Why your aspirin costs $20 in the ED.

via Up to $49 billion unpaid by uninsured for hospitalizations – USATODAY.com.

On average, uninsured families can pay only about 12% of their hospital bills in full. Families with incomes above 400% of the poverty level, or about $88,000 a year for a family of four, pay about 37% of their hospital bills in full, according to the Department of Health and Human Services study.

Paul Winfree, a senior policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, disagreed, saying the study showed how Americans can exploit the system. “With ($88,000), families should be able to buy insurance,” he said. “They choose not to.”

Researchers also found that most uninsured people have “virtually no” savings and that about a third have no financial assets.

But I bet that most of them have cable T.V. and a smart phone.

Things like this frustrate me. When in Italy last week, I was asked at a dinner to try and explain the problem with american health care and why it was so expensive. I don’t even know where to begin. In medical school we’re made to be aware of the costs of certain tests,and to try and practice inexpensive medicine when possible. But dammit, we can’t be the only ones. Joe public has to meet us half way. Nothing pisses me off more than people trying to game the systems and not be at least minimally proactive in solving their own problems.

About ER Jedi

I’m a resident doctor in Emergency Medicine and I’ve learned during the past few years that 1) I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences 2) I have a very bad short-term memory. So this blog is just a place for me to write about some of these experiences, from the ER, medical school, the wards and life in general. At least that way I’ll have some idea as to where I’ve been all this time. A scrap-book of sorts, a place to vent, organize some clinical tools and post a few good songs I’ve heard along the way.

Posted on May 16, 2011, in Deep Thoughts, Health Care, Things that annoy me. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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