Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why Are American Hospitals Charging Up to $800 for a $1 Bag of Salt Water?

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Melissa Melton
Activist Post

Horror stories abound about hospitals charging people ridiculous sums of money in America for something as cheap and plentiful as an aspirin. This is nothing new, and it’s something that’s sadly just an accepted fact.

Just last month, this guy posted a bill for his appendectomy on Reddit and it went viral. Why?

Because he was charged a stomach-turning $55,000 for the relatively simple procedure — an amount that would’ve likely induced appendicitis if the guy hadn’t already had his appendix taken out.

Overpriced, much? Did that surgery come with foie gras and caviar afterward?

Two thoughts crossed my mind when I saw it: A) That’s insanely outlandish, and B) only in America could such an insanely outlandish thing even be possible.

I decided to do a little research to see if this was actually true. After all, approximately 70% of the surface of this planet is covered in water — 97% of which is of the salt variety. Are hospitals really charging Americans up to $800 for one of the most abundant resources on the planet and something that ultimately costs a whole buck to make?

Yes. As a matter of fact, it turns out they are.



Nina Bernstein of The New York Times went in search of the same thing a few months ago, and found that the average intravenous bag of sterile saltwater costs somewhere between 0.44¢ and a whole dollar to produce (based on government figures). Bernstein also noted:
Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution.
How can hospitals get away with charging $800 for a bag of saltwater and $25 for a single aspirin? My dad would call that “highway robbery” (like dads do).

Well, apparently it all has to do with our government’s jacked up reimbursement structure:
Public programs do not fully pay for the cost of care. The latest figures estimate that hospitals lose $35 billion a year on Medicare, Medicaid and other forms of government reimbursement. For specific procedures, the picture can be even bleaker.
Take note, because this money isn’t lost – you pay the difference. Unable to absorb these losses, the bill gets passed to commercial insurers and employers that purchase health plans for their employees. Hence the itemized charges of $25 for an aspirin or $100 for diapers that are paid by insurers today, and by you and me tomorrow in the form of higher premiums and co-pays. And it’s only going to get worse as our population ages and more of us call Medicare our insurance provider.
When CBS Sacramento asked the hospital mentioned earlier why it charged $55,000 for a simple appendectomy, they confirmed this to be the case:
[Sutter Health] pointed to California’s uninsured and those on Medi-Cal, saying:
“…we receive less than the actual cost of providing services from the majority of our patients while daily serving scores of other patients who have no ability to pay anything. Sutter Health agrees that an improved billing structure is needed..”
And apparently our big fat investment in America’s Big Pharma-dominated allopathic medical system ultimately gives us some pretty pathetic returns on actual health:
We get mediocre to poor results on life expectancy (26th place), infant mortality (31st), low birth weight (28th), maternal mortality (25th), you name it. It’s been true since the early 1980s, and we keep looking for solutions from within the health care sector itself. (source)
This has been true for decades and yet, we’re still looking for solutions within what is obviously a failed system? (Of course, now we’re in the process of being forced into that failed system via Obamacare.)

So despite spending 2.5 times more than any other country on healthcare per capita — an amount equivalent to 18% of our nation’s GDP — the U.S. is still sitting at 26th in overall life expectancy behind Slovenia…?

Great. Here’s to spending $799 on almost nothing, America!

Now you can see why a Bayer pharmaceuticals CEO would say his company doesn’t make cancer medicines for Indian markets (a developing nation that averages $132 per person spent on healthcare annually versus America’s $8,362), but for "Western patients who can afford them".

Uh huh.

Melissa Melton is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared, and a co-creator of Truthstream Media. Wake the flock up!



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20 comments:

Leslie said...

Why are they charging $800 for a $1 item? Simple. Because they can.

Anonymous said...

Well, only one action will reverse the perverse....revolt

Anonymous said...

I'm from New Zealand. In 1999 I split my chin after I slipped on fell hard on wet concrete. I was taken to A&E (accident and emergency) and it required 8 stitches to seal up the wound.

Total cost? $40 New Zealand (that's maybe around $25 US) at the time. I was profusely apologized to, because If I had my accident just an hour earlier I would have only been charged $25 ($15 US) because it switched to the 'after hours' staff.

I cannot BELIEVE how broken and corrupt U.S. medical care is, because otherwise so many other things in the U.S. are cheaper than most countries (food, clothing, electronics, cars, petroleum, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Other recent figures on Rabies Shots (for confirmed animal): Included four visits in January '14. Visit #1 totals include, 19K for serum, 1k for ER, 2K for misc, .5K for ER doc = 22.5K for First Visit Only. Blue Cross/ Blue Shield, who has no-bid state health benefit contract, has declined payment. Medical mafia anyone??

Anonymous said...

