Wednesday, July 1, 2020

BERNIE WAS RIGHT - Virus testing wildly varying prices proves why we need single payer

Such discrepancies arise from a fundamental fact about the American health care system: The government does not regulate health care prices.
Two Friends in Texas Were Tested for Coronavirus. One Bill Was $199. The Other? $6,408.. NYT - June 30, 2020
Obama care fixed none of this.
On a regular basis the NYT publishes an article on the testing fiasco and points out the reason is that the government doesn't set prices which is why our medical system costs double anywhere else. Yet the articles never nake the connection to the major issue in the Democratic debates - medicare for all - single payer. By not making that connection, the NYT is making an editorial decision to bury the lede.
these differences aren’t about quality. In all likelihood, the expensive M.R.I.s and the cheap M.R.I.s are done on the same machine. Instead, they reflect different insurers’ market clout. A large insurer with many members can demand lower prices, while small insurers have less negotiating leverage.
Because health prices in the United States are so opaque, some researchers have turned to their own medical bills to understand this type of price variation. Two health researchers who gave birth at the same hospital with the same insurance compared notes afterward. They found that one received a surprise $1,600 bill while the other one didn’t.
The difference? One woman happened to give birth while an out-of-network anesthesiologist was staffing the maternity ward; the other received her epidural from an in-network provider.
BERNIE WAS RIGHT!!!!!! I want to see this the next time there is an article like this - but don't hold your breath - the Dem Party Center wants to see this continue - along with Obama care which obviously did nothing to curb this yet they defend it to the max - yes, I mean Biden.

By the way - note how the cultural left is focused on taking down statues and also buries the lede. They should be marching for medicare for all and universal income. But more of that in future posts - examining the fault lines between the cultural and economic populist left.

It is so logical to support single payer - where we can reduce costs in half - that the only thing that makes sense in terms of Dem Central resistance is the money coming in from the health industrial complex. (The same with support for defense budget - military industrial complex money to Dems.) And by the way - our own union (AFT/UFT) also oppose single payer and line up perfectly with the Dem Party- and yes, on defense spending too. They can close schools and cut budgets but the AFT/UFT will NEVER call for moving money from defense to schools.

Here''s another recent article:
How can a simple coronavirus test cost $100 in one lab and 2,200 percent more in another? It comes back to a fundamental fact about the American health care system: The government does not regulate health care prices.
This tends to have two major outcomes that health policy experts have seen before, and are seeing again with coronavirus testing.

The first is high prices over all. Most medical care in the United States costs double or triple what it would in a peer country. An appendectomy, for example, costs $3,050 in Britain and $6,710 in New Zealand, two countries that regulate health prices. In the United States, the average price is $13,020.
The second outcome is huge price variation, as each doctor’s office and hospital sets its own charges for care. One 2012 study found that hospitals in California charge between $1,529 and $182,955 for uncomplicated appendectomies.
“It’s not unheard-of that one hospital can charge 100 times the price of another for the same thing,” said Dr. Renee Hsia, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and an author of the appendectomy study. “There is no other market I can think of where that happens except health care.”

There is little evidence that higher prices correlate with better care. What’s different about the more expensive providers is that they’ve set higher prices for their services.
But American patients will eventually bear the costs of these expensive tests in the form of higher insurance premiums. In some cases, they are paying for additional tests, for flu and other respiratory diseases, that doctors tack onto coronavirus orders. Those charges are not exempt from co-payments and can fall into a patient’s deductible.
Those kinds of bills could make patients wary of seeking care or testing in the future, which could enable the further spread of coronavirus. In an April poll, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that most Americans were worried they wouldn’t be able to afford coronavirus testing or treatment if they needed it.


  1. Yes, big government can provide the insurance while medicine can remain largely private. Medicare For All is SOCIALIZED INSURANCE not socialized medicine.


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