Recently I posted another article about Levaquin Lady. Some readers took offense with the following statement from the article:
Levaquin Boy was feeling sorry for his mom at home. She was discharged early because of new hospital rules regarding reimbursement which are a direct result of major changes in healthcare, but I wouldn't want to point any fingers at the culprit because there's just soooo many readers of this blog out there that are quite happy with the way things are going healthcare-wise. Someone might say "Socialist Libtards," but I won't.
One comment states:
I used to think that your blog was semi-amusing, and I started reading it because it is on Dr. Grumpy's recommended list. The increasing number of bitter, insulting political comments have changed my opinion. It's your blog, your choice, but I'm not sure why you'd want to alienate left-leaning readers.
Semi-amusing? Woo hoo! Thank you! That's a big step up from my family members who don't find it amusing at all! But I have to ask: where have you been the past thirty years? The media in general, but primarily newspapers, television, and Hollywood, has been on an anti-conservative bent FOR YEARS. From digs on Dan Quayle to George W. Bush to John McCain, it's a never-ending saga of "bitter, insulting political comments." Every week on Saturday Night Live we're treated to some sort of dig on conservatives. I laugh at something when it is funny whether it is a dig at a liberal or a conservative. I laughed when they made fun of Dan Quayle. He said some wild crazy things and the media went out of their way to publicize it and make fun of it. TODAY you're hard pressed to hear about the stupid things that Joe Biden says all the time even though he says A LOT of stupid things. Just the other day Biden was telling people to use a shotgun instead of an assault rifle because it won't put holes in the wall. Really?
The irony is that my statement about the healthcare reforms in this blog article points out the fact that the new healthcare policy actually has a negative effect on the patient and is really all about money, not the patient. To me this would be something that a liberal would suggest as a conservative reform, not vice versa. Part of the healthcare reform (that Nancy Pelosi instructed the congress to vote for "so we can see what's in it") directly affects the reimbursement that hospitals receive for Medicare patients. One small part of that reimbursement is that the patient must be discharged according to the healthcare bill's predetermined chart, NOT based on when the individual patient should be discharged according to their own needs. OTHERWISE, the hospital does NOT get paid, at all. I'm sorry people don't seem to understand this simple concept, but ALL businesses operate on profit. No profit = no incentive to produce. Unless the hospital can make a profit, they're not going to stay in business.
Every patient is different and for all the Levaquin that Levaquin Lady has had in the past, kicking her out of the hospital too soon was a really bad idea. And here's another aspect you probably don't know about. When a patient is discharged according to this predetermined schedule, the new directives also dictate that IF the patient returns to the hospital within a certain amount of time with the same ailment, the hospital will not be reimbursed for EITHER visit. The healthcare directive is forcing hospitals to discharge patients early then if they come back due to complications being discharged early... tough luck, no reimbursement for you. Tell me, HOW is this beneficial? It's NOT, except to stick hospitals with having to spread the cost of these patients onto other patients' bills.
Over the next decade you will see massive changes in how care is provided based on this bill. Hospitals WILL close. Have you noticed how urgent care centers are popping up everywhere? That's because they know this. This is the future of healthcare. Doctors will stop taking Medicaid and Medicare patients because they won't be able to get paid for seeing these patients. Some doctors are already declaring bankruptcy. Read this article
. Again, let me remind you, all businesses operate on profit. No profit = no incentive to produce.
You're kind of silly. The corporate blockheads are making your work life miserable because of their greed, yet you want healthcare completely in their hands? Not sure if I'm left or right, but I'd love to know what you think is the answer here.
I'm not silly. I am on the battle line seeing what's really happening as its happening. Nothing I said indicated that I want corporations to run healthcare, but I certainly don't think government should be involved in it either. One thing I know for sure: Socialism is not the answer. If you can tell me ONE example of anywhere in the world where socialism has worked, I'll reconsider. You can't. Look at history.
