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dxs's avatar

Is health care really a money game?

Asked by dxs (14495points) February 25th, 2014

The professor of my Obnoxious and Unfair Yet Somehow Mandatory Writing Class decided to use 1½ classes to lecture us on how the healthcare system scams people and a lot of the money goes to the hospital and CEOs. I was wondering how valid this was and if any of you have any personal experiences with it. If all of this is true, is there anything that could be done to change it?

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20 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Dear god what class is this for.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

~~All English Writing teachers must now be Economics Professors. ~~~

simone54's avatar

I know some doctors and a lot of nurses. I really believe that all the doctors and nurses out there are really trying to make a difference. The amount of sacrifices they make to be able to do it proves it.

However, the hospitals and ESPECIALLY the pharma companies are world class greedy a-holes.

dxs's avatar

Yeah I heard what @simone54 said. My professor said that they charge really high prices because they can since health is essential to life. Why aren’t there any laws against this? Is there any sense to this?
I might write a research paper on this, so this is why I want to gather information. I am currently biased, so I want to hear both sides of the story.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Look up the outrageous salaries paid to the CEOs of the insurance companies like Blue Cross and its many partners. Those hundreds of millions of dollars are not going to improve health care. They are going to pay for fuel for a yacht, or jewelry for a money grubbing girlfriend.

hearkat's avatar

I agree that the vast majority of health care workers – including most physicians – are genuinely trying to help, and most of us aren’t that well paid. I also agree that the ‘money game’ is happening at the corporate level – Insurance companies, Healthcare ‘Systems’, and Pharmaceutical corporations whose primary focus is pleasing their shareholders rather than helping the masses.

Cruiser's avatar

The big money goes to Big Pharma who invent prescription pills that are marginally effective by their own test results, most people could make do without, they then market the hell out of them, give incentives and kick-backs to doctors to prescribe them. The other evil doer is the lawyers who sue the $hit out of any Dr who screws up and the cost of insurance is now through the roof. And because of this fear of being sued, Dr.s are forced into covering their ass and will insist you see a specialist or two before making a diagnosis and offering treatment. What a few Tylenols and an ice pack would have solved 25 years ago now entails and MRI, radiologist review and a specialist to confirm you have a deep bruise. And like a few above me pointed out sky high crazy salaries for the higher ups across the medical profession. Torte and insurance reform is sorely needed….pun intended

JLeslie's avatar

Yes. The system is disgusting. I see doctors and hospitals double dip all the time. I know they do procedures that are unnecessary all the time. I know they sometimes charge quadruple and even more when insurance is paying. Sometimes it is the reverse and they charge a fortune to self payers, but I see that less often. It is like being in the zona rosa, no one buying knows the real prices the fees are so opaque. Last bill I had from an endocrinologist he overcharged me. His staff basically admitted it. My appointment should have been $60 if it was self pay. I used insurance. He didn’t use the level code for $60 instead the one that is just over $100. So already the level is wrong. My insurance paid him $120 and I was also billed $109. I started to fight it, but instead I paid it, felt raped, and will never go back to him. But, this is done ALL THE TIME.

My husband was charged over $2,000 for CT scans, his part was $1200. When I called to see how much self pay was it was between $550 and $750 depending on the diagnostic center. I had called because my CT in another state a few years before was $300. So, we pay more with our insurance. My girlfriend worked at a diagnostic center and she said they were not supposed to inform the patient when they could save money self pay. Sometimes the difference was three thousand dollars for a scan.

There are doctors and other people in the medical field who truly want to help people, most of them do I think, who went into medicine because they are interested in medicine. However, money can cloud things, especially for people at the top. The executives of hospitals are concerned with the bottom line, they are businessmen not caregivers. The people in the medical insurance industry are businessmen too.

I have wept from the lack of integrity in the system. Literally cried as I have felt taken advantage of and from the stress of trying to fight city hall sometimes. I don’t want to know that I have to deal with such a dishonest system, it hurts my soul. If you are in a system like an HMO you probably have no idea what things cost and how they are billed. Even in other insurance plans most people never ask what a procedure or appointment would be self pay. They have no idea, they just open their wallets and pay at the mercy of needing medical help. It also has made me a bit of a nervous wreck, because I always think I need to be wary of being robbed.

Strauss's avatar

The largest problem with the health care “system” here in the US is the profit motive. When “Saint” Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, it allowed previously not-for-profit insurance companies (usually mutual associations, or something similar) to operate on a for-profit motive. It all comes down to motive. When an health insurance company is a mutual company, it is owned by members, and its primary function is to provide healthcare to its members. When such a company is a corporation, its primary function is to provide profits for the shareholders, which can lead to major shareholders (including company execs) reaping huge benefits, even when profits drop!

dxs's avatar

I initially agreed with my professor, but I wanted to make sure that I was understanding the whole story. It’s a pretty basic understanding, though, that health is a human right. I see no validity in turning it into a profit. I think the government should take a stand on this. Thank you for the links and topic ideas. I might just chose to write about this.

JLeslie's avatar

Not everyone believes health is a human right. Many people feel you have to pay for your healthcare. Even if you believe that we should not let people get robbed by health care.

Did you see the Q about the hep C drug by Gilead? They will make billions in profit.

Berserker's avatar

I don’t know how related this example will be, but just today my roommate went to the clinic for her arm. She got there at six in the morning, and saw the doctor at 2PM. Meanwhile, people who came in after her paid 120$ to see the doctor earlier, so there was about 15 minutes waiting time for them. But since my roommate didn’t pay, she waited for ages.
Yeah, Canada has free health care, and it damn well better be for how shoddy it is.

cazzie's avatar

This question should be under the topic, ‘Only in America’. ..... I live in Norway and it was one of the first nations to have a socialised medical system, and it is brilliant.

Strauss's avatar

@Symbeline Once, a long time ago, a US Navy doctor told me one pays with money, or one pays with time.

Berserker's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Seems about right.

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Sinqer's avatar

I disagree with your professor, but to explain would require a rather in-depth economics/socialism lecture. A piece of writing you would loathe to read, I am thinking :)

dxs's avatar

@Singer I’m not quite sure if I’d understand it, but it certainly sounds interesting.

Sinqer's avatar

@dxs I’m sure you could understand it… the world is full of examples… alas, I have to use them to explain which is why I lecture so much lol

I have all the confidence in the world, though, that you would understand.

It’s like when those tv shows mix gasoline and water, dip a rag into it, and light it on fire to explain how the gas vapors are what burns (the rag doesn’t burn). The water keeps the rag cool and damp while the gas vapors burn. Simple examples to explain what might be confusing.

And understanding it makes all the difference in which way you lean on any given topic. But I know lectures are the suck too. :)

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