The bizarre calculus of emergency room charges

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Banjo, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Banjo


  2. Wow. I really hope Americans sort their health care mess out.

    Big and awesome country. Just war obsessed and messed up politicians sleeping with giant corporations.
  3. sprstpd


    I had a shoulder MRI performed and I paid cash instead of using my high deductible health insurance plan. The difference in price was $400 (cash) vs $1,000 (high deductible insurance). Now if I see the doctor for anything but a checkup, I ask about prices with and without insurance. It's a complete joke.
  4. Bob111


    it may work until something really serious. i prefer to have coverage from my wife work. we are paying 400 a month(pre tax) for me and my son(wife covered by company). $35 copay for ER, $5 for any doctor and $10 for drugs. i'm not complaining. :p
  5. "This is the kind of insanity that exists when medicine and medical insurance are about private profit rather than public health"

    "Public health" is only relevant when you are talking about something like a communicable disease. If some guy has cancer or breaks his leg or gets diabetes and has to take out a second mortgage on his house to pay for his treatment, well, that sucks for him and I wish him well, but that isn't "public health" per se, in the sense that it impacts anyone outside of that person's social circle.

    So, yeah, it sucks to be one of those unlucky people who go bankrupt because of medical costs, but it's better that some unlucky people go bankrupt than that the entire country go bankrupt with some sort of single payer health care financing. I have no problem knowing that the doctor I see is profiting from my visit. I'm glad he's profiting because that gives me confidence that he will still be around the next time I need to see him. I can't believe that some members of the human race are so stupid as to not understand that.
  6. sprstpd


    You need to reread the point of the article, namely that there is no transparency in pricing in the medical industry. If people would know in advance what they were being charged, they could shop around more carefully. This would benefit everyone in the long run and keep prices down.
  7. It's called an "emergency room" for a reason. People can't "shop around" if shopping around means the difference between living and dying. For other modalities of health care delivery, yes, shopping around can reduce costs.

    Obviously, the morons who go to the emergency room for a stomachache should be charged whatever the hospital can possibly get from them.

    My post was more oriented toward the article author's assumption, as encapsulated in the quote I pulled, that somehow private profit was a bad thing in health care, whereas I think that private profit is a good thing in health care (and almost everywhere else).
  8. The industry has not been allowed to freely grow to meet demand. We have a medical school shortage and a doctor shortage, which have both been engineered by special interests and their allies in government. Prices are distorted because of third party payment and unnecessary and over-regulated insurance. Consumers should be hunting around for the best prices for treatment, and paying in cash up front or over time. This will drive down prices. Insurance is for accidents that are unlikely to happen and will have an indefinite cost. It is not for covering 'everything,' it is not a prepayment plan, and as evidenced by these high prices, it doesn't work well this way at all.

    Price issues are almost always solved with economic growth, innovation, and competition, not government intervention. Does anyone worry about the price of microwaves? cellphones? A haircut? chicken nuggets? Tech support? no. Because the economy has grown and these things are in high supply and are affordable. Yet healthcare, where the government is deeply involved, is always a growing problem that never gets fixed.
  9. Patients could plan in advance where they'd prefer to be treated. Also if we allowed proper competition among hospitals, there'd be more choices for the ambulance driver. Different hospitals will have different strengths and weaknesses and prices. And competition will smooth out the prices. If one hospital charged an outrageous amount for one accident victim, people would hear about it and no longer go to that hospital, for example.
  10. "How can you trust a business that bills you $1,288 but is happy to collect $682.64?"


    Somewhere in those numbers is probably a tax write off or someone is selling a tax loss to offset income somewhere.
    #10     Mar 31, 2012