Bitter Pill


The rhetoric involved with the healthcare industry is decidedly vehement with regards to criticizing insurance companies.  The Time’s “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us” sheds light on the root causes of increasingly skyrocketing prices within the industry. Politicians and media heavily hype who is footing the bill for healthcare, and do not relay where the bill is coming from and why costs are so high in the first place. In order to discover why healthcare bills are, at times, egregiously high, you don’t have to look too far down the healthcare supply chain to figure out why.

I won’t cover every point made in the article, but I will cover some of the major ones. There are inflated prices and a lack of price transparency within non-profit health care facilities via outdated “Chargemaster” pricing schemes. Chargemasters are essentially master pricing books programmed into the health facilities computers. The Chargemasters have extraordinarily inflated prices, some prices are inflated over 400% of what the items actually cost to purchase. The Chargemasters have little basis in reality and patients are “nickeled and dimed” for every little thing. For instance, patients are charged inflated prices for simple overhead items such as surgical pens that are used to draw surgical lines on a patient, doctors gloves, paper pill dispensers, etc. Not only that, but over testing is a frequent occurrence within hospitals. While hospital administrators may claim that the tests are in the best interests of the patients and that the hospitals are preventing malpractice lawsuits, the majority of the time, many of the tests are excuses for profit hiking.

Although I believe it is a noble sentiment to provide healthcare to everyone in the United States, it was done in an incorrect manner under Obamacare. Insurance companies were painted as leeches sucking the money from people with little means and inability to pay insurance companies for their healthcare bills. In reality, there is a lack of price transparency along the entire healthcare supply chain, especially with regards to the outdated system of utilizing chargemasters for billing purposes in allegedly nonprofit healthcare organizations.

By attacking insurance companies, and implementing Obamacare into the system, premiums will skyrocket, which increasingly paints insurance companies in a negative light. Insurance companies are forced to increase premiums in order to stay afloat due to poorly implemented liberal legislation. Ultimately, as issues steadily grow within insurance company costs, the government, and voters, will inevitably believe the only solution to the problem is government-run healthcare. This is never what our founding fathers intended and never outlined in the constitution and is a violation of capitalism. Entire industries were not intended to be government-run which increases inefficiencies and expands stalemating bureaucracy.