do you have to worry about? You have insurance."

What do we have to worry about with ObamaCare? It's free and doesn't raise taxes, right? Oh, wait, the administration said what about the mandate?

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