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For many people in medical debt, a trip to the emergency room leads to the courtroom

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by studegator, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. studegator

    studegator Senior

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    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nati...e5ded6-b936-11e9-a091-6a96e67d9cce_story.html

    0So far this year, Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center has filed more than 1,100 lawsuits for unpaid bills in a rural corner of Southeast Missouri, where emergency medical care has become a standoff between hospitals and patients who are both going broke. Unpaid medical bills are the leading cause of personal debt and bankruptcy in the United States according to credit reports, and what’s happening in rural areas such as Butler County is a main reason why. Patients who visit rural emergency rooms in record numbers are defaulting on their bills at higher rates than ever before. Meanwhile, many of the nation’s 2,000 rural hospitals have begun to buckle under bad debt, with more than 100 closing in the past decade and hundreds more on the brink of insolvency as they fight to squeeze whatever money they’re owed from patients who don’t have it.
     
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  2. gatorknights

    gatorknights GC Hall of Fame

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    Great medical system we have here in the good old U S of A. If you aren't rich, you get sick, you go broke. Get really sick, pay your bill with the deed to your house. Or forfeit your retirement fund, assuming there is one. Meanwhile the execs get even more stinking filthy rich than they already are. Because, you know, they have to put food on their kid's table. The "free market" system does not work for certain human functions, and health "care" is not one of them. End of rant.
     
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  3. VAg8r1

    VAg8r1 GC Hall of Fame

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    If the US healthcare system could be summed up in one phrase it would be "your money or your life".
     
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  4. AgingGator

    AgingGator GC Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Alan Grayson.
     
  5. gator10010

    gator10010 GC Hall of Fame

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    The current health care system we have is not a "free market" system.
     
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  6. gator10010

    gator10010 GC Hall of Fame

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    From the article:

    "Many of them had insurance but still owed their co-pay or deductibles, which have tripled on average in the past decade across the United States."

    I wonder what has happened in healthcare in the last 10 years to make this happen????

    We know it wasn't the ACA. It can't possibly be Obamacare. The ACA was going to take care of everything.
     
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  7. gatorknights

    gatorknights GC Hall of Fame

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    You're not kidding, not much "free" about it. A friend of mine had to be rushed off to emergency, spent 3 days in the hospital, and got a bill for $54,000. No kidding. When Mrs. GK passed, the bills were steep and we had insurance. Which, of course, they cancelled effective of the date of death. It would have been nice if they had warned me.

    My advice to married folks, get life insurance on each other because your spouse dying is expensive these days.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  8. nolancarey

    nolancarey GC Hall of Fame

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    You're right. Customers have little ability to change plans and find a new provider. If customers want to change plans with any other form of insurance they are free to do so. Competition doesn't enter into the equation, because long ago the companies decided to treat healthcare like local monopolies. Not a free market.
     
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  9. WarDamnGator

    WarDamnGator GC Hall of Fame

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    Can't be right ... I was just an article problems with rural healthcare were only in Finland.
     
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  10. GatorFanCF

    GatorFanCF GC Hall of Fame

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    Posted above “Competition doesn't enter into the equation, because long ago the companies decided to treat healthcare like local monopolies. Not a free market.”

    Correct. “Long ago” in the 1940’s the Federal Government put a cap on wages trying to stem off inflation. See: 1942 Stabilization Act

    Companies began offering hospitalization as an employee benefit... the beginning of employer based healthcare and another example of the law of unintended consequences. The Federal Government was key in shaping this mess we have. Not a free market
     
  11. VAg8r1

    VAg8r1 GC Hall of Fame

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    Lets not forget that the Republicans in Congress did their best to ensure that the ACA would fail. "Little" Marco comes immediately to mind.
    How Republicans quietly sabotaged Obamacare long before Trump came into office
    Risk Corridors, or How Marco Rubio Broke Obamacare
     
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  12. homer

    homer GC Legend

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    There’s a way out if you are getting too old to take care of yourself, have serious health issues, or are terminally ill.

    Rob a bank and let the government take care of you at the big house.

    If released, do it again.
     
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  13. homer

    homer GC Legend

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  14. VAg8r1

    VAg8r1 GC Hall of Fame

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    One of the ironies with the ACA is that it was very similar to the 1993 Republican healthcare reform bill which was based on a Heritage Foundation paper.
    Summary Of A 1993 Republican Health Reform Plan
    The Heritage Foundation Paper
    Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans

    Looking at the conservative ‘heritage’ of some core ACA features

    If Mitt Romney was elected to the presidency in 2008 (let's not forget that he and McCain were neck and neck during most of the Republican primaries) we would most likely have had a version of the ACA only it would have been called Romneycare. Romney's Massachusetts healthcare reform legislation which preceded the ACA was almost identical to Obama's legislation. In fact both laws were largely drafted by Jonathan Gruber.
    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/articl...-jonathan-gruber-a-love-story-that-will-haunt
     
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  15. VAg8r1

    VAg8r1 GC Hall of Fame

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    Subsidies were cut to rural hospitals under the ACA based on the assumption that losses resulting from defaulted bills by uninsured patients would significantly decline as the result of expanded Medicaid. It never happened because Republican state legislatures elected to opt out of the expanded Medicaid provided under the ACA even though most of costs from expanding Medicaid would be absorbed by the Federal government.
    More Rural Hospitals Closing in States Refusing Medicaid Coverage Expansion

    Rural Hospitals in Greater Jeopardy in Non-Medicaid Expansion States

    In states that didn't expand Medicaid, hospital closures have spiked

    It isn't the ACA that is responsible for the closure of rural hospitals, it's Republican state legislatures that intentionally decided to opt out of the expanded Medicaid.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  16. GatorNorth

    GatorNorth Premium Member Premium Member

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    There couldn't be a bigger chasm between the financial healthcare system we have and the actual health care that we receive, particularly in metro areas

    Hospitals can't turn people away who need services, so they end up providing for them and then suing and chasing them into bankruptcy.

    Uninsured folks use the ER as a primary care physician, so 4 kids with sniffles and a virus infect the ER (literally) while true emergencies get into line.

    And those of us with any means whatsoever typically opt for an overpriced plan that gives us flexibility geographically and outside of a network in case something truly catastrophic happens, so we end up paying premiums of $12-15k a year for the privilege of matching that amount in a similar annual out of pocket cap insuring that, while we spend a ridiculous % of our pay on health care, we don't go broke if something tragic happens, like cancer or MS.

    It's unconscionable how WE THE PEOPLE have let special interests turn America on its side and suck it dry of capital that's turned around and put back into the system to divide us further.
     
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  17. nolancarey

    nolancarey GC Hall of Fame

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    That's a weird way to quote me. Sure, I agree that the government it's also at fault.
     
  18. gatorknights

    gatorknights GC Hall of Fame

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  19. homer

    homer GC Legend

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    Some states didn’t want to get locked into matching the federal funds. Funds that they weren’t sure they could afford. Oklahoma was one of them.

    Medicare expansion placed a lot of financial burdens on states, once those required matches occurred.

    Terrible system and a way to force states into the financial part of Obamacare.
     
  20. VAg8r1

    VAg8r1 GC Hall of Fame

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    Healthcare is just one example of our flawed system of campaign finance. We have the best politicians that money can buy and that's probably not going to change until the Constitution is amended to allow truly meaningful campaign finance reform.
     
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