Okay, Mrs. Bignuf back again. Indeed, we in healthcare understand what is going on, but even some very intelligent people outside the field don't understand the facts, since the press rarely covers it in a clear way.
Let's make this a clear example. Above, it was noted that an aspirin "retails for 30 cents a unit". Okay, that sounds great. Everyone seems cool with the fact that CVS or Walgreens sells an aspirin that actually costs 2 cents to make, but is selling for 30 cents is fair. Why? Because they understand it has to be packed, shipped, stocked, and everyone along the chain makes money, including the CVS or Walgreens and they have to pay their employees, and their store expenses, etc.
Are we all on the same page here?
Let's also agree that if it were not for shoplifting...which we can all pretty much agree is bad, as people are stealing stuff they didn't pay for, and the rest of us have to pay, then that aspirin tablet might only cost 26 cents a unit, but we all seem okay to pay that extra bit to cover those who walk out with a pill bottle in their pocket.
Okay, but let's consider some other "scenario". Forget an illegal shoplifter. Let's say the CVS or Walgreens has to GIVE AWAY aspirin tablets to every person who walks in the door and says they can't pay for one! But wait...those folks are sicker then many and so needs lots and lots of aspirin's free. How much would aspirin cost for those of us paying then? Oh wait, it turns out the people walking into the CVS or Walgreens and saying "we cannot pay" are also getting free Band-Aids, and free dressings and ointment and chips and drinks, and yes, all the necessities of healthcare and life that can be found in that drugstore. (Kind of like what happens in a hospital...eh?) But wait, a number of other shoppers walk in and say "we are not asking for things free, we have insurance and pay our bills" and walk out with their bag of good, feeling great about life. Except what you don't know is that the insurance has paid CVS or Walgreens only 5 cents for this 30 cent aspirin and made them wait two months to get paid for it, after having an army of people filling out forms. Oh, it gets better, because the "insured" customer is also getting a $3 Band-Aid box, but the insurance is only paying CVS or Walgreens 85 cents for it.
Are you starting to get the idea?
Now, YOU, lucky you, the paying customer...paying cash, walks into that CVS or Walgreens. How much do you think they HAVE to charge you for an aspirin now, to keep the doors open, to pay their bills and to keep medicine on the shelves? You would be lucky if it was "only" $60.
Oh wait, as a customer of that CVS or Walgreens, you also demand that they keep a few multi-million dollar machines to test blood pressure or vision, in the back of the store. Only a few people may need those tests, and sure, they may not even have insurance, but by gosh, you demand that those ferociously expensive device "must" be there, along with experts to run them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week...because, you never know when it may be YOU, who needs them. Right? So...how does CVS or Walgreens pay for those devices and people? Oh yes, they MUST raise the price for those few people who actually pay for an aspirin or Band-Aid. Now, when an Aspirin tablet costs $100, do you understand why?
It is because in no other field, in no other industry, in no other endeavor you can name, can anyone walk in the door, and not only "expect", but legally and cordially receive, every service available, regardless if they can pay or not. Can you walk into your local car dealership, say "I am poor, so I am driving out with a new Lexus for free today"? However, you can be poor and go into a hospital, ring up a multi million dollar ICU bill and never pay a penny. It happens every day in the USA. Period. Same as the millions of less dramatic bills rung up.
Can you walk into the car dealership and say "I have a CAR POLICY", so I am driving out with a new $75,000 Lexus, but the "policy" is only going to pay the dealer $6,000?
All this is exactly how hospitals and health care now work in this country.
I am NOT saying poor people should not get healthcare or that we shouldn't give all the best care to every patient. I am not saying that insurance isn't good or any such thing. I am saying that by looking at your hospital bill and seeing a $60 aspirin tablet and thinking some doctor is walking out laughing, with $59 dollars in his or her pocket is to totally and completely fail to understand the complexity and reality of the situation.
Now, I really posted this thread to speak about some cool, transparent toys, and how it became a hot topic of health care costs is so far beyond my comprehension I cannot begin to express it.
Let's get back to the FUN STUFF and if you want to discuss serious issues of health care costs, then perhaps it is best done with a lot of study into the details and maybe on a different forum??