Hashing out health care

Denver doctor presents concerns about cost, insurance

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Health Care in America: A Medical, Moral and Economic Crisis

  • Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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— Tom Bost, a highly specialized private practice physician from Denver, has a proposal:

"If I said you can have better coverage for less money, and never go bankrupt from it and never lose, what do you think? I think you'd say, 'Well, where do I sign up?'" Bost said, explaining his position in support of a single-payer universal health care system.

On Tuesday, Bost will present his view on health care at a public forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Routt County. The event is free and runs from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Yampa Valley Electric Association building on 10th Street.

Bost said he hopes to debunk some of the myths and misconceptions about the state of health care in Colorado and the United States, and talk about what works and what doesn't, how the U.S. measures up to other developed countries and where the money goes.

"People can form their own conclusions. I'm not sort of allowed or sanctioned to stand up on a political soapbox, but I think the prescription is pretty obvious as far as what ails us," Bost said, explaining his view that high costs in American health care come from excessive profit and overhead for pharmaceutical companies.

"I think the biggest misconception is that medicine is costly because of something intrinsic to health care itself," Bost said. "The real honest-to-god fact is that when you look at the money, when you follow the money, the reason that the U.S. spends twice as much as any other country is that 30 percent of our costs are in the form of profits for insurance companies and drug companies."

Real faces

Marda Frazer, a member of the League of Women Voters of Routt County, said the league has studied the health care issue for years and is concerned with affordability and the number of people who are uninsured or underinsured.

"We - as is everyone in the nation - are concerned with what's going on in health care in this country," Frazer said. She said the league is leaning toward supporting a single-payer system but would look at "anything that would be an improvement to the present system."

Bost said his answer to affordable, universal health care is a nonprofit system - a system he thinks will be in place within the next two years.

"I think that when middle-class Americans are losing their health care benefits and they're going bankrupt : these are people who are like you, whose employers have made them part-time instead of full-time so they don't get benefits. So you - person with a job - when you can't afford health care, when those are the people who not only vote, but also can't afford things. When those people show up to their congressperson's door and say, 'I am tired of you listening to that lobbyist, I want you to listen to me,' that's when things will happen," he said.

Bost said he is interested to see which health care issues come up at the intersection of a service industry and a rural economy, and he said he has become involved in grassroots political movement in spite of his own interests.

"I'm one of those highly paid specialists. If there's anybody that's going to get dinged in this system, it's probably me. But here I am," he said.

"This is real, these numbers and these faces are real. And, to me, it's just unconscionable that we have this system that neglects a third of the people in the United States. I'm coming at it from a social justice standpoint as much as anything else."

Comments

justathought 5 years, 9 months ago

coolerguy, I have found the exact opposite, the uninsured payers of cash get charged less than what the insurance company gets billed.

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bigdog 5 years, 9 months ago

Amen SilverSpoon, but that won't happen because it would be consider "racist". the politicians will pander to whomever to get elected, including non-citizens.

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coolerguy 5 years, 9 months ago

Good luck on this one. Why is the health care system one of the only trade that charges a premium to pay cash? If you go in to get something done and it is billed to an insurance company the charges are about half or less than what they are if you save the office the problem of billing the insurance company and wait for the payment by paying on the spot. This alone drives most of us into the insurance company. The medical system will not reward us for paying the bills in a prompt manner.

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bigdog 5 years, 9 months ago

single payer system = no competition = no accountability = long waits for bad service.

Sorry Tom, but making a "profit" is not a bad thing. It causes companies/people to innovate. While I agree that things could be better, having the government take over surly is not the answer.

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foxy 5 years, 9 months ago

bigdog, we already have waits, bad service, and no accountability with our present non-system. Try and get rid of an insurance company CEO. We can vote our members of Congress out.

We need the competition a single-payer system will bring. All doctors will have to compete for our business under such a system. Maybe then they will learn to think in terms of customer service.

