Reference > Your Money or Your Life
Description :: Dan Frosch, The Nation, February 9, 2005
Yet another article about debt / bankruptcy because of medical payments. Universal healthcare is mentioned, but again, nobody seems to care about how we'll pay for ever-increasing (10% or more per year) medical costs.

A thought comes to mind: slavery. Doctors save or improve your life, and the charges imposed are so great you'll be paying for the service for the rest of your life. Hospitals cost a thousand or more dollars per night in this country; a small emergency can be enough to put you seriously in debt. With insurance, you're paying a protection fee, but not a terribly good one. Insurance companies are for-profit, and all they have to offer is an on-average lower cost to you than what you'd have at a hospital, though higher than the average cost they incur from your visit. (Insurance companies typically get 30% discounts, and might offer you a 15% discount on average. Do the math.) To make up the difference, hospitals charge even more; if you're uninsured, you can try to make a deal, but you'll likely wind up paying for the fact that insurance companies are making a profit. All in all, this is a special situation; this is a service people "can't do without", so any price is still "cheap". I would have thought that medical costs would only continue to increase until they had eaten up all of our "extra" money (everything but shelter and food) but based on the debt / bankruptcy rates, I'd say they've crossed that line and are continuing to rise.

This is a case where capitalism won't help us; you won't see competition to reduce prices, you won't see any of the normal benefits of a free-market society. Consider solutions to fit.

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Owned by Unordained - Created on 02/09/2005 - Last edited later the same day