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Bills, Bills and more Bills

So remember when my baby boy ended up in the hospital (just before Christmas) because he was so dehydrated from throwing up?

We got the bill yesterday. It's one of those doozies that literally takes your breath away just seeing it.

Thankfully the insurance paid the majority of the bill. Still I have to wonder why on earth it cost so much!?

When I delivered the little tyke (2 years ago) it cost me less than this and there were two of us.

I will qualify this bill by saying it does have my Electrocardiogram on it, which cost about $1,700 (ouch), but that leaves $4200ish for an overnight stay with IV's for el bambino.

This would be the issue I have with our health care system... right here. The problem is that people who can barely afford to live still have to fork out extreme amounts of cash for medical services. The medical community ought to be seriously reprimanded for what I see as a callous disregard for the hardships of those they work with.

I mean what other industry do you go into that charges you when they fail to do what they say they are going to do. Yet you go into a hospital for something dire and then you kick the bucket and guess what? The hospital still charges your family.

"We're sorry we couldn't do what we're here to do, please accept our sympathies. Oh, and here's the bill for $5000."

So my baby goes into the hospital they stick a tube in his arm, then leave the room (returning a few hours later) and I'm charged to watch my baby in their room. $720.00 evidently. I just got charged $720 to sit in a room for 24 hours and watch TV. That's the most expensive hotel room I've ever stayed in and the services weren't even that great!

I'm really just ranting because I know people in far worse situations who owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and I just think it's wrong. I think it's wrong when you have to buy extra insurance to ensure coverage for cancer. I think it's wrong that you get charged for vaccinations that are required for your child to go to school. I think it's wrong to subject the down trodden to such things.

But like I said the insurance paid 99.9% of my bill so I really have nothing to complain about besides the near heart attack I recieved from just looking at the bill.

On a side note Ralexwin would like me to inform you that he was not half as nervous as I made him seem yesterday. In fact he was quite excited to be able to show off his genius in class and that it wasn't scary at all.

Have a great day everyone.


Jennifer said…
But, if you don't have to pay for the vaccine, who does? Should the doctor just absorb the cost of all the vaccinations? Or should the people who work at the facility where the vaccine is made work for free? Even the insurance company has to make enough money to pay their employees, which means they have to take in more insurance premiums than they pay out in claims.

It's the same with everything else. I don't know how the figure their profit, but even hospitals have overhead. When I worked as an estimator at a printer we always threw in a 20% markup. That wasn't overhead - that was just our profit. I don't know how hospitals estimate their charges, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that their markups are considerably less than the norm in business.

Honestly, I've always seen insurance as somewhat equivalent to gambling. They're betting I won't cost more than my premiums; I'm betting it'll be cheaper to pay the premiums than it will be to pay for my own medical care.
Dan and Kaz said…
I totally agree. I feel that for the most part I could do what the nurses do at home and just sitting here is costing me money that I don't have. Stupid hospitals - oh, and we just got offically denied for medicade, and ssi disablity is still being decided (5 months now,well 4 1/2.)
Cari Hislop said…
Jen's right of course, there is overhead...but seriously, I think the cost of health care in the West can be summed up in four words. Insurance and Pharmaceutical companies. Doctors and hospitals have to pay PHENOMINAL insurance because there are so many jerk-scum (can you tell how I feel?) who try to sue them for every slight mistake (ie get a large payout paid for by the rest of us.) Even those people with real grievances who sue - they are the reason everyone else pays through the nose. We all pay so a small percentage can win the sue-happy lottery...Oh and all the lawyer's bills (but you might have another viewpoint on them! :)

So doctors and hospitals all have a mind blowing insurance bill before they see a single patient. So what do they do? They charge the earth...charges that normal people couldn't afford unless the people have insurance because they can afford to pay insurance that they might not need. Doctors make a good living (it's a crap job they should)but that 6000$ bill...a lot of that is going back into the insurance company's bank account and they know it. As for "Pharmaceutical companies"...the two words could be interchanged with "greedy-***tards". These companies who claim to be doing good are evil. Do they invest large amounts of money into their products? Ofcourse, but have you ever thought about how much of that was public funded reasearch and or tax breaks?

These companies are powerful! They are interglobal monopolies who care about nothing, but making more money. They cost governments the earth (in England our so called free health care system which has a yearly bill that would really make you swoon. The amount of money the NHS (as well as all the other countries with Socialized medicine) pours into these companies' coffers is mind blowing! They have the magic pills and we want them. When I say they charge the earth...they really do charge the earth! Over here we have people with certain types of cancer who can cost the tax payers 3,000, 10,000, 20,000£ a month (or more) for a pill a day? I'm sorry...there's no way they can justify the costs. The amount of global recources that pours into these few giant Pharmateutical comapnies...I wouldn't be surprised if they really do own a large % of the earth! This is why we pay so a few can be rich on a global scale. We don't need socialized medicine...we just need to be able to go to the doctors knowing we'll be asked to pay a reasonable bill. This won't happen unless governments sort out the great Insurrance lottery/scam and the Pharmaceutical companies death vice.
cannwin said…
I completely agree that insurance companies go over the top. There used to be a time when I had a little more faith in them, but then my house flooded and I had to pay out $10k to fix it because the insurance company informed me that I wasn't covered the way I had thought I was. Now Ralexwin makes me deal with the insurance, I'm a PI when it comes to what I'm covered for and for how much and I still don't trust them further than I could throw them.

