“For every dollar the nation spends on health care, 50 cents is wasted.”
Medical waste is through the roof, and a recent report by CNN shows how out-of-control it’s gotten. Patients, even insurance companies, are paying through the roof for things like toothbrushes and Tylenol. Perhaps this is another reason why concierge medicine is growing so quickly.
Right now, with healthcare still on the table, the economy still in the dumps, and congress trying to figure out funding, it’s the perfect opportunity to look at how much money is being wasted every day in this messy industry.
According to CNN, a patient in Florida was billed $140 dollars for one Tylenol pill; a patient in South Carolina was billed $1,000 for a tooth brush; a patient in Georgia was billed more than $4,000 for 41 bags of IV saline solution when she went to the emergency room for a two-hour visit and used just one bag.
This is happening every day in every city and small town, where hospitals are trying to maintain funds, the government is laying down red tape, and patients are drowning in debt and medical bills. The entire system is in shambles, for when the hospitals cheat the system and over-charge, the insurance companies’ raise rates to make up for expanding costs, and the patient is hurt in the end.
When the patient is hit with the trickle down fees and premium rates, which are shooting up 30% in many states this year, it truly is a vicious cycle that will never end unless something changes. Although the government is working on getting healthcare passed onto the public, the questions remain regarding who will pay for it, how will we pay for it, and will it only create another trickle down affect where hard working patients will be pounded with not only medical debt, but higher taxes.
Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, says hospitals mark up prices on medical bills to make up for lower payments the government pays through Medicare and Medicaid, according to CNN.
In 2008, healthcare costs in the US hit $2.2 trillion. Of that amount, $1.2 trillion was waste. Thing about that number; with millions out of work, millions in medical debt and losing their homes and filing for bankruptcy, the US wasted $1.2 trillion! It’s almost unfathomable.
What’s sad is that hospitals, physicians and specialists could go the more affordable route and prescribe treatments that are “equally effective” and cheaper, but won’t do it because it would mean they would lose money in the long run.
“The old belief that better care is more care, turns out it’s just not true,” James says. “The big problem. It costs you money. Most of these savings go back to insurers or the government, those windfall savings. We’re nearly always financially punished every time we save money.”
The healthcare mess that we are facing has so many layers, financial issues, funding issues, waste management issues, treatment issues, among millions of other problems, it’s no wonder it’s taking so long for something to get passed through the White House.