Medical Inflation

I keep hearing how one-sixth of our economy is devoted to health care and can’t help wondering how much the hospitals are to blame.

A year or so ago I found myself in the hospital because we erroneously thought that I had suffered a heart attack. I was kept there for a few days and underwent a chest X-ray, a CAT scan, and a stress test on a treadmill with some radioactive material injected into my veins.

I was eventually transferred to another hospital where a cardiologist performed a heart catheterization and determined that there was nothing wrong with my heart.

A week or so later I received a bill from the first hospital. When I went to settle up, I learned that my insurance company had paid $1,200 and I was expected to pay $250. The total bill was around $20,000.

I asked about the difference (more than $18,000) and was told the hospital would write it off as a bad debt.

Now, multiply that amount times the number of people who pass through the many hospitals throughout the country.

If the hospital knew between me and my insurance the most they could hope for was less than fifteen hundred dollars, why inflate the bill? If the hospitals are routinely inflating their prices to create bogus bad debts simply to avoid paying taxes, I would think this practice is a large part of the health care costs problem.

I would think this would greatly upset politicians – those hospitals are taking away tax dollars that could be spent on ear marks!

On top of all this, consider those poor souls without insurance. They’re expected to pay the entire inflated amount. No why has no one mentioned anything about this?


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