After several years of "sound bytes" regarding health care in America, a comprehensive, well-written article is now available to help us, the consumers, gain a better understanding about why health care is so expensive.
If you have not yet seen the March 4 edition of Time magazine, please get yourself a copy. Read the article, "Bitter Pill--Why Medical Bills are Killing Us," and then begin your letter-writing campaign to anyone and everyone who may be able to help fix this egregious situation. By learning about the true costs of medical care and the obscene profits being made by the not-for-profit hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies, etc., you will at least feel that you can speak intelligently about the problem.
Although our politicians (financially influenced by the powerful health care lobbying machine) try to tell us that we should leave our health care industry alone and let it operate in the free market, the article explains why the health care industry does not operate in a free market. As in the town where I live (Logan), there are no (or too few) choices other than the one available hospital in a community. This makes it a
"seller's market"--not a free market where there is competition--and the consumer can readily be overcharged for all health care services provided.
In the article, you will read about the ubiquitous "Chargemaster"----a document used by all hospitals (although not uniform in any way) to determine the cost of everything from the $1.50 Tylenol tablet to the $4,000-plus for some brand of cancer drug. Learn more about the huge difference in health care costs between the U.S. and other developed countries, particularly in the cost of drugs.
I could go on and on, but I think the best option for us, the consumers, is just what I'm doing: read the article and then act in whatever way you believe will get your voice heard. Perhaps together we can make a difference in fixing a broken health care system and eventually receive the services we all need at a cost we can all afford.