The Real Reason Hospitals Are So Expensive

Sakerapedia - What could be the downside? Oh, there are a ton. For starters, how 'bout the fact that this place rips off folks  like you every day. Whatever. I know the hospital is expensive, but it is worth it if I get the best treatment.

The Real Reason Hospitals Are So Expensive



Video By truTV

No, it isn't. American health care is not the best in the world. But despite that, we spend more per person annually on health care than any other developed nation. And a big part of the reason for that is that American hospitals overcharge patients massively. This neck brace is worth $20. But the hospital charged him... $154. This I.V. bag cost less than a buck. But she was charged $137. These are real prices, folks.

Hold up. Wildly inflated health care costs? This sounds like the work of politicians to me. Was it Obamacare? Trump Aid, McConnell Med? What did you do?! I'm not a politician. I'm just a boring white guy. Why does this  keep happening?
The Real Reason Hospitals Are So Expensive
The Real Reason Hospitals Are So Expensive
Sorry, Rachel, but this time, it's not the politicians' fault. The problem starts with something called the "Chargemaster." The Chargemaster is a secret document full of insane prices that hospitals use to charge us whatever they want.

Let's go on a trip through the history of medical billing. Well, I'd rather not. A hundred years ago, hospital pricing was pretty simple. We take the cost of providing care and add a little on top to make a profit. One amputation costs us five bucks. So we'll charge you 6.50. But after the rise  of insurance companies, hospital billing got complicated, in part because these gigantic corporations demanded gigantic discounts.

We send you thousands of patients every day. So, we want... half off  all your prices. We can't afford that. So, to please these powerful insurance companies, hospitals cooked up a plan.

I've got it. We'll make up a really, high fake price, and then give you a discount off that. Hey, as long as I get to tell my boss we got it cheaper. And in less than a century, health care prices went from reasonable to nonsensical.
The Real Reason Hospitals Are So Expensive
The Real Reason Hospitals Are So Expensive
Let's make one Tylenol $37. Three stitches, $2200. Ooh, here's a pitch. What if we made rectal exams 69-- Nah, that's too silly even for me. These crazily inflated prices are kept in the hospital's Chargemaster. It's actually a computer file. But the book is more dramatic. $7 for a single alcohol swab? That's ridiculous. And true. Well, I only pay my premium. If they wanna rip off my insurance company with their fake prices, what do I care?


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If you ever lose insurance, you'll care. Because here's the really evil part. If you don't  have insurance, you actually get charged these fake prices. Let's see, heart X-rays. That'll be $33,000. I can't afford that. No problem, we'll just garnish your wages. Oh, bogus. Wait, they actually charge people without insurance fake prices?

Yeah. That is terrible. Well, thankfully, I have insurance, so the Chargemaster doesn't affect me. Unfortunately, it does. Even if you're insured, you can get billed Chargemaster prices if you go out-of-network. And anything can be out-of-network.

The hospital you go to, the equipment used to treat you. Even the doctors you see. Arrow specialist. Out-of-network, I am very expensive. Hospitals make a ton of money overcharging out-of-network patients. It's a real cash cow and we all get milked. Worse, every hospital   has its own Chargemaster.

A treatment that costs 7,000 at one hospital could cost a hundred grand down the road. And you can't comparison shop when you're dying. Which hospital do you want? Money Bags Medical or St. Vincent's Discount Sick House?

Money Bags it is. Plus, since your insurance company faces inflated costs, That can trickle down to you in the form of... higher premiums. Oh, surprisingly painless. Wait till you get the bill. How do they get away with this? Simple, the health care industry spends more on lobbying than the oil and defense industries combined.

Thanks, Doc. I'll take care of you real nice. Say, does this cyst look normal? Oh, God. So, how can I stop it? What do I do? Honestly, nothing. We need to go to the hospital, so they have no incentive to change how they do business. And politicians have spent decades arguing over how to pay the bill instead of asking why
the bill is so high?

Until they do, we're stuck with this system. God, what if I get fired and lose my insurance? I would be ruined! I feel so anxious. Rachel, the doctor will see you now. Down the hall and to your left. Well, then, if I'm gonna get ripped off, I might as well score some antibiotics.

I wanna be done with this cold, and those miracle drugs are worth whatever they cost. Even if it means the end of modern medicine? You are the worst person I have ever met, and I work in finance.