The Elephant in the (Hospital) Room: Part One

As we wrangle over how to pay for health care, we have an elephant in the (hospital) room. A YUGE elephant: America’s Health Insurance Companies. Actually, the elephant lumbers, at will, through the entire system … or non-sytem really. You and I may get care by different means.

When the auto industry (that actually made something) needed propping up, it was an enormous public debate. Why are we silent about health insurance? Because the fix is in. They have the best suits on K Street. Everyone is in their pocket. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle take their dollars and deliver the expected  votes.

First, my bias. I got damned tired of clerks calling me, demanding to know why I kept little Billy in the hospital an extra day because his bicarb was 12.  Discharge might have proved lethal, that’s why. More than a a huge time suck, those calls were inappropriate. Why?

That clerk’s only mandate was to keep her job by reducing hospital days the insurance company “paid” for.  The (publicly-held) COMPANY’S only mandate was to return money to the shareholders (after compensating the execs like maharajahs, of course). I was the only person with a mandate to get Billy safely to adulthood.

In 2015, over 500,000 people were employed in the health INSURANCE industry Click here for eye-popping charts. The number has nearly doubled since 2000.

What does the health INSURANCE industry add to PATIENT CARE?

Yes, it’s only a rhetorical question.

More importantly, what do the “cost cutters” cost? One in four healthcare dollars goes to the health insurance industry, according to Bloomberg. Click here for details.

In the First World, the USA ranks DFL (Dead Effing Last) in quality of healthcare … but HIGHEST in administrative costs. Click here for details. The higher the health care administrative costs, the less the quality of care. 

That shouldn’t surprise you. Don’t you pay more every year? Don’t you run a crazier maze every year? Have you hustled to just get coverage? Is that PT person in network? How many pharmacies do you have to call to find out the cost of a two-penny medication? No $$$? You die or show up so late in your illness, your bills as astronomical.

So, since you’ve clicked on the links, I assume you’re overloaded. You’ve got the idea that more paper pushers is linked to worsening care.

Stay tuned for the next blog. I’ll rant on …