By Bill Maher
A new study by Health Affairs finds that 50 hospitals in the US are charging the uninsured a more than 1,000 percent markup on the actual cost of patient care. If you’re lucky enough to be insured, no problem – there are negotiated, reasonable rates for you. But no insurance? Assume that appendectomy is going to wreck your credit and ruin you financially for life.
According to The Washington Post, “All but one of the facilities are owned by for-profit entities… Community Health Systems operates 25 of the hospitals on the list. Hospital Corporation of America operates 14 others.”
The study’s co-author, Johns Hopkins’ Gerard Anderson says, “They are price-gouging because they can. They are marking up the prices because no one is telling them they can’t.”
That’s why you see on the bill, “hygiene supplies – $30,” and it turns out to be a box of Kleenex.
Rich Republicans love to call healthcare an entitlement but who, in this case, is behaving like they’re entitled? Because they inherited wealth or benefitted from white privilege or are simply winning life’s Monopoly game, they get peace of mind and full coverage while an entire class of less fortunate Americans are left just one illness away from lifelong financial ruin?
Republicans also love to say that federal involvement in the healthcare system is “the government getting between you and your doctor.” I know all regulations are bad, but seeing what the gouging,for-profit hospitals and the fat cat insurance companies do when they get between you and your doctor, isn’t it time the government stepped in?
When it comes to basic healthcare – getting a broken bone set or a wound stitched up or a tumor removed – shouldn’t that be universal, the one basic, shared human endeavor that transcends class? You know, “one nation under God” and all that?