I have to agree with the other two posters. Clearly you hate the thought that the gov't might try to provide health insurance to those unable to afford it any other way, but I don't understand why. I also don't understand why you think it will make your life worse, since your problem seems to be that you hate the company you work for.
I don't hate the thought that the government might try to provide health insurance to those UNABLE to afford it any other way. What I see on a daily basis is massive abuse of the Medicaid system by people who ARE
able to pay but are taking advantage of the system. Here's an EXAMPLE
of how the you know the system is broken and is exactly what I'm talking about, and NO it isn't an isolated incident. Abuse of Medicaid happens all the time. There is a growing, pervasive ENTITLEMENT
attitude out there of YOU owe ME and it just has to stop. This abuse is widespread and it costs us all money.
Also you overlook a very real problem in this country. For 15 years I was self-employed and bought my own health insurance. Then the recession hit, my income plummeted yet my health insurance had risen to $800/mo. I had no choice but to drop it (along with a host of other "necessary" things like collision on my car, healthy food, etc.). For 5 years I lived in fear of becoming really ill. No matter what might be wrong, I had to hope it would heal on its own because no doctor would even see me without insurance--and the ER is much too expensive for non-emergent issues. It's a horrible feeling to have to live with such fear. Recently I was able to again get health insurance for a price I could afford because I still spend NO MONEY on anything that isn't critical to existence, like food. No restaurants, newspapers, vacations, or unnecessary trips in the car. NOTHING. But I can afford health insurance again. Maybe your utter lack of compassion has something to do with the fact that while you don't like your job, it has always included some health insurance so you don't know what it's like to live in fear of dying of something easily curable just because no doctor will see you?
I am sorry for your situation but as you describe it you're one of a very few number of people using the system for the help it was designed for. You didn't abuse it and I don't mind a portion of my taxes going to people who truly need it and appreciate it. What I see is widespread abuse by people who take advantage of Medicaid and Medicare's lack of any ability to verify each patient situation. Too many people know that they can get help at no cost or virtually no cost just on a signature. And they DO take advantage of it.
I was self-employed for 20 years myself. I bought my own health insurance when I could afford it. I didn't always have health insurance and I paid out of pocket for the doctor/hospital cost for the birth of both of my children. I never thought that my healthcare was a "right" like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, because it is not. I have a right to life, but I didn't (and still don't) expect my healthcare to be paid for by everyone else. That's the thing you have to realize... when people say THE GOVERNMENT is paying for Medicaid, that's not really true. Taxes from OTHER people are paying for Medicaid. I have no "right" to expect someone else to pay for my healthcare any more than I have the "right" to go to my next door neighbor and demand that he give me a gallon of gas out of his car because I'm short this week.
Maybe your utter lack of compassion has something to do with the fact that while you don't like your job, it has always included some health insurance so you don't know what it's like to live in fear of dying of something easily curable just because no doctor will see you?
As I said, I was self-employed too. I lived in fear too. I can sympathize with your situation because I lived it myself. BUT I didn't expect someone else to pay for my healthcare. I honestly am just appalled at this philosophy. It really makes no sense to me. Further, it is very ironic that you accused me of having an "utter lack of compassion" when I was lamenting the fact that Levaquin Lady was discharged BEFORE she should have been. I was showing one weakness in Obamacare that directly affects the patient and the hospital.
And that's another thing: While I have health insurance, I don't have drug insurance because I only take one, inexpensive drug (synthetic/generic thyroid). But my local pharmacy chain charges me $30 for a month's supply, while WalMart charges me $4. So is WalMart subsidizing the other $26 in the hopes that I'll buy more than $26 worth of stuff while waiting for the prescription or is the chain ripping off those of us without insurance? What does it cost to make a thyroid pill? Something is seriously wrong with the way we do healthcare in this country and if there is any way that Omamacare will correct it, I'm all for it.
