• Tiresias

    That’s pretty amazing, and pretty unusual for what is truly an absolutely routine, standard test. I’m not female, but I’m married to one and am father to another, and both of them indulged in their first Pap test (which is what they’re referring to, here) within a year of the onset of menses. (They were both well under 20 when that happened.) It’s happened every year since the first one, and daughter will get her 13th annual Pap in November when she comes home to visit her ob/gyn, having just turned England’s eligible age for the first one earlier this month!

    That’s getting the costs under control via the cranial-rectal method. Obama’s preferred approach to life.

    On the other hand, I’m clued in to out-of-control costs a bit, too: a spousal visit to the Cedars-Sinai emergency room in LA in September ran to $6,800. She was there for just under three hours: that’s $2,000+ an hour for the privilege of occupying a gurney in the hall. The time the doctor spent with her was billed at $3,700; which, based on actual time of visible presence talking with her means that this guy’s time must be worth $616 per minute. (That’s almost as much as some tobacco-suit lawyers get.) His med-school professor was evidently Dr. Jesus Christ.

    The MRI they put her through was the rest of the bill, $3,100 – which would make that scan worth about $300 a minute. I presume the scanner’s made of platinum.

    Now, I realize perfectly well that of the other forty people in the emergency room at the time, I’m probably paying for 35 of them. Forgive me, democrat brethren (and sistren), but I suspect there is little question that the majority of them are not lawfully in this country, and therefore are an insurance-free zone. (They didn’t much speak English, either, so figuring out why they were there was often a bit of a challenge, despite the handy presence of interpreters.)

    But, as we all know they are by law required to be accepted at emergency rooms. As everybody but democrats knows, no hospital in the universe can just eat the losses incurred by that one, so they have to try to lay the costs off on people who look solvent.

    I don’t know the way to handle this, now that it seems we have indeed decided medical care is a “right.” (In which case, WTF am I doing with this bill?) I know that socialized medicine is like socialized everything else: NOT the way to handle it. But there has to be something better than this, because this is insane.

  • BrianE

    “But there has to be something better than this, because this is insane.”- Tiresias

    Medical malpractice insurance is a big part of a doctor’s fixed expenses. A start would be capping lawsuits, similar to what we did with airlines. What’s the chance that will ever happen.

    We do have universal health care, and your trip to the emergency room reinforces that fact. The problem is it’s not particularly efficient. Add the fact that Medicaid and Medicare cap payments for services, similar to what insurance companies do, and that leaves the medical industry with one source– those with company health plans.

    What makes this problem more difficult to solve is our silly notion of equality of outcomes. While it isn’t very “fair”, should people relying completely on the government for their care expect the same level of health care as someone who is paying for it? The rich will always have a high level of health care since they will travel to where the best levels of health care exist. Who will suffer, once again, are those in the middle as their services will deteriorate to make all of us equal.

    We really do need to reward healthy lifestyles. Possibly a tax credit for a “good” annual physical. The cost of the physical would also be a direct credit. Whatever we do, the government is going to have more say in these decisions.

    That’s another reason why I support McCain. His proposal may only stave off the inevitable, but we need to resist as long as we can, any effort to put the government in charge of the health industry.