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Health costs getting out of hand

To the Editor,

President Trump’s character flaws are so blatantly obvious they don’t need enumeration. He is a loose cannon that I wouldn’t be surprised doesn’t last a full term. However, he was elected by a tide of frustration that he identified with and promised to address. And I believe there is a part of him that sincerely wants to make this country better. Yet, there is the danger he will replace the Democratic swamp with a Republican one. Reigning in agencies’ exuberances and laws that went too far is good, but gutting laws and regulations to give capitalists a free handed, open season is not, and will only increase voter flight from both major parties.

A major frustration of many in this country is the insane rise in healthcare cost that Obama’s affordable health care initiative not only failed miserably to address, but served to exacerbate. Hospital costs and premium escalations are now out of control.

In 1985, my family of four paid $2,000 a year for a good health care policy from a nationally reputable insurer. We had a $300 deductible. Today, one is lucky to pay $1,000 a month with a $5,000 deductible for their family. What other consumer product or service has increased six-fold over the last three decades?

Former non-profit hospitals are now becoming for-profit institutions run by outside professional management groups who seem to be experts at managing to inflate costs at a reckless record. Go to the emergency room or have an out-patient procedure requiring an operating room and anesthesia and if you were not there for a cardiac arrest, you will be after receiving the hospital’s bills!

It is interesting the hospital charged me $68,000 for an ablation, but settled for $14,000 from Medicare, plus my co-pay. That is 20 cents on the dollar! Since the baby boom generation is now the Medicare boom generation, hospitals cannot survive economically without Medicare patients and so accept what Medicare deems appropriate. So how can a hospital take an 80 percent hit on its Medicare patients? They absorb such a large discount because they wildly inflate their prices to pressure Medicare and private insurers to continually increase reimbursements and also to accumulate paper losses to avoid taxes. Thus healthcare premiums continue to sky rocket and outpace all other inflation indexes.

Healthcare is the next big bubble, that when it bursts, will decimate the healthcare industry and devastate millions of Americans now dependant on Medicare. Since hospitals are buying up private physician practices, there are fewer and fewer independents left. So when the bottom falls out, those doctors’ practices will go down with the hospitals.

And then what will we have?

Blaise Hogan

Weirton

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