The failed system was designed for SLAVES like us. People depend on the so called “caring and trust” of Rockefeller’s allopathic doctors. No questions ask on the side effect of prescribed drugs. No hesitation to take it. What these zombies knows that by taking it, they will be cured. Uh huh.

In order for the Big Pharma’s profits and their EVIL agenda to continue on, man-made diseases should be created with the help of puppet stream media’s 365/24/7 days indoctrinating broadcasts.

As long as the dumbed populace accept it with both open arms. Well, the EVIL globalists and their puppets are laughing at us. HUGE RED SIGN, if they are pushing/changing something that for sure will benefit their EVIL agenda. ONE Government. ONE Party (Dems and Reps). ONE Mission: NWO

Can anybody here remember 9/11? Problem, Reaction and Solution (PRS)

Bring back curiosity into your Life! You’ll be glad you did!

World Citizen

Anonymous said...

Do not pay hospital bills fully when presented. Wait til they are in collections about 6-8 months and then suddenly the billers are more than willing to negotiate for hugely reduced amounts.
Long term strategy: Vote out any polititican who has any of the two party affiliations. Get real people, not psycopaths in our govt. And then reduce govt.

Anonymous said...

Bush gave full power to corporations, hospitals and big pharma, no restrictions

Anonymous said...

If patient got charge a $800.00 for one bag of Saline, one may wonder, how much they would charge him for one bag of Dextrose?????????
Well, my Dear Friends Americans, you got what you deserve, a stupid presidents taking care of ONLY for ONE FOREIGN COUNTRY instead of You.
And that Foreign Country is a real ruler of USA. Causa Finita.

Anonymous said...

well here's a story for ya all.

My wife and I were in a car accident (airbags deployed, ~35mph, broadsided a punk who turned in front of us). I was OK but my wife was stunned. Her legs hurt and her chest. She was taken to UC Davis Medical Center (Sacramento CA). She arrived at their ER at around 9:30pm. Throughout her entire 5 hour visit, she was kept in a hallway (no...they were not busy). Performed some x-rays, blood work and a cat scan. Sent home with motrin and a set of crutches. Doctor's could find much to talk to us about so they finally let us go at about 3:30am

After 3 weeks, I was wondering when the bills were going to show up. The insurance company wanted them. I called to ask about them, and this is what they told me....

It takes about 4 weeks to accumulate all the charges and to have the bill audited. Yeah, that's right....audited. Do you know what that means? What it means to an uninsured person is that they are investigating what resources/assets you have and they probability of success in taking those assets from you.

We were covered by car insurance only. So I asked the lady to give me the amount of the current bill so I could pass it on to the insurance company. Her response was....."right now the charges come to $36, 900...but that is expected to go up before the final bill is issued".

WOW! My wife had x-rays of her chest and lower legs. They talked her into a cat scan. Took some blood work for whatever reason. And that was that. Not sure if the bill includes the ambulance ride (no treatment or monitoring provided whatsoever), the fire department or CHP. Probably not.

$36,900. Isn't that amazing?? For what? A gurney in a hallway. Waiting patiently for some standard (now digitized) x-rays? labwork? No real treatment besides a motrin and crutches?

So I here from the car insurance company that hospital are able to overcharge the un- and under-insured by factors of 2 to 5 times the standard charges. I wonder what would happen if they walked into my shop and I recognized them, and decided to charge them triple for something they wanted real bad....just because they worked at a hospital.

Well you catch my drift. Hospital are now run by lawyers. Lawyers that are efficient in asset procurement. The State is the same way. So if I owned a house would they place a lien on it for the 37+K? How easy would it be for them to "steal" my fictitious house based on the trumped-up charges?

Its serious business. You see....they would prefer to have you dying and they would prefer to have all that you own. Because of course, they earned it afterall. They have the inside track. They have the system in their hands. They are the system. They can phuck with you anyway they choose...and they will still be deserving of all you have worked for. All of it. Just because they can.

So, phuck the system. The greedy little bastards at the top that reap others savings and hard work need to go....one way or another. This is utter nonsense. And I don't have the resources to fight them in their system. Thus, you can imagine the alternatives I'm left with....and you are left with.

Anonymous said...

Why are you paying $800 for salt water?
Because it's "freedom salt water", not that "socialized, communist salt water."

Anonymous said...

How much for a diagnostic test for pyschopathy? Is big pharma researching a drug to treat psycopathology? We can identify over 4000 diseases through DNA testing. A genetic diagnosis for psycopathogy, should be a goal for science to pursue in earnest.

Anonymous said...

Beacuse the insurance companies will pay... ???????

Save the Holy Headland said...

Relish the sweet fruits of the Capitalist System.

FunCoTech said...

Lol. To the annonomous talking about a test for psychopaths - that will never happen, after all half the top "elites" in business and government are full blown psychopaths. I really don't think they want THAT outed...
In fact such a test and USING IT, might just save civilisation.

