Healthcare for profit: kinda makes you sick….


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There is an excellent article in the New York Times today regarding HCA, the health care giant and their maximization of profits.  Personally, I find the whole idea of profiting on someone’s pain to be morally and ethically wrong.  Take a few minutes and read this article (yes, Bain Capital is also mentioned) and you can see why health care in the United States is a joke.  We worry about “socialized health care” and criticize the way that the government handles programs, but the people running our healthcare system are absolutely criminal.  When you can pick and choose who  you treat based on a profitability index, there is something terribly wrong.  A few snips from the article…

Among the secrets to HCA’s success: It figured out how to get more revenue from private insurance companies, patients and Medicare by billing much more aggressively for its services than ever before; it found ways to reduce emergency room overcrowding and expenses; and it experimented with ways to reduce the cost of medical staff, a move that sometimes led to conflicts with doctors and nurses over concerns about patient care.

In late 2008, for instance, HCA changed the billing codes it assigned to sick and injured patients who came into the emergency rooms. Almost overnight, the numbers of patients who HCA said needed more care, which would be paid for at significantly higher levels by Medicare, surged.

Another one…

Many doctors interviewed at various HCA facilities said they had felt increased pressure to focus on profits under the private equity ownership. “Their profits are going through the roof, but, unfortunately, it’s occurring at the expense of patients,” said Dr. Abraham Awwad, a kidney specialist in St. Petersburg, Fla., whose complaints over the safety of the dialysis programs at two HCA-owned hospitals prompted state investigations.

And with regard to turning away patients…

One doctor, who asked not to be identified because he still works as an emergency physician, recalled one incident in which he was told to turn away a young boy with a deep cut in his arm because it was not bleeding profusely and he therefore did not meet the criteria.

So, in short, when you have an ailment that is deemed “unprofitable” you won’t get care, or you have to pay for it up front.  This is sick and wrong and it is why the rest of the world just shakes their head at America’s health care system.

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8 responses to “Healthcare for profit: kinda makes you sick….”

  1. nonviolentconflict says :

    Reblogged this on NonviolentConflict.

  2. stephenpruis says :

    I had to “Like” your post because you brought important information more attention, but like you I do not “like” for profit health care systems. Focussing on extracting more profit from other people’s misery is ghastly. A reasonable profit is necessary but these people are over the top!

  3. lowerarchy says :

    My Dad’s 86 and he told me that before WWII in England if folk saw a doctor turn up at somebody’s house it meant they were dying as it cost ten shillings per visit (half a pound sterling).
    After the war the UK created the Welfare State so medicine and health costs, education and social security were managed by government which made it okay to be working class.
    In 1979 Margaret Thatcher (big pals with your Ronald Reagan and the murderous General Pinochet of Chile) was elected and began an attempt to dismantle this massively important safety net. Conservatives are still trying but the vast mass of the public won’t have it.
    Even now most healthcare is free at point of use. To us Brits it seems ridiculous that anyone should profit from others’ ill-health.
    Come on US – set up a American Health Service!

  4. fatherkane says :

    Reblogged this on The Last Of The Millenniums and commented:
    This is going to define Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and the Republicans.
    Americans choosing between the profits for companies or the health of people.

  5. Mother says :

    This is also a medical issue in the fact that our medical care is based on fixing you ONLY once you have become sick and then it is only about TREATING THE SYMPTOMS and not fixing what caused it which is the way it was done until we got pennicillin and started making vaccines, which by the way are making us much sicker……what to do about this is we need to go back to prevention by improving your health to where your body can fight against these diseases and you will not get them in the first place…. try and get the AMA to go away and give up on pills and a quick fix…when you can kill cancer inside of you by eating onoly organic food it ought to tell you something…. ;-))

    • thejumbledmind says :

      You are absolutely right…my family is trying to eat as organic as possible and there are definite marked improvements in our overall health. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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