Thursday, February 21, 2013

Medical Billing Is Dreadful

Today I was reading an article on Time magazine about the byzantine way the medical billing functions in the 'greatest' nation on the planet.

It is beyond belief we do not have a set of laws to address the fact that any American hospital can charge any amount for any procedure/materials/medication as they see fit, using an arcane instrument called 'hospital chargemaster'.

We do have a law that dictates how much the government pays for procedures under Medicare and I think that this provision should be made universal. No medical bill for any given procedure can be higher than a Medicare bill. The bill will not undermine the value of healthcare and will afford most people access to any medical procedure without the fear of bankruptcy.

Another legal change should be made to stipulate that no medical bill can result in bankruptcy and, furthermore, can affect the credit score. All medical related bills should not even be reported on individual credit scores.

A 3rd legal change should force hospitals to post prices for each procedure online and on clearly visible spots at their intake rooms. Prices listed on these documents can only be changed, at the very most, twice a year, and only after a review by a Federal agency.

The 3 legislative provisions highlighted above have the potential to fundamentally alter the face of healthcare billing abuses in America.

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