Anonymous said...

My wife went in for a colonoscopy to a southern Illinois hospital. We received a bill for $6000.00 from the hospital and $800 from the doctor. I was stunned. I checked area hospitals and found the avg. cost to be $1100.00. The procedure lasted 45 minutes. There was a charge of $1100.00 for 'recovery room' time of one hour.

I crafted a letter, in which I indicated I spoke with two lawyers...one of whom wanted to bring suit for price gouging. I informed them I would pay no more than the mean average of six other area hospitals. I would be willing to fight it in court and get the press involved.

One day after getting my letter, the hospital called and dropped the entire bill to zero. No money owed...completely free.

If you call a bully out and threaten to make their (should be) criminal activities known to the world, they will cave...at least in my case they did, but it was one HELL of nice letter.

Anonymous said...

Two hours in the E. R. for eye pain after lazer surgery gave a bill of more than 7000.00 to medicare for the service. The whole time the staff seemed to be insisting on a respitory issue instead of the eye pain. ACA just handed these administrators cart blanche to continue their fiscal irresponsibility.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is not because of assistance that others are being outrageously charged, although they like to complain about it often. Doctors and hospitals over charge simply because they are greedy (just like they are overworked because they are greedy and limit the number of licensed medical professional). It is true that Medicaid only pays a portion of the charges (approximately 2/3 of the charges). However, it's not because others are making up the difference, it's because the gov't openly acknowledges that it's an outrageous scam and cut a deal so that the gov't isn't getting ripped off as much as the average Joe, instead of putting a stop to the scam. I'm sure there's some donations or something floating to keep the system in such a state. Taxpayer funds are going to cover the settlement amount, but you're not paying to make up the cost of equipment or anything. They're just scamming you because they can. Frankly, they scam those with Medicaid/Medicare by not trying since they are not being paid as much (so much for that oath they take, huh?), requiring separate appointments for every little thing so they can bill it as individual appointments etc; things that are totally overwhelming for those that are truly sick or disabled. Then they fight you for MONTHS on prior authorizations and then after you can't get that they don't want to cover the medication prescribed as a result of hoop jumping for specialists because of some asinine technical issues because they don't want to be bothered with something abnormal, like medication to increase blood pressure so I don't faint ( because who in this obese country needs medication to raise their blood pressure? Couldn't possibly be someone with serious health issues far beyond the average medical professionals understanding, much less an insurance jockey) But I digress...

Anonymous said...

The government is the reason. Forcing hospitals to give free health care to illegal immigrants and people who cannot pay raises rates for the ones who can pay. Get the government out of our business life and prices will drop.

Anonymous said...

Remove soy, excitotoxins, aspertame, and caffeine out of our food chain and watch what happens.

Anonymous said...

WOW! After reading these comments, I'm just amazed. It's everyone else's fault. Isn't that just so easy to say? Except for the one that blamed the Gov't., wake up. We as Americans want and expect everything perfect, oh, but for as little as possible. I think you should walk across our borders (Or fly) and see what type of care they will "Give" you. Oh, and don't forget to try and sue them later.
Has anyone looked at all the TV & other adds for law suits, or the disclaimers written on ALL products? Hell, you can't walk anymore for whatever reason, maybe a fault of your lifestyle, have a hip replaced and then in 5 years you find out the technology wasn't what you thought, so you sue because YOU made the wrong decision of walk in extreme pain, or try this new hip.
Or those evil Pharma people that develop a drug after years of research and it cost how much?! Most drugs are invented here. Yes generic drugs are sold for less, and some in other countries. Try getting that new drug somewhere else. Oh, that's right, we can sue them after it made our problem get better, then made your finger fall off.
Has anyone noticed or cared how over built hospitals are through OSHPD? They do that for the safety of you. I wonder if they build hospitals like that all over the world? No, in most places they don't.
Does everyone think that all of this is without consequence and for free? If you can develop these for free, then you should be doing it. Oh, that's right, you want to be paid.
Maybe we all just need to be responsible for our actions and the choices we make. Life is full of decisions and chances. Make them and go on with the life you are dealt. In short, if you want to blame someone, start blaming those people that sue for millions of dollars. Who pays for that? Wake up.
Also, for those that think our Gov't. should do more. The Gov't. needs to get the bleep out of our business. Our federal Gov't. has been over reaching it's constitutional power for 100 years, little by little with the past 60 or so years on steroids. You better wake up and start to know your rights and fight for them, because we have gone from a Republic, to an Oligarchy without you even knowing it. There are classes for the constitution even on You tube, or just pick it up and read it. Our Gov't. was never intended to be involved in our healthcare or so many other things. Please be informed, or you will lose the greatest country ever in this world. With knowledge, you can make it change back. Without it, there will be violence with another revolution, only this one will be much worse.

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