Have you had a family member spend any time in the hospital over the last few years? We have — three of the five members of our family have needed a surgical procedure done in that time.
Have you ever gotten an itemized statement from a hospital stay — whether it’s overnight or over a few nights — and seen what you were charged for, and how much you were charged? I have, and it’s staggering to say the least.
Steven Brill’s recent special report in Time Magazine, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” is a lengthy but necessary read as we look at the cost of health care in America and what that cost is doing to us as a nation. To put it in perspective …
“Taken as a whole, these powerful institutions and the bills they churn out dominate the nation’s economy and put demands on taxpayers to a degree unequaled anywhere else on earth. In the U.S., people spend almost 20% of the gross domestic product on health care, compared with about half that in most developed countries. Yet in every measurable way, the results our health care system produces are no better and often worse than the outcomes in those countries.
“According to one of a series of exhaustive studies done by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, we spend more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia. We may be shocked at the $60 billion price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy. We spent almost that much last week on health care. We spend more every year on artificial knees and hips than what Hollywood collects at the box office. We spend two or three times that much on durable medical devices like canes and wheelchairs, in part because a heavily lobbied Congress forces Medicare to pay 25% to 75% more for this equipment than it would cost at Walmart.”
- Bitter Pill: Inside TIME’s Cover Story on Medical Bills (healthland.time.com)
- Time Magazine highlights the unsustainable and unfair costs of medical care (pathologyblawg.com)
- Bitter Pill (ireport.cnn.com)
- Joanne Conroy, MD: Time’s Brill Persuasive but ‘Bitter Pill’ Misdiagnoses Health Care Ills (huffingtonpost.com)
- Is your wallet weeping from high health care costs? TIME’s Steven Brill explains in their new cover piece ‘Bitter Pill’ (startingpoint.blogs.cnn.com)
- Tonight on AC360: The extraordinary cost of getting sick in America (ac360.blogs.cnn.com)
- Mercy hospital included in Time story on high health care costs (stltoday.com)