by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
Several articles have been published recently about weird healthcare expenses. For example, one tells about a study that concluded Certificates of Need drive up the costs of healthcare. I am not impressed. Logic teaches monopolies can only exist with government help (assuming government upholds its responsibility to fight fraud and abuse). Regulation necessarily reduces efficiencies, and inefficiencies drive up costs. CONs were reportedly begun because folks thought costs are proportional to supply (Cliquez pour le Wiki.), and they create walls for lateral entry into the medical field. The study only shows people have not felt enough pressure to work around the negative effects of the regulation.
Another article tells how Carolinas HealthCare is suing patients for unpaid hospital bills. The logic is, if the people didn’t have enough money to pay their bills, they can pay legal fees, too. Most of those owing are believed to be indigent. Yours truly recalls the uninsured trip to the hospital once upon a time for internal bleeding. An ambulance ride across the street for a premier hospital bed cost 3x$400, an $860 procedure was billed twice, a pill I refused cost $86, etc., etc., etc. After three half-days off work driving from office to office to find out where to go to challenge the bill, I gave up. Anybody who knows me knows I look and act like your scariest nightmare; and the person who drove me to the hospital, unbeknownst to me at the time, has a reputation for making stuff up to make people look bad. That could be why I got the revolving-door, dual-diagnosis bedside manner and the addition of “schizophrenic” and “C-section” to my medical records. (I don’t know what I did with the baby! Honest!) The point is, I have first-hand anecdotal experience corroborating claims that hospitals jack up prices on the uninsured because we don’t have a big staff of whistle-blowers reviewing our bills.
Then, we have Governor Pat postponing a decision on Medicaid expansion. I am opposed to expansion, as I don’t believe the money will go toward helping people. I think it will go toward giving insurance companies lots of money for supporting power-hungry politicians and formidable bureaucracies with numerous opportunities for meaningless employment.