In 2019, when Americans were polled on the biggest problem facing America, the overwhelming response was affordable healthcare. With the ever-rising costs of health insurance, and the ensuing farce that was Obamacare, who can blame the American people for their concerns? Health insurance is wildly expensive, but have we ever considered why?
Americans and American politicians alike love to blast the healthcare insurance industry for their outrageous premiums. They prattle on about their policies toward existing conditions and what is or is not covered. They call these companies greedy, uncaring, and inhumane. All the while, we ignore the elephant in the room.
Healthcare is expensive.
Yes, good care and good doctors, techs, nurses, and assistants do indeed demand a higher pay scale. Yes, the space in a hospital is limited, and therefore, it commands a higher premium. Yes, a large, complexly integrated healthcare system using multiple technologically specific departments drives up the cost of care. I can understand the limitations hospitals have when it’s time to bill a patient. I can understand that proper care will not be cheap, nor do I expect it to be cheap. I do not, however, expect a relatively minor injury or illness to financially ruin an individual.
Insurance companies set their premiums based on the cost of care. Once a deductible is met, that company must then cover any costs above and beyond the deductible. Those costs typically aren’t even looked at by someone with health insurance. We marvel at the dollar amount, wonder why it’s so high, then pay the deductible and forget about it. Exactly as the hospitals planned. The insurance company is stuck with the bill, and premiums are driven higher every year, but that’s no matter to the hospital. If you need care, it’s probably an emergency situation, and you’re pretty much over the proverbial barrel.
I lived in Southwest Florida for over 20 years. The summers, although brutally hot, were beautiful. Endless sunshine, beautiful sunsets over the Gulf, fruity drinks at a beach bar. It’s a nice life if you can afford it. Summer brought a few other things too, though. High electric bills, oppressive heat, and hurricanes. Hurricanes caused massive swaths of damage across large areas of the state. Hurricanes that mandated the need to stock up on supplies. Candles, fuel, bottled water, nonperishable food, and many other precautionary purchases that Floridians learn to stockpile.
In the event of a hurricane, those that stockpiled necessary items were prepared for the days and weeks without power or drinkable water that are inevitable after a storm of that magnitude. Those that did not were left to search for these items after the storm had passed.
With trucking disrupted, roads inaccessible, and stockpilers dwindling available supplies, retailers holding onto those last few cases of bottled water found themselves in a good position. Demand drives up cost after all. Luckily for Floridians, the state frowns upon price gouging. They even went as far as to outlaw the practice.
Somehow, if I am injured and need medical care, my local hospital is free to charge whatever ridiculous price it wants to though. No politician or governing body steps in to stop this, either.
Need an example? Sure thing. Ever have a bag of IV solution administered to you in a hospital? I think most of us have at some point in our lives. IV fluids are used to ensure hydration and offer a convenient port to administer life-saving medication. They are a staple of the healthcare industry. They are also a staple scam for the healthcare industry.
Manufacturing a bag of saline solution, essentially salty water, is relatively cheap. The total cost per bag is typically under $2. That same bag on your hospital bill, however, will sometimes run you between $300 and $600. It’s the same bag, the same fluid, and the same packaging that the hospital paid under $5 for.
The difference was simple. You needed it at the moment of treatment. The laws that protect citizens from price gouging during a state of emergency do not apply to individual states of emergency.
Saline isn’t the only way they get you, either. How about a “Mucus Recovery System” for $8? It’s a box of off-brand tissues. How about a pair of non-sterile gloves, changed often and used by everyone you come in contact with?
Those can run $50 per pair used, despite their manufacturing cost is a tiny fraction of that number. Tylenol at $15 a pill. Alcohol swabs at $23 each. It’s no wonder insurance premiums are high. The hospitals are gouging us at every turn!
The country is screaming that it wants a better option for healthcare coverage, and the politicians are taking aim at insurance companies instead of the hospitals that are driving the costs to astronomical proportions.
As long as there is no regulation in hospitals and clinics across this country, there will be no relief from the insurance companies who are being gouged as much as the patients they serve to protect from financial ruin. That’s right, folks, we’re over the barrel, the insurance companies are over the barrel, the politicians don’t care, and the hospitals are making billions.
No amount of healthcare, free, discounted, or otherwise, will solve our problem until regulations are introduced to stop this madness. Obamacare and Bidencare are just a ruse. A distraction being used as America’s healthcare system coyly misdirects our attention to hide their greed.
Hey, look over there America, free healthcare!