The Hidden Costs of ObamaCare – by Floyd and Mary Beth Brown


costs

How much is this going to cost? This is a simple and reasonable question to ask before signing a document stating that you are responsible and will pay any amount not covered by your medical insurance when having a procedure done. Try asking it the next time you have an x-ray (or any other procedure.) A family member of ours did recently when he was experiencing back pain, and when registering, asked the woman working at the radiology company how much an x-ray of the back cost. The x-ray was ordered by his doctor. The woman said she couldn’t tell him the price because it varied and the rate was going to be worked out later with his insurance company. “Can’t you give me a rough idea how much an x-ray of the back costs?” he said. “Isn’t there a set rate for each procedure that I can see?” “No,” she said, “there is no way of knowing the price right now. I’m sorry.”

Just imagine having any other service or purchasing a product and being told you couldn’t know the cost beforehand, although you are required to blindly sign a legally binding contract saying you will pay whatever they later decide to charge you. That’s unethical and ridiculous you’d say. Well, welcome to the American health care system.

Not letting a consumer know the price before a service is performed would not be allowed in any other business except health care. This is a major reason the system and its escalating costs are out of control and so high. Medicare patients are charged one amount, Medicaid another and each private insurance company and individual policies are charged yet another rate for the very same procedure.

As an expert in antitrust and healthcare, Professor Clark Havighurst of Duke University Law School often speaks of restoring the “price tags” to health care. In The Wall Street Journal, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. wrote regarding Havighurst’s theory: “Now that’s a concept that the public could actually make sense of.”

“The public is not as dumb as it’s made out to be,” says Jenkins. After the public options died in the Senate Finance Committee, Jenkins claims, “What’s left is a package of ‘reforms’ that are mere trite extensions of what we’ve been doing for decades… piling up mandates on private insurers and then lying that this somehow isn’t driving up the cost of health insurance,” and “piling up subsidies for health consumption and then lying that this isn’t responsible for runaway health-care spending.”

The proposal to amend the anti-trust McCarran-Fergusson Act, Professor Havighurst says, leads to no improvement because at the end of bill, it “declares that state regulators would retain authority to engage in ‘information gathering and rate setting.’” It boils down to simple common sense. Havighurst wrote in a 2006 Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, “[F]ew things are more foreseeable that that a trade or profession empowered to regulate itself will produce anticompetitive regulations.”

Let’s just follow common sense. Allow health care to act according to the free market, like most other businesses.

Obama should been forthright in sharing with Americans how resources would be allocated if not by price. The left’s single-payer system still won’t allow consumers to have pricing information so some other mechanism will be used to ration care. A common sense approach would require all healthcare providers to post charges in the waiting room. But instead of putting the price tags on health care so consumers could decide instead, Obamacare complicates and adds new layers to an overly complex and monopolistic system. Obama has botched an opportunity for real progress.

President Obama, don’t under estimate the American public. We’re not dummies; we like to use common sense in making decisions for ourselves. Free the marketplace — don’t increase regulations.

  • Robert Wargas

    How dare you want to know the cost? That's racist!

  • sflbib

    Re: “A common sense approach would require all healthcare providers to post charges in the waiting room.”

    Ha! Fat chance. I was asked to sign a statement recently that I had read and understood the patient's Privacy Statement posted in the doctor's office waiting room. Looking around, I could not locate any such statement.

  • Joe

    I have chosen to have no insurance. I recently needed to get an x-ray of my right foot. I DID ask how much it was going to cost, especially since I am paying the whole thing. They DID tell me the cost, though there was a small hiccup with it, which is another story. In any event, I knew beforehand what the price of it was. So, perhaps it is more of a case of where you are in the country, rather than just a problem with a monolithic “system”. But, my body, my decision. If it had been too expensive, I wouldn't have gotten the x-ray. Works for me…..

  • MizPris

    Joe. And that's your right. That is, unless this administration get's it's way. My husband and I don't have dental insurance since he retired. We chose not to. So, we pay our dental bills. Wow, what a novel idea!!

    Interestingly, the dentist lowers his charges a bit for us. Not because we can't pay it, but because he doesn't have to deal with an insurance co, and it saves him on forms and paperwork.

    If we have expensive work done he'll accept monthly payments on the bill, if we prefer or find it necessary.

    I point this out because the argument made that we subsidize people who don't have insurance, is bogus. You'd think no one out there ever paid a bill. Well, we pay for the insurance don't we? Why can't we pay the doctor? Or dentist? Years ago, and I'm old enough to remember, as a kid my parents were billed directly, and IMO, if it were still thus, most of us would pay for it and the charges would be competetive. You could have a lot of office visits for what you pay for insurance.

    What most of us need is high deductible insurance in the event of a catastrophic disease or condition.

    But, it seems we've been in this system for so long, we've forgotten how to look out for ourselves. We are now forced to have medical insurance because the very existence of insurance has driven up costs all the way around, epecially the cost of the insurance itself.

    It has also driven up costs for doctors, in that they now have to employ people to do nothing but deal with insurance bookwork and the company which supplies it. Medical malpractice insurance has given patients the idea that they can sue for anything and everything, as though it's free money. That cost is passed on to us.

    As for the government, what this administration wants is power, and is happy to get it on the backs of seniors and anyone who's sick. My children and grandchild will pay for this in spades, and they will not get their money's worth.

    It's all a shell game for the powerful who can't get enough power, they'll always want more, like an addict, enough is never enough!

  • bubba4

    Like many anti-reform arguments, this would make more sense if all of our industrialized allies didn't have public options and in some cases single-payer health care. It works and it's not nearly expensive as the non-system we have now.

