Monday, June 23, 2008

Absolutely fucking OUTRAGEOUS!

Regular readers will remember that about two weeks ago I was forced to go to the emergency room with a case of strep throat.

I got the bill today.

To say that I am absolutely fucking livid would be a major understatement. This thing isn’t a bill for services rendered, it’s basically a notice from a business that they’re going to fuck me in that ass me just because they can.

In all seriousness I’m surprised there isn’t a note at the bottom that says “Ha! We know that you’ve got no choice and have to come to us when you’re sick, so we’re totally just going to bend you over and rape your cornhole because we like money. Hope you get sick again soon, sucker!”

Ok, just to start let me tell you exactly what happened when I went to the ER.

I arrived and signed in. After almost two hours in the waiting room I was taken to triage where a nurse swabbed my throat before sending me back to the waiting room for another hour.

Then I was taken to a small room where I stay for a further hour until the doctor showed up, shone a light down my throat, told me my throat looked ‘more yeasty than streppy’ (direct quote) and left.

Ten minutes later a male nurse turned up and gave me a single pill with some water to wash it down with. 20 minutes after that another nurse turned up, and gave me a prescription for 4 more of the pills and told me I could leave.

For future reference, those four pills cost $10 at the pharmacy. $2.50 a pop, remember that.

So, long story short, my visit to the ER was a throat swab, a ten dollar pill and a grand total of a minute and a half of face time with the doctor.

Know what that cost me?

$836.09. That’s not a typo. I’ve not put the decimal point in the wrong place. Eight hundred and thirty six dollars.

It’s just fucking wrong.

The itemized bill had me absolutely fuming. Here it is:

Laboratory : $161

Ok, I have no idea what equipment and disposables they have to use to run tests on the throat swab, so even though I think this is outrageously high, I can’t really comment…except to say that back in England the whole thing would be free anyway.

Emergency Room : $464.00

Unless they were charging me to sit in the waiting room, this means I was charged nearly five hundred dollars to sit alone in an examination room for an hour. If it means time spent with the doctor, that’s $464 for two minutes.

Apparently that Doctor’s time is worth $13,020 an hour.

Self Administered drugs : $211

This is the one that really got me pissed off. Considering these pills cost $2.50 a pop from the pharmacy, getting charged two hundred and eleven dollars for a single pill is just fucking ludicrous.

Basically, that pill cost me 84 times it’s ‘retail price’ simply because an effeminate dude in scrubs brought it to me in a little plastic cup.

I said it as a joke in a previous post but it actually turned out to be true. I could literally have got on a plane, flown back to England, seen my regular doctor and flown back to the US for less than it cost me to visit that Emergency room.

Now, I have to ask a question.

Why isn’t this a much bigger deal in America? All of Canada and Europe has totally free health care. The American health care system doesn’t just charge for its services, the American health care establishment just literally pulls prices out of its ass because they know if you get sick you’ve got no choice. It’s a seller’s market.

I’m sorry, but there’s just no way to rationalize or even justify these costs. $464 to sit in a room for an hour and spend 20 minutes with a doctor? $211 for a single $2.50 pill?

When it costs close to a thousand dollars for a single pill and two minutes with a doctor something it very, very wrong.

That’s not just expensive. That’s not just outrageous. That’s just downright criminal.

7 comments:

Dauragon said...

The moral of this story: Don't get sick in America.


Yeah healthcare is really silly out here, and everyone is still too afraid to socialize it because thats what the damn dirty commies do.

Also if throat swabs are free, the terrorists win.

OzzyC said...

Dispute the bill and nag... they'll reduce it.

Woman atop her Soapbox said...

Yes, dispute the bill.

Find an "urgent care clinic" nearby and they will be a lot less, usually $100 to see somebody and minimal for labs.

National healthcare has been trying to be forced for years without luck because special interests groups line the pockets of the politicians and the drug companies and doctors won't get rich anymore.

Healthcare is private business in America which is why they can charge so much.

Glad for the NHS even if most of the time they suck.

~WAHS

Paulius said...

I'm absolutely going to dispute the bill, especially how they can charge me $211 bucks for $2.50 worth of medicine.

As for the 'Emergency Care Clinic'...we tried. We tried three and all wanted around $250 up front...and that was just to get in front of the doctor.

Yes, the NHS does suck...long waiting times, no private hospital rooms etc...but considering my $850 doctors visit would have cost absolutely zero in England, I'll put up with it.

I'm sorry, but health care just should absolutely NOT be run as a business. Having said that American health care isn't just run like a business, it's run like a monopoly.

I just don't know how any doctor can charge 211 bucks for a two-dollar pill and sleep at night.

Oh wait, yes I do...on a huge pile of money.

Bridget said...

Oh don't even get me started on this subject.

Did Sunny tell you Hubby had a stroke in April?
And we are uninsured.

You wanna talk bills? Try being flown to another hospital!
Or how about this... Charged $135 for being discharged from a doctor that did not even show up to do the discharging.

I'm so feelin ya on this one, P.

Kelly said...

Oh god that is absolutely fucking outrageous!!!
I'm a proper hypochondriac so this is just not good! Did I tell you I have been to my doctor and i've been stockpiling painkillers and indigestion medicines along with skin creams and contraceptives. Basically anything they'll give me!! (I have a pre paid prrescription card LOL)

I know Toby is getting me put on his insurance, but i'm expecting to feel the pinch from this sucker. Fucking robbing bastards!

Marie said...

Terrible isnt it? Can't afford insurance,make to much to get medicaid, but yet you can't pay medical bills. I understand completly Paul. Frank got chrged six hundred something for the doctor to give him 2 ibuprofen and tell him there was NOTHING they could do! After a 6 hour wait.