The Wrong Perscription
On the second page of the bill, the markups got bolder. Recchi was charged $13,702 for “1 RITUXIMAB INJ 660 MG.” That’s an injection of 660 mg of a cancer wonder drug called Rituxan. The average price paid by all hospitals for this dose is about $4,000, but MD Anderson probably gets a volume discount that would make its cost $3,000 to $3,500. That means the nonprofit cancer center’s paid-in-advance markup on Recchi’s lifesaving shot would be about 400%.
And Obamacare did NOTHING to help this.
What are the reasons, good or bad, that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab? Why should a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion bring a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college? What makes a single dose of even the most wonderful wonder drug cost thousands of dollars? Why does simple lab work done during a few days in a hospital cost more than a car? And what is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?
Why is EVERYTHING so expensive? Why did Obamacare only care about some shell game to “insure” all, while not doing a single thing to make health care services more affordable.
I’ve got a clue.
The health care industry seems to have the will and the means to keep it that way. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the pharmaceutical and health-care-product industries, combined with organizations representing doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, health services and HMOs, have spent $5.36 billion since 1998 on lobbying in Washington. That dwarfs the $1.53 billion spent by the defense and aerospace industries and the $1.3 billion spent by oil and gas interests over the same period. That’s right: the health-care-industrial complex spends more than three times what the military-industrial complex spends in Washington.
[T]the American health care market has transformed tax-exempt “nonprofit” hospitals into the towns’ most profitable businesses and largest employers, often presided over by the regions’ most richly compensated executives. And in our largest cities, the system offers lavish paychecks even to midlevel hospital managers, like the 14 administrators at New York City’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who are paid over $500,000 a year, including six who make over $1 million.
Who do we know who was an over-paid hospital administrator? OH! That’s RIGHT.
Michelle Obama had been working for the University of Chicago Hospital at a salary of $121,000 a year. But in 2005 after Barrack Obama was elected U.S. senator, Michelle got the promotion to Vice President of External Community Affairs, — a position that didn’t previously exist — and a $200,000 a year raise — to $316,000.
John Easton, a spokesman for the University of Chicago Hospital told the Chicago Tribune that Mrs. Obama was one of 16 other vice presidents at the non-profit hospital making a similar salary which was approximately $100,000 a year more than an anesthesiologist made.
And salaries like that, especially for a postiion as unneccesary as Michelle Obama’s helps to drive up the cost of medical care which in turn drives up the cost of insurance premiums people pay.
Follow the money. Count the administrators.