Sunday, April 5, 2020

Crisis Socialism

From the Trump Administration, a really great idea:
The Trump administration will use a federal stimulus package to pay hospitals that treat uninsured people with the new coronavirus as long as they agree not to bill the patients or issue unexpected charges.

….A 1918-like pandemic would cause U.S. hospitals to absorb a net loss of $3.9 billion, or an average $784,592 per hospital, according to a 2007 report in the Journal of Health Care Finance that called on policy makers to consider contingencies to ensure hospitals don’t become insolvent as a result of a severe pandemic.
Here we have, in a crisis, the germ of a national health care system: the government paying hospitals a fixed price for services and requiring them to jettison all the tricks they use to raise revenue. This is absolutely essential for any national health care scheme; lots of countries have private insurance, but almost all have prices fixed by the government. And usually those prices are not detailed at the level of so much for a test or an aspirin but a simple flat fee for treatment of a disease, or for days in a hospital. Another key thing in getting people to support such schemes is that they are easy for the patient, just like this will be.

All it took to get the US there was a pandemic that may kill a million people.


Shadow said...

What gets me is the price of the procedure versus what the provider (doctor, hospital, etc) and insurance carrier contractually agree to. I've seen prices in the thousands of dollars reduced to hundreds on the invoice my insurance company sends me. So, I might get an invoice that says something like this:

Provider's Price

Price provider agreed to charge contractually

What insurance carrier paid

What you owe the provider

I suspect the poor soul who doesn't have insurance owes the full 1,275.00, and that's what goes to a collection agency and then bankruptcy court if he or she can't pay. (Not sure what actually happens.) Something wrong with that.

Unknown said...

crucial, however, is that healthcare must not-for-profit, unlike most of the current US system.

G. Verloren said...


Yes, the poor soul who doesn't have insurance owes the full $1,275.

That said, while it sometimes goes to collections and bankruptcy court, it sometimes doesn't even make it that far. In certain cases, if you can't pay the full amount up front, you simply don't get treated.