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Robert Winner

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Comparing hospital bills

I just finished reading a article in the Phoenix Republic that said private hospitals charge more that US Government Tribal Hospitals. It stated that a joint replacement cost $30,259 at Tucson Medical Center or $15,527 at Tuba City Regional Health Care. On the surface I would agree that 2X the charge appears to be a rip off. The private hospital has hospital charges, doctors fees, and other costs .... the tribal hospital is funded by the taxpayers, the doctors on salary, and all medications provided at no cost. The funding to the BIA is in the trillions of dollars. If I were to do the math, the cost to the taxpayers to operate tribal hospitals exceed private hospital fees.

The government pays $1 for every $4 charged in the expenses to patients 65 and over on medicade. So to level the playing field the charges are in excess to receive the minimum. If my cost was $100 I would charge $400 to break even.

The BIA system can only take those with a BIA card ... private hospital must by law take all patients into emergency treatment. This is used by illegals and those with no capability to pay. Thus those who can pay and have insurance make up the difference for those who receive services and never pay. There is no free lunch ... someone pays the bills for those who get "free services".

So the debate is: Is there really a difference in billing or is it illusionary? If the tax called Obamacare is implemented will the costs be different or will the cost remain hidden as they are now with the taxpayer carrying a heavier load under a more restrictive system?

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    May 17 2013: I pay $1200 a year medical levy out of my pre-tax income. If you take that as an average (I am about half way through my working life) I will have payed about 50 grand in the 40 years I woked by the time I retire. This is to cover all my medical expenses. Of course if I go to my grave without major medical issues I will have got nothing for my 50 grand except peace of mind, knowing that if I get hit by a car on the way to work I won't have to sell my house to pay medical bills.
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      May 17 2013: ZX, Gotta argue about the goberment becoming more involved. The gobbers are the worst businessmen possable. The reason being is that they are not accountable or answerable to anyone. The fed wants to buy up all the acid loans they do it at 4 billion a month ... want to give GM a few billion no problemo ... want to throw some money at green energy with no hope of success as a political payoff, here is the checkbook ....

      What got me mad was the comparison of the cost for the operation in a public facility and the cost in a government sponsored facility. Talk about apples and oranges ... my intent here is to express that when a comparison is made it should at least be reasonable. Take all the federal funding away from the tribal hospital and lets do the math again.
      They can only take natives ... open hospital have to take all comers at a loss .. by law.

      The goberment says we will pay this much period ... the hospitals say we need this much based on the goberment pay scale ... the doctor over charges to get the minimum. What a game.

      Obamacare will solve this problem ... I am 70 with no job ... so I will meet the death panel. Guess I should run for office and be exempt like the ones who voted this in ... laws for the peons .... perks for the elite.

      Thanks for the reply. Bob.