HEALTHCARE: The Gooferment should NOT be involved in “health”, “health care”, or “health care insurance”

Stossel: Hospital bureaucracy is toxic for patients. Here’s my solution
By John Stossel  Published May 13, 2016

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But Goldhill points to one favorable trend. “Increasingly, people have high deductible (insurance) plans … (I)t’s the most promising thing in health care.”

Many patients hate high deductibles. But they are useful because they make us realize that care is not “free.”
Patients with high deductibles and Health Savings Accounts ask important questions: “Doc, do I really need that test? What does it cost?” They shop around.

Suddenly, there’s the beginning of an actual market. When patients shop, doctors strive to please patients rather than distant bureaucrats. More doctors give out their email addresses and cellphone numbers, and shorten waiting times. Their bills are easier to read because the providers want customers to pay them!

Government and insurance companies don’t make health care free. Such third-party payments just hide the cost, which increases the costs and makes payment more complicated.

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I’ve had really close contact with hospitals twice in my life where I was NOT the patient but the Patient Advocate. (Or PIA!)

The system is a mess.

I’m aware of one case involving my OLD friend where to break a log jam I volunteered to drive a blood sample from Charlotte to Chicago because the first one they took spoiled due to the delay in transport.

(Have to admit my OLD friend reported shocked look on the docs faces when he told them what he wanted to do. Magically the “problem” was “solved”. I knew that would be the response since I had a similar response at one point in my deceased wife’s care where I threatened — at 3PM in the afternoon — to take her out on the hospital driveway, draw a blood sample (I was a credentialed EMT at the time), and have it delivered by limo / escorted by a relative to the appropriate lab in NY. After they put their eyes back in the sockets, “magic” happened and the test was completed by the next morning! Never underestimate the value of a crazy PIA patient advocate.)

The disconnect between the “golden rule” (“he who has the gold makes the rules”) and good medical care is so obvious that only a fool would not make the connection.


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One Response to HEALTHCARE: The Gooferment should NOT be involved in “health”, “health care”, or “health care insurance”

  1. When I had an internally dissected right subclavian artery replaced after my bicycle had an accident (Not me, mind you: it was the bicycle! Unfortunately I happened to be on it at the time!) I was in the hospital for about a week. At several points I asked to see my patient records (There was a poster up somewhere in the corridor about “Patients’ Rights” and one of those rights was to see your records.)

    They hemmed and hawed and passed the buck at least a half dozen times…. and suddenly it was checkout time and I had to sign the cute little form saying I was fine ‘n dandy ‘n headin’ home.


    Not until I saw those records! They tried bluster, then they tried promises, then they tried legal-hockey (“We can’t just give them to a patient because the patient might damage or steal them.”) Nope. No dice. They could assign a nurse to sit with me while I went through them.

    They finally appeared, along with two reps from some sort of hospital management AND a security guard. Soooo… I thanked them nicely, sat down with my sis-in-law who was picking me up, and started to READ them! There were roughly 150 pages in those records, and I took my time. After about 20 minutes of them all standing there (along with the addition of the nurse on duty AND the nurse manager on duty — a total of five staffers watching me read — they said, “Look, we’re really really busy here. This is taking too long!”

    So, polite little Catholic lad that I am, I apologized and asked if they had a copy machine where I could simply make a copy and take it home with me. Well, that was against protocol it seemed, but they said that if there were certain pages I wanted, THEY could make a copy and mail it to me for $1.50/page.

    I apologized again, noted that I was really really sorry I was tying them all up because they hadn’t let me see them earlier when I’d asked, but noted I was a poor activist type fella who did NOT have $200 to spend simply because they had screwed up.

    Another few minutes of reading go by and the admin types huddle and suddenly pronounce that they will make a copy and send it to me for FREE in a week! (There’s MY story of hospital “magic”!)

    The delay raised a flag though: *why* would it take a week to make copies I wondered. Was there something perhaps in there that they might try to fiddle with? Or a page or three that might be removed? Well, I couldn’t guarantee against such a thing, but I *did* openly have both my SIL and myself carefully and openly count the number of pages before handing them back.

    They did indeed arrive in a week, and there were no problems that I noticed. I was pretty happy with my care actually… just pissed about them not letting me see the records that I supposedly had a right to see!

    Michael J. McFadden
    Peace Studies, 1973

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