When the baby was born we forked out nearly $4k and we were supposed to be fully covered, but because we lived in a small town the coverage didn't "quite cover" what we thought it did, so after $400 a month for however long we'd been paying it we still got stuck with a heafty portion of the stupid bill.

It makes my blood boil.

Now I'm not saying I'm pro socialized medicine for everyone but I think that there ought to be coverage for children until adulthood (18 or whatever) and for the elderly. Well and for those in between with severe disabilities that would make it impossible for them to live without medical benefits. But as Ralexwin likes to point out every time we argue about this, "Where does it end?"

So where does it? When do we say you can't be covered.

Kazia I think your dear one should be covered, but if the government can say who can be covered then how far are they from being able to say who can be born.

You and the doctor's both knew that Kourtney would have some serious medical problems to the point where they tried to talk you out of having her... so what if the government had so much control over the medical care that they could say

"We know your baby is going to be born with disabilities that will cost the tax payer hundreds of thousands so we're giving you an ultimatum. Cover the cost yourself or don't have the baby."

I think I used to have faith that our government wouldn't do that either but then they tried to tack on (I don't even know if they succeeded) the contraception thing to this stimulus package and I start thinking... what are we China?

I don't think the government should have any, ANY say in how many children I have and in what state they are when they are born. And if giving them the ability to cover me medically means that I can only have 3 kids then I'm not for it.

So where is the fix all to the problem? I think Cari might have it, I've heard this argument before and I agree. (except with the lawyer part) ;)

Okay I have to go blog for today and your all distracting me.
Ivy said…
Ok I must comment. I agree with the pharmeceutical company comment. But I think there's something more to be considered than just that. Did you know that when the banks got bailed out they started refusing to short sale houses and just forclosed on the people without even trying to work with them. Obama is talking about putting coal mining to it's knees and the owners are saying, go ahead, we'll just lay off most of our work force, we still need to make a profit. When the car companies were looking to be bailed out they admitted that it didn't matter if they were, they would still be laying people off. Why did we even get in trouble with the real estate thing? It was every one on every level. People in this country take too much for granted. They think they DESERVE too much. The company my husband was laid off from had a new NCEO that we fired about (he worked there for a total of about 3 months) 2 weeks ago and given a $250,000 severence package. You have to know also that this was a mining co. No degrees required to run it, only experience working in mines. If you were that guy with that kind of money and you knew that it was your mistakes and the mistakes of your predecessors would you take you money and run? What happened to people helping each other. If i was the owner of some of these big box stores and I saw the condition of our economy, I would pay out of my own pocket to keep at least some of the stores going. Not just because there are a lot of people hurting but what happens to our country when there are no jobs and then what happens to my business when there are no jobs. I think the problem is on every level but i really have a hard time understanding those that have and don't give. I do not believe in hand outs, they are not good for anyone, but there are ways to see that you money is being put to good use.
Claire Wessel said…
Not my business or anything, but why don't you just let the state pay for all this medical stuff like the rest of the student parent population does? You can get free vaccinations for the kids at the WIC office and actually SD state law requires them to vaccinate your kids regardless of your ability to pay. There are a lot of ways to get the kids medical bills paid for at least, and they do pay 3 months retroactive as well. If you want to find out how we are all managing the good life in "artificial poverty", I'm pretty sure any of us would be happy to show ya the ropes. If you are just anti-state help on a libertarian high road or something, I guess all I can say is that I'm too broke to stand on principle but I admire your dedication.
cannwin said…
Claire- I hardly follow a 'higher road' if that's what you can call scrounging up every last penny to make ends meet and still being to proud to let the government help you. No, no, no. I can't afford that. We ran out of money in our change jar months ago around here and every penny matters more than it ever has in my entire life. Literally.

I'm just saying that there are people like my dear friend Kazia who make to much money to be covered by those government benefits that you and I are lucky enough to get and it hurts her.

It's called the working poor. The people who struggle day and night to just get by in our nation of uber-wealthy.

My husband says to me the other day-- how can I say there are poor people in this country when our poverty line is $30,000 a year?

He knows the stats as well as anyone... if you make more than $40k a year your in like the top 1% in the world.

I said what do you want them all to do? Move to Africa? Poverty is relative and in our nation we do a good job of forgetting that.

The rich seem to get richer and the poor stay poor.

Again my husband-- it's the great american dream to struggle for the better and succeed like in the Pursuit of Happyness.

Sure, but not everyone gets to do that... not everyone wants to try (and I say shame on anyone who willfully uses government aid) and there are those who simply can't. The problem is we seem to forget they exist.

Bravo Ivy, I totally agree. I love this new cap Obama has put on the how much a CEO can make a year if his company wants a bail out.

(he says they can't make more than $500k a year if they expect to get money from us)

That's right! that's the first thing that ought to go.

In England they had this huge issue with Heathrow Airport (it was a disaster...or maybe still is) and the big man got fired. So when the new guy comes around for his yearly bonus he wouldn't accept it. He said it would be wrong to do so.

Kudo's to him. Kudo's to anyone with the honor to acknowledge that they are on the top tier of life and there are millions below them struggling daily to pay bills and such.

I'm not so much for government hand outs in general, I agree with my husband that in an ideal society we would give to one another without restraint. But we obviously don't live in an ideal society so there needs to be some stepping in and "helping" of us give what we seem to have so much of.

That's my opinion for today at least.

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