Man gets treated in hospital for infected knee - gets a bill for $618,967.78

It’s a vicious cycle that’s been rinsing and repeating at an accelerating pace ever since Ronald “deregulate all the things” Reagan. Both private insurance and health care providers are responsible for prices far exceeding inflation. Patients (or let’s be honest about how we’re viewed by both those parties - consumers) are caught in the middle with only two options: go bankrupt, or die.


Why not both?


Yes, some treatments are genuinely really expensive to provide, and some highly skilled labor genuinely should be really expensive. This is not generally the reason for high prices in US healthcare (though I know this is not uncontroversial). If it were, we wouldn’t have order-of-magnitude differences in prices between hospitals in the same city (or at the same hospital depending on who is paying). We wouldn’t have multiple-order-of-magnitude price spikes on old, established, generic medications.


Inelasticity of demand.

This is your healthcare on capitalism. The market solution is: if you’re rich, you get great care. If you’re not rich, then you go bankrupt. If you’re poor, you get to not live.


The $1K is for the tooth, it doesn’t say what the out of pocket amount is for the knee. But much more to the point, what a person pays out-of-pocket is in no way what they pay. Its what we pay on top of premiums which are calculated to make sure collectively we pay more than the insurance company is billed. So we all absolutely end up paying for the graft on $11K a night for room and board


Just this. Anyone who wants to do a deep dive on the topic of why costs are so high in comparison to other civilised countries should read this:

Take out the profit motive, put in a single-payer, and “magically” prices go down.


I could see $40 a week being a challenge, unless one mostly eats rice and beans, but $40 a day?!? I could have Starbucks frappuccinos with every meal and not spend that much. What in the hell is she eating?


It was a travelogue show. $40 a day eating at restaurants in an unfamiliar city while traveling isn’t ridiculous.


Okay. I assumed it was cooking on $40/day, which would be kinda nuts. $40/day for restaurants in a strange city is more of a challenge, but government employees traveling on a per diem are expected to do that.


That’s why regulation is important. The Canadian government doesn’t look at health care as a profit center, they require hospitals to show their work when they need to raise prices. Compare that against the whole “We raised prices on US medication and services because a) it gets paid and b) all the other major markets won’t let us because they regulate price increases”.

I just moved from Canada to the US, with a disabled partner with a degenerative disease. a very large percentage of the services being employed cost 5-10x more than their Canadian equivalents. That’s not because US labour is more expensive than Canadian Labour. That’s literally profit-taking because insurance is paying.

What you are describing is opposite-land. Canadian prices are lower because the various parts of the process can’t profit-take and charge arbitrary amounts. That is what “fuss about the actual cost” looks like.


$40 a week is easy for one person. Buy vegetables and fruits in-season. Buy cheap cuts of meat or none at all. Don’t buy processed shit. Stick to staples like flour, corn meal, rice, dry beans, bulk foods. Make your meals, don’t rely on the industry. Buy a few things that are economical, like dry pastas, condiments, some cheese, various fats and oils. I would allocate about $10 of the 40 to things that are more long term investments than 1 week, so that I build up my stockpile of ingredients. I’ve done this for years, but I am off topic now.


I would never advocate nor commit violence against any human being. But I have no compunctions about the notion of maiming or executing corporations, such as those providing what the U.S. insultingly calls “health care.”


[quote=“OrangeTide, post:15, topic:152973”]
That’s not really true. We have evidence that we’ve lived in villages and cities from prehistory.[/quote]
Jerwin’s statment that cities have been population sinks are true for at least some cities where we have statistics. So why did people move to cities? Well, not everyone could inherit the farm, younger children might be better off in cities than landless. And life as an adult might be decent, as long as you avoided diseases. It’s just that not enough children were born (or survived) to balance the population.

There are similar graveyards for other species. Places that seem good to live in, but for one reason or another doesn’t allow enough succesful reproduction.

$5.71 a day for food is stretching the budget a fair bit. You can get by on rice, noodles, potatoes, and beans, but even fresh veggies start to hit your budget pretty hard at that point, especially if that includes travel costs to and from the grocery store, cooking fuel, and taxes.

Definitely not impossible, but challenging.


That’s right. It costs less to pay for Healthcare through taxes because it’s not a system for profit. Opponents hear that they have to pay more for in taxes and that sometimes you pay a lot for other people’s health care.

They don’t consider that the alternative is to pay for insurance, where profit is made, which is used to pay for private healthcare, where profit is made again. It’s much more expensive for everyone in involved to make rich people richer.

Even Canada lags behind other countries when it comes to our school system, where post secondary schools are still for profit. The board of directors at my University was mostly bankers, and only 2 faculty members. Guess what the school’s priorities are.


We are way off topic, but I like thinking about this kind of stuff.

I was talking about food budget only, not fuel, transport, taxes, cookware, etc. Just shelling out the bills at the grocery counter for the foodstuffs.

No one eats $5 worth of potatoes a day. 10 lbs of potatoes is currently $3.84 at walmart. That would easily last me a week. Maybe two weeks.

Veggies are reasonable if you buy lots of greens, and then some of the others, instead of mostly the others and only some greens. Also, careful with the expensive fruits.

Obv Organic food could blow out this measly $40 budget every week without even trying!

I still maintain that $40 a week on food is doable. $20 would be hard. $30 is probably doable also, but it would turn into carb city. I need a little variety.

$50 a week: no problem. That would be like a splurge if all I were doing was feeding myself. I’d get a pack of steak, or a chicken, maybe some fish, a six-pack of beer and go to town on the bbq on the weekend. Might even bake cookies.

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And I never bought into it. I don’t accept the validity of it.

It doesn’t seem unlikely to me that cities with poor sanitation (most cities until the modern era, and still some today) would be incubators for infectious disease. Much easier to spread disease around when people are packed tightly together. Modern sanitation should greatly reduce (but not eliminate!) this effect.


Right, but the hospital provides a discounted rate to the insurance companies, so I am not sure any of us can ever understand what money actually changed hands.

Plus, three months later, there will be another round of bills - food & linen service (distinct from room & board).

I remember having to pay $200 for (in my mind) a shot. ANd then I got a $200 bill. Didn’t I pay that? No, that was for the doctor’s appointment, this is for medicine. And then another for the x-ray or whatever it was that guided the doctor as he got the needle where it needed to go.

Doesn’t do any good for my blood pressure.


I suddenly feel vastly more sympathy for the guard who used to be an adventurer before he took an arrow in the knee. Poor guy will never be paid off…