Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another Bill… and My Thoughts on Public Health Care

Well, we got another bill today – this time from the ambulance service.  It was less than I thought it would be (under $1700), but I found out that for $55/year, one can have unlimited emergency services (and, if uninsured, a 60% discount on services.  That means it would take me about 8 years to make that up, if it ever happens again.  So, that’s worth considering.

I don’t expect that there will be a discount available on the bill, but I’ve asked for any that might be available, and also asked if there was a month-to-month plan that i could get on.  I have also done this on the radiology bill we got for the CAT scan and X-ray.

Our medical bills are now over $5,000, and that’s after pre-paying the labor and delivery and putting $2,000 on the credit card for the emergency visit.

We also got a call from the hospital we went to for the birth, and they informed me that I still had a balance of over $9,000 for the birth.  So we still have to get that resolved.  The big question is whether the pre-pay covered mom and baby, because the $14,000 bill for my wife was reduced, but the $9,000 bill for the baby was not.  It was my understanding that the bill from the hospital was taken care of, but the business office doesn’t currently see it that way.

Scary as having all that medical debt is, even with all the facts lined out as they are, I still cannot get behind a public plan for health insurance.  I don’t believe that the hospitals and doctors are as much to blame for the high cost of medical as pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies.

Some of my problems with the public plan as it is being proposed right now are due to the speed at which a 1,000+ page document is getting pushed through.  Last time we did that, we sent money to banks without much accountability at all, and are surprised that the 800 billion dollars seemed to have little to no measurable effect.  For another, any plan on the table does not include the people making the decisions.  I would be far more agreeable to a plan that the ones with the power to produce such a plan were under it as well.  If they are not willing to go under such a plan, why should we have to?

Also, I look at a bankrupt Social Security, a nearly bankrupt Medicaid/Medicare program, the huge amounts of fraud and wasteful spending, and it does not inspire confidence in me that a new program along those same lines (but expanded) will be any more efficient or any less wrought with fraud.

The combination of those three factors cause me to pause on the current plan being proposed.  Even in my position, in which a government plan could potentially make a lot of this medical debt go away, I can’t put my support behind it.  Do I have an answer for the solution?  No, I don’t.  If the pharmaceuticals and health insurance companies are behind the plan, then I will have to be against it.  I don’t believe that either of those occupations work with the average American’s success in mind.


  1. Medical bills are definitely a kick in the back side. I got charged 1600 for my wife to go to the ER and get a CT scan because she fell and hit her head. That was after the insurance company paid their portion ( I dropped them fast afterwards) It took some running around to talk to the right person to put a payment plan down I could afford at the time. I don't think any bill that large should be passed quickly, how can you even know what's in it and what it will really do without several months of dissection and debate. Nice to read a local

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