Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Denninger Succinctly Explains Health Care Costs

Read Denninger's Ticker here

This is one of my personal gripes.  Had the government not gotten involved in health care, I would be able to retire.  I could pick up a catastrophic plan with a high deductible to protect my assets in case I get hit by a truck and can't tell the EMTs not to take me to the hospital.  As it is, because of the need to extract sufficient funds from Medicare and Medicaid, health care providers must drastically elevate costs, run unnecessary tests, track medical procedures, etc.  Additionally, providers must protect themselves from lawsuits by practicing defensive (expensive) medicine.

People have trouble understanding the problem.  In a word, the problem is Medicare.  It is going to bankrupt us, and it helps inflated the cost of medical services.  It is the concrete echo of, "We are from the government, and we are here to help you."  Whatever else Lyndon Johnson may have done, he should rot in hell for Medicare.

Denninger is correct that the only solution, ultimately, is to completely dismantle the existing system and rebuild it from the ground up.  There needs to be a movement in this country to remove governments from any involvement in paying for medical services.  Governments can establish their own hospitals, e.g., the VA, "county" hospitals, to provide service to special classes or to the indigent, but they should not be involved in the insurance business. 

Within the last couple of weeks, my wife was sent to the local ER by her primary physician as a result of extreme dehydration related to an existing chronic condition and some kind of acute viral infection.  She was in the "clinical decision unit" for several hours on an IV.  Known charges so far are over $4500.  I will end up paying a few hundred and the insurance company will probably pay no more than $1500.  But if I were uninsured, I would be stuck with the entire bill, excluding what I might be able to negotiate away, knowing what I do about the system.  


  1. Sorry to hear about your wife. Glad she is doing better.

    That article is something else! Yeah, the distortion of the prices by insurance and the Gummit striking deals is criminal.

    So, let me get this straight. In addition to paying X in taxes for Medicare, we also pay Y more for our health care because of Medicare.

    When I had my operation in November we were sweating trying to figure out how to make up the difference in what was in our HSA and the $10,000 limit based on the "prices" we were told. Turns out we only had to pay 1/2 of that because of the agreement between the Docs, hospital, and the insurance company. I'm thankful, but how do you to business without knowing the cost?

    This is gonna crash as well.

  2. I think you have it.

    A lot of problem is the kind of Frankenfascism that gets created when government pays the bill. Inevitably additional agencies are spawned to "control costs" or "assure equitable service" or whatever phrase they can come up with to get the legislatures to allocate funds to a new group.