Hospital care in America - the $10 cough drop

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We have the best* health care in the world!

(* The Dictionary of Capitalism®™ defines best as “most profitable”.)


Health care can’t be outsourced to India.


Strangely you don’t see incidents like this or all the other middlemen and parasites taking their cuts in other OECD countries’ hospitals. I wonder why…

Seriously, though, if you’re advocating for someone who’s in hospital bring as many supplies as you can and you’re allowed. And be ready to negotiate overcharges afterward by researching consumer prices against the hospital’s premium-price chargemaster list. If you take this issue of hospital charges in the U.S. seriously* the following (and very long) article is required reading:

[* make no mistake, sooner or later you will have to]


… until telepresence and drones/bots are slightly more advanced.

We’re right about the point in the post-hype cycle where telemedicine is becoming a real thing people use.


“India’s Hospitals Are Filling Up With Desperate Americans – Are deep-pocketed medical tourists the cause of, or solution to, India’s health care problems?”


When my brother-in-law was at the hospital during the birth of one of his kids, he had a headache and was offered a Tylenol by one of the nurses. On discharge he discovered it was on the bill for $300 or some other outrageous amount.


$6 for a soda at the movie theater, arguably closer to 30 cents in materials. So a 20X mark up is part of every day life.

Of course if we had single payer the hospitals would rip off the government instead of us, and eventually the government would get pissed off and fix it.


We willingly go to the movie theatre. We rarely willingly go to hospital.

Judging by the experiences of other OECD countries you can change “eventually” to “immediately.” The insane hospital chargemaster lists would be among the first things to go if this country came to its senses and went single-payer.


Won’t somebody think of the poor insurance companies?


Price gouging and overinflated costs are definitely part of the reason healthcare is so ridiculously exorbitant in the US.


I don’t think it would be handled any differently than how it’s handled by Medicare now. They would simply deny coverage for the not medically necessary cough drop and pass the cost on to you.


(When) Is this going to ever blow up?

US lobbies that fight universal healthcare are just adding pressure and will (won’t, actually) have to deal with a much more cataclysmic event in the future.

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I go through cough drops when I’m sick a lot faster than I go through sodas at a movie theater. And I know it is $6 when I buy that soda. If the nurse said, I’ll sell you a cough drop for $10, I could say yes, but I could also get a lyft to go to a drugstore, buy a bag, and deliver them to the hospital.


America’s health care is fucked up but this is not an example of that.

If you want to take a cough drop at a good price, do go to the drug store and get a bag. It’s an excellent way to get one.

Don’t come to the ER with your cough that’s like every other cough, engage the services of at least two nurses, a doctor, an X-ray tech, a radiologist, cleaning people, maintenance people etc to get your cough drop because it’s probably going to cost more than the bulk bag you get at the drug store.

Or do, because you’re concerned, but realize you’re not going to get stuff super cheap.


So, I’m supposed to show up with all the f’ing things I might need? Seriously? It IS an example of how f’d up US health care is.

We ARE being gouged.


It’s a symptom of it. With easier access to a GP (i.e. no private insurers adding more barriers) a person is less likely to use the ER in that way.

It’s not like all hospital visits are planned, either. This borked system is exactly why you need a strong advocate lined up in advance to fight for you as a patient (and, sadly, to go to the pharmacy and buy all those supplies).


I have to agree, not only is the individual packaging made in a clean room it’s a stronger cough drop than the bag of halls (based on a Walmart bag). So how cheap should be the pharmacist tech, clean room tech, and nursing staff labor be in the consideration? How about in San Francisco where pay is meant to be higher to balance the higher cost of living?

I’m not saying that a $9.93 tacked on is the right amount for San Francisco, or that a (normalized) cost of $6.13 added to the normal US price makes sense either. I just can’t tell you how much more it should cost than a bulk bag of weaker OTC medication off Amazon.


No the point is that you should not expect a cough drop at a bulk price when delivered to you by a medical staff. It’s a similar amount of work for me to give a cough drop as it is to give you blood pressure medication, a shot of morphine etc etc.

People are usually quite happy to pay a bar 10 for a shot of whiskey that they could get at home for .50.

You are being gouged, but this is a stupid example.

Hospitals are the most expensive ways to deliver medical care.

Also this whole subject is hugely complicated. But this remains a terrible example.

Also people come to the hospital for incredibly stupid shit. These are people who have primary care doctors. And access to insurance has not significantly reduced ER visits (which doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing).


Are you saying:
People go to the ER to get cough drops?
Cough drops in the ER should cost 10$ and be denied in any other hospital stay because they are too expensive?
This specific person got his 10$ cough drop in the ER? Source please.
That two nurses a doctor an x-ray tech and a radiologist were needed to diagnose a cough like any other?
How would a normal person even know to dismiss the cough without such a varied skill and tool set?

Are you a medical professional who is tired of seeing people come in to your ER?