Healthcare: Where our pain is their gain.

The costs are out of control. It’s really sad to watch our government propose legislation that would only make things worse. Although they call it healthcare reform, it’s really tax reform for the rich that is funded by making healthcare less accessible and more expensive for the poor and middle class.

When Nixon was president, he did his friend Kaiser a favor and made it legal to profit from healthcare. And so the massive Kaiser conglomerate was born. That ruling set off a spike in costs that continues to grow exponentially to this day. The problem is not, nor was it ever, Obamacare. The issue was always about money and how best to transfer it from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.

The current resident of the oval office was elected with the promise of better, cheaper healthcare for all. Now he’s trying to ram through a healthcare bill that will truly be the disaster he has always claimed Obamacare to be. All for the sake of a win. All so he can tell his base that he’s doing a great job for them.

My health insurance has always been through an employer. Every year premiums rose, deductibles increased, and coverage was reduced.

A specialist co-pay grew from $10 for a visit to the current $50 for a visit. Meanwhile, my premiums grew to $950 a month.
But, apparently, the co-pays listed in the plan document are as solid as trump’s promises.

My annual visit to my specialist is no longer considered a doctor’s appointment. It is now an out-patient visit. The difference is that they say I am being “admitted” when I check in at the desk instead of just plain old checking in. They also now provide me with a paper bracelet. (Easily removed.)

Everything else about the visit was the same as before. I waited for a bit, went into a room and waited some more until my doctor came in. We discussed my issues, she refilled my prescription and I made an appointment for next year.

I was charged the expected $50 for a specialist visit. But I was also charged an additional $192 for my use of the facilities. My insurance company claims they cannot stop the hospital from billing me. The hospital responded that people need to start thinking about the cost of the buildings where they receive their care. When I explained that I would like to dispute the charge, the hospital cheerfully told me I was free to do so, but that unpaid charges are automatically sent to collections whether they are being disputed or not.

The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t consider being charged an additional $192 for facilities use to be a violation of any truth in advertising or bait and switch laws. A call to my state attorney general confirmed that hospitals and insurance companies are allowed to make this charge by law.

It’s discouraging to see just how powerless patients are in the healthcare system. Providers are focused on profit maximization. The only protections we had were provided by the government. But now the government is openly working to take those away. All in the pursuit of transferring more wealth to the already rich and giving the president a desperately needed win at something. Even if it is something he promised he’d never do.

The faithful trump supporters will most likely continue to believe in him until the day they die, which our government hopes will be sooner rather than later.