  • bubba4

    “It has also driven up costs for doctors, in that they now have to employ people to do nothing but deal with insurance bookwork and the company which supplies it. Medical malpractice insurance has given patients the idea that they can sue for anything and everything, as though it's free money. That cost is passed on to us.”

    So you're an advicate of single payer health care? That would elliminate a lot of waste.

  • MizPris

    bubba, why in the world would I trade a private insurance co, as bureaucratic as it is, to the biggest bureaucratic nightmare of all? How does it make sense to think that a single payer government insurance, insuring 300,000,000 people would be sustainable let alone, competent.

    Just this morning the government (HHS), announced they can't get enough H1N1 vaccine to the people in time for many to avoid catching the flu.

    That's just one aspect they had to deal with, and can't do it.

    Now, back to government healthcare. Cost effectiveness means rationing. In other words, if you're sick, and say, seventy five, or a baby, it could be interpreted as in either or both cases, the risk of failure is too high to be cost effective, and care in those cases could be denied.

    There are not enough doctors now, and if government healthcare passes, those who can afford to retire are likely to do so. Consider those ramifications.

    Finally, the last place you want, to have control and power over your life, is the government. If this passes, you will no longer be free. It's as simple as that.

    Ask yourself why this administration is fighting so hard for this control when the people don't want it. Why? Do you think it's because they care so much about you? Your health? If they did, they'd just allow you to deduct your medical costs from your taxes, right?

    As it stands now, you can get a tax break on medical costs over 7 1/2 % of your income. But, guess what? They plan to raise that to medical costs over 10 % of your income, which means you have to absorb 10% or 2 1/2 % more of your medical cost instead of 7 1/2 %, before that tax break kicks in.

    But, I know bubba, they really care don't they. Ummm no! They want control. Power. They want to make you believe they know better than you, what's good for you, even though you can talk to your doctor and find that out from him or her whom surely you trust more than some faceless bureaucrat.

    When you already know that medicare is broke, medicaid is broke, and social security is broke, why in the world would you trust the government when they say they'll cut costs when any fool knows from experience and example, it's not sustainable or possible. But more than that you will not be free to decide your own fate.

    All the new taxes, mandates, and fines included in the healthcare bills, will begin next year even though the healthcare plan is not to go into effect until after 2013. Wow, how about that? It would begin after the 2012 election!! I'll be damned, what a shock.

    bubba, I have a copy of the bureaucratic chart which came out with the House bill. Do you really think waste will be cut? If it can be cut, why aren't they doing it now? I count 58 depts. and or agencies, and the Executive branch and Congress.

    Maybe it's seniors who are the “waste”. Maybe sickly newborns are the “waste”. Maybe certain kinds if cancer treatments are the “waste”. You know, people who are “expendable” because they cost too much. And we're all reduced to numbers. That's real compassion huh?

    So I ask you again bubba, why do the President and his followers want this so much. Why? I know why, do you?

  • seattlebruce

    “It works”
    ++++++++++++

    This is a highly dubious assumption. This is not what many, perhaps majorities in places like Germany, England and Canada say.

  • seattlebruce

    “Like many anti-reform arguments”
    ++++++++++++++

    Like many pro-socialist medicine commentaries, this phraseology is a pile of guilt tripping hypocritical hooey! I'm against the Obama, Baucus and socialist medicine 'reforms' becuase they're horrible ideas and have been proven inept in real world experiments in Canada, England, Germany and Poland, et al, but I'm certainly NOT against reform. So please don't say that I (and others like me in the majority of this nation) are with your little generalizations.

  • bubba4

    “bubba, why in the world would I trade a private insurance co, as bureaucratic as it is, to the biggest bureaucratic nightmare of all? How does it make sense to think that a single payer government insurance, insuring 300,000,000 people would be sustainable let alone, competent.”

    Gee…I don't know Priz…maybe because that what's some of our allies have done (like Britian) and it's worked just fine.

    “Just this morning the government (HHS), announced they can't get enough H1N1 vaccine to the people in time for many to avoid catching the flu.”

    Well…you should, if you want the vaccine, see if you can get it. Then if you can't because of shortages, you can complain that the government can't do anything right. If you do get, you can tell the nurse when she is done injecting you or squirting you in the nose, “thanks you commie bitch”.

    I could see some of these doom and gloom arguments if we were the first industrialized nation to dare to try something so “crazy”…but we're not…we're the last one who hasn't done shit about this common problem of modern society.

    “Ask yourself why this administration is fighting so hard for this control when the people don't want it. Why? Do you think it's because they care so much about you? Your health? If they did, they'd just allow you to deduct your medical costs from your taxes, right? “

    Well whether “people” “want it” is a matter of conjecture. People show “polls” that go whatever way they paid to have it go. The administration has to do something about health care. The costs aren't going to stop going up. You think the insurance companies are going to make LESS money in the future…they can't…they have to grow and make money for their shareholders.

    Look you can be afraid of reform and support those that want to water down anhy public option so it will naturally fail. That's your option….but this crazy idea that Obama is trying to control your life is nonsense. There are lots of people who make a lot of money off America's sickness and they will fit (with money) to keep things the way they are…which is fucked up. The only way they can get you to accept it and to fight reform is to scare you about it.

    “So I ask you again bubba, why do the President and his followers want this so much. Why? I know why, do you?”

    I think this is a horrible mischaracterization of what's going on to start. If you think Obama is a marxist sleeper agent who wants to destroy America then why bother talking about policy?

  • bubba4

    Really? Have you ever been to these countries? Has your ass ever been out of the Best Country in the World?

    Maybe you give to much credence to the bullshit you read on FPM and elsewhere.