2007/08/31

And how will you be financing your bypass?

Of all the scary health-care related stories I read this week, none was scarier than a seemingly unremarkable item in the NY Times Business section reporting on a new industry that provides financing for expensive medical procedures.

Now don't get me wrong, I want people to be able to get--not to mention afford--decent health care, and I suppose an interest-free loan for that quadruple bypass looks pretty good when your insurance company says, "Nuh-uh!". But...Jesus H on a gurney! Shouldn't we be concentrating on covering people's medical needs rather than concentrating on ways to shift more of the financial burden onto the sick?

This looks to me like just another way for hospitals and insurers to fatten their bottom lines, but one that has some pretty nasty long term consequences. Consider: An industry devoted to lending money to the sick (or to Paris Hilton for her next tummy tuck) will very quickly begin to demand profits for their efforts. Oh sure they'll agree to regulation, fixed margins and the like, but once there is a profit margin these latter-day loan sharks will seek creative to increase it...

...like...lobbying. Maybe lobbying insurers to broaden the guidelines for denying coverage. Maybe lobbying professional organizations to declare more procedures "experimental". But the greatest danger posed by a large medical lending industry is to proposals for universal coverage or a single-payer system. Because if there is anything this country does not need, it's yet another industry with a vested interest in seeing that Americans remain shackled to the current health-care/insurance/financing juggernaut.

11 Comments:

Loans instead of grants for college, loans instead of coverage for health care. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear there was some evil corporate conspiracy to line their own pockets at the expense of the citizenry. Good thing that isn't the case!
It's a mess isn't it? I see brochures in the docs office. So over the whole lot of them.
The Blog World Report Awards have been announced and you are a winner!
Randall... I guess we should refer to Bush's glorious vision as the 'Indebtedness Society'. 'Ownership Society' actually implies owning something.

Mary... And getting worse every day I fear.

Robert... Just checked it out, and I must say I shocked and honored! :-)
Well, we own a lot of rage. In fact, we're swimming in so much, glug, of, glug, it, glug gluglglglg........
Years ago when I was working on my Master's I found a statistic that said that for every doctor there were 96 people working peripherally in the health care industry - insurance, H.R. positions, labs, janitorial, etc. This was up from 20 back during WWII.

I wonder what it's at now that the costs have become impossible.
Randal... I know that I'm the owner of quite a lot of stress these days. ;-)

CV Rick... EEK! That's one sobering statistic. I bet if you looked at the European Union countries with single-payer systems, you'd find exactly that: A consolidation of jobs supporting the medical care provider. Madness.
Are you trying to convert USA to a socialist country? If so, you're a hippy communist!
Well, with the insurance industry approaching its blissful maturity, i.e., it only collects premiums and denies all reimbursement of legitimate claims, it's nice to see the new creative ways American capitalists are coming up with to exploit the "haven'ts" and "have lesses" in order to grow their PROFITS (the one word most likely for the inevitable downfall of capitalism).

But hey, we can set up Health Savings Accounts to help us with catastophic health problems insurance will deny us coverage for, we can get student loans and borrow a $100K+ or more to get us through college and a begin career up to our necks in debt, etc., etc. we can eventually declare bankruptcy too in which, thanks to banks and credit card cos., we must still pay our debts (encouraged) but never forgiven.

It's nice how our government ties endless responsibilities on we the people, yet in DC they're not accountable for anything. Great nation. Gotta love it.
Oh yah, meant to say Congrats! You were definitely my first HoF choice; Humor also.

Now, to go work on that bypass...

:-0-)
Are you trying to convert USA to a socialist country?

Romunov... Well let's not go overboard. I'd settle for a semi-socialist backwater as a starting point.

Dada... I think we need a new term for this. How about the "Indebtedness Industrial Complex"?

Michael... Hey thanks. I was particularly tickled by the "Top Dog" award. It's odd for me to think of myself as an "old timer" in the blog community.

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