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Profits Over Patients

OpEd in the Akron Beacon Journal Online, 2/21/14

Much is wrong with the process of pricing and providing health care in America. The National Nurses United, the largest nurses organization, recently released a study that shows the top 100 most expensive U.S. Hospitals have a charge-to-cost ratio of 765 percent and higher.

The worst offender in Ohio is right here in Summit County – Summa Barberton at a mind-numbing 654 percent. It is followed in fourth place by Summa Western Reserve at a whopping 577 percent.

What has become obvious is the health-care establishment here and across the country is more concerned with profits than patients.

Harvard’s Malcolm Sparrow, a leading expert on health-care billing fraud and a use, conservatively estimates that 10 percent of all U.S. health-care expenditures are lost to computerized billing fraud. That’s almost $300 billion a year. This profit-grab by the medical establishment is criminal in the way it exploits tragedy-stricken people.

In the last few years, the medical establishment, to forestall any reforms, has been a leading contributor to Congress, lavishing and astounding $5.6 billion on its members. Consequently, Washington politicians continue to allow the medical establishment to cruelly price many Americans out of access to needed medical care of leave them in financial ruin.

It’s long past time for America’s politicians to rein in the callous price gouging and recognize that a health-care system based on disgraceful profiteering puts all of us at risk.

The numbers for bankruptcy and financial catastrophe from medicals plummet at age 65, when people qualify for Medicare.  The best solution is to expand and update Medicare to cover everyone and take the financing of health care out of the hands of profiteers.

James Collver


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