Now, we don't have choice of providers. We are stuck with the ones who are on insurers' list of providers. The present competition between insurance companies is meaningless to the consumer. They all stink because they are in business to make a profit, nothing else. Making a profit and providing good health care are mutually exclusive.

As for innovation, we do not have a monopoly on it. Many of the large pharmaceutical companies with a presence in the US that are practically household names (think Bayer aspirin) are actually European. Also, it has been shown that more innovation occurs in areas where HMOs are less prevalent.

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SilverSpoon 5 years, 9 months ago

This is the ideal business plan for insurance companies looking to make a profit for share holders.

The patient does the following: Pays premiums co-pays for doctor visits co-pays for prescription gets sick and dies while claims get rejected

Removing the human element for profit should be criminal

Also, if healthcare becomes universal, it should only be for US citizens, non-citizens should get a free greyhound ticket to the country that they belong.

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80488mom 5 years, 9 months ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLJxmJZXgNI

Here's a video worth watching about the financial stress treating illegals brings. Herein lies the reason while health care is so expensive. I agree with Silver Spoon but unfortunately sending them home has proven difficult if nearly impossible for the hospital featured in this video.

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Joe_Mama 5 years, 9 months ago

Joe thinks before we head off down the "bashing the immigrants" road, we should consider what kind of health care the 475 million a day we are spending in Iraq would purchase for our citizens. As of now, Joe reads, 60% of all discretionary spending is for the military. And we're denying benefits to the elderly at a rate that grows every day.

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justathought 5 years, 9 months ago

That's right Joe, if we would just quit all discretionary military spending and let the illegal immigrants take over, none of us Americans would not have worry about our health care, we also wouldn't have to worry about being Americans for long either.

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coolerguy 5 years, 9 months ago

justathought--I have always had insurance, but with high deducts--i. e., $5,000 out of my pocket first. What i find is the price for something like burning off a wart is higher if you do not have insurance and want to pay cash. If the office bills the insurance it bills at the rate they agree to with the insurance company and it is lower than paying cash. Medical is the only industry I am aware of that works this way. Cash talks in all others.

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SilverSpoon 5 years, 9 months ago

Iraqi war spending is money we don't have anyway, it is borrowed from china.

I think my share of the current debt is $30,000+

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coolerguy 5 years, 9 months ago

justathought--another note about paying cash. Because of the amount I need to pay with the $5,000 out of my pocket first I have gone to the saw-bones and they charge my credit card an amount such as $125.00. About 2 weeks later I get a check from the saw-bones office for $45.00 because the insurance only will allow the charge of $80.00 for what they did.

Be much easier to post a price list of the amount they are willing to accept for the work they do and we get to pay it.

Even the gas stations are willing to accept a discount for cash because the credit card outfits charge so much to charge the credit care on the purchase--normally about 2 per cent.

If a normal item such as an eye exam runs $55.00 then what I find is it runs $90.00 if you are willing to pay cash. If you have insurance then the saw-bones bills the insurance company for the charge (and this involves another employee to do this) for the charge, then pisses and moans because the insurance outfit wants the item to be according to their standards of billing--takes 30 to 90 days to pay them--and then only pays them $55.00 because that is what they have on file with the insurance company and the saw-bones. In my case I know this because they send my a refund of the overcharge. Further, some of the info says they only collect on 80 percent of the billings to the insurance industry.

Cash talks with all industry except medical. Medical creates many of their own problems.

One last word--I am happy that the insurance company keeps the lid on the outrageous charges the medical industry could charge. They make a profit. That is American. Think about going naked without someone putting a lid on the saw-bones.

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kennickell 5 years, 8 months ago

It's time we ensure health and long-term financial security for all. That's why AARP is leading Divided We Fail, an initiative to give voice to millions of Americans who are tired of letting Washington gridlock stand in the way of affordable, quality health care and long-term financial security. Go to www.dividedwefail.org to learn more.

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