I don't know your community, of course. In mine, all the major pharmacies match the Walmart $4/month price for a bunch of medication, even if it is below cost. What's more, every pharmacy matches the other pharmacies' list. Each pharmacy has a different list, so in essence the actual list of medications available for $4 for a month supply is much larger than any one list. In some states they just give you an Amoxicillin Rx at no cost just to get you in the door.
Again, I don't know your specific pharmacy that's charging $30 for a month supply. But if we look at it under the idea that NO profit = no incentive to produce, it would make sense. Walmart is huge, the largest retailer in the world. And with that you get a huge, huge quantity discount. In retail, the more you buy, the cheaper the price. That's just the way it works. A small community pharmacy has to pay more for Levothyroxine (generic Synthroid) than Walmart. It's just a fact. A small community pharmacy has to pay more per square foot for rent. They have to buy their own insurance at a premium price (which you are aware of... you said you were self-employed). So EVERYTHING costs more for the small pharmacy as compared to Walmart. Do I think it justifies them charging $30 for a Levothyroxine Rx? I don't know. But I'm sure the manager/pharmacist there is simply trying to make a profit to feed his family based on income needed per number of prescriptions filled. What I can tell you is that you will get faster and better pharmacy service than at the giant Walmart where you're just an Rx number.
I recently transferred a couple of prescriptions from Walmart to my pharmacy. I was astounded at one of the labels on the bottle: "Please give us 48 hours advance notice for your refill." Really? 48 hours? I barely get 10 minutes advance notice at my pharmacy. Years ago I did a rotation at CostCo. Every single person that had to wait ten minutes JUST TO DROP OFF their prescription was absolutely shocked to hear that it was going to take 90 minutes to fill their prescription. And it did take 90 minutes with TWO pharmacists, NINE technicians, and me the intern to fill the prescriptions, because it was just that busy. Did we have time to really delve into the particulars of each patient? No. This was a pump-it-out factory of prescriptions.
Let's analyze the Levothyroxine issue for a moment. I don't have exact numbers, but we can estimate. Suppose your local pharmacy has one technician and one pharmacist. Let's further assume from start to finish it takes five minutes to fill your Levothyroxine prescription:
Technician, $10/hour, 5 mins = $0.83
Pharmacist, $52/hour, 5 mins = $4.33
bottle = $0.15
cap = $0.05
label = $0.20
product = $1.26
electricity, phone, rent, insurance... all fixed costs but would be part of the equation too. Let's say electricity is $300 per month, $100 for phone, rent is $2,000, insurance is $500. I'm pulling these numbers out of thin air but this is just for fun. Let's further say that your local pharmacy does 600 prescriptions a week or 31,200 prescriptions a year. So for every prescription, the fixed cost is about $.90 per Rx. We haven't even addressed any other staff for the pharmacy, promotion, advertising, even the bag to insert the Rx, etc.
So far I've got $7.72 as just the COST for processing your prescription. Remember, the pharmacy HAS to make a profit or he/she wouldn't be able to stay in business. If the pharmacy does a lot less than 600 prescriptions a week, obviously the cost is going to go up and the mark up has to be higher. So what's the trade off? Why is your prescription $30 instead of $4? Part of it is simply the cost of doing business. But why does your pharmacy continue to stay in business? Because he or she sells something that Walmart can't... that's genuine, personalized customer service. You're only on one med. But if you were on several meds its a good bet that even when the computer picks up on an interaction at Walmart they will bypass it and you'll not be counseled at the register. But not an your local pharmacy. Maybe 90 minutes isn't unreasonable to you, nor is having to let the pharmacy know 48 hours ahead of time. Maybe $30 is unreasonable for one Levothyroxine prescription... but when you look at it, really look at the numbers involved you can see that it is much more than that. Your local pharmacy will never be able to compete with giant Walmart ON PRICE alone. If that's the only thing that's important to you, then you'll never understand the value of an educated and seasoned pharmacist.