Times Magazine - Article Summary - Bitter Pill Essay

804 Words4 Pages
The High Cost of Care-Bitter Pill
By Steven Brill


Steven Brill feels that American health care is eating away at our economy and our treasury and discusses the costs associated with the provision of health care services in the U.S.. The article explores the medical world through the medical expenses incurred by a 64-year-old Janice S., Sean Recchi, A 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio and several other egregiously billed patients. The article poses the question: why exactly are the medical bills so high; in particular hospital bills?
The U.S. spends more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia. 10 of the 20 occupations
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As it relates to the textbook, this describes some of the scope of the hospitals; which refers to the range of activities which the firm performs internally, the breadth of its product and service offerings, the extent of its geographic market and its mix of businesses. But unlike with the electric company, no regulator caps hospital profits. To the extent that author Steven Brill found any consistency among hospital charge-master practices, this is one of them: hospitals routinely seem to charge 2V2 times what expensive implantable devices cost them, which produces that 150% profit margin.
Besides, studies delving into the economics of the medical marketplace consistently find that a moderately higher or lower price doesn't change consumer purchasing decisions much, if at all, because in health care there is little of the price sensitivity found in conventional marketplaces, even on the rare occasion that patients know the cost in advance. Most hospital administrators defend such chargemaster rates at all, they maintain that they are just starting points for a negotiation. But patients don't typically know they are in a negotiation when they enter the hospital, nor do hospitals let them know that.
Millions of insurance plans have annual payout limits, though the more typical plans purchased by employers usually set those limits at $500,000 or $750,000 -- which can also quickly be consumed by a catastrophic illness.
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