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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Health care problems mount

  As we wait with breathless anticipation to see how Chief Justice John Roberts has decided to rewrite the Affordable Care Act Obamacare law to make it work, we are thrilled to learn that health care is still a mess.
  So it's not just that it's too expensive for twenty somethings, as detailed in this NY Post piece:
I’m teaching on a freelance basis. My husband is also a full-time freelancer, or a “perma-lance,” if you will. Our household income puts us just barely in the lower-middle-class bracket.
And we will end up paying top dollar to have any type of insurance.
So we’ve decided we’re just going to pay the Affordable Care Act’s individual-mandate penalty: 2 percent of household income or $325 per person, whichever is more (of course).
  Now, if you've been sick at all, you know what a mess health care is these days. It's not just slightly improved: it's worse since the politicians mucked it up, Democrats specifically.
  We've discussed previously that you have to be very careful which emergency room you choose; in fact, even if you are careful, you may end up with an ER doctor who isn't in your plan even though the hospital might be.
  Yesterday The Blade had an interesting article about other ER problems, including the "levels" which determine how much you'll be charged, depending on your malady. How comforting to find that ProMedica, which runs most of the hospital care in Northwest Ohio, is so expensive. I know I'm personally glad to know that if I can walk into an ER, my rate will be lower, notwithstanding the cost of an ambulance.
  Most disturbing is the disclosure that, hey, not everybody has bought insurance so you'll be glad that you'll be paying for them too, just like it always was. The Blade:
In addition to services rendered, the point system also builds in the cost of running an ER 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a week into the patient’s bill, she said. [SNIP]
The overhead costs that hospitals incur have to be part of the equation and built into the price because hospitals cannot turn anyone away, even those who cannot pay, said David Morlock, chief executive officer of UTMC. [SNIP]
There are no national standards or regulations around the levels that hospitals assign to ER visits, so each hospital system is free to create its own approach, he said.
UTMC, like most other medical centers in the country, follow guidelines established by the American College of Emergency Physicians to determine if an ER visit is Level 1 through 5.
  So, to quote a truly brilliant orator's truly "memorable speech", "don’t get sick and, if you do, die quickly."
  So, yeah. Alan Grayson is, unfortunately, right, just for the wrong reasons.

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