Thursday, February 28, 2013

Horror story from down south

update: link fixed, my apologies

Healthcare in Canada as we have it,  is one of the few issues on which I agree with the Canadian lefties.  Our healthcare system is far, far, far, far, far, far ... okay you got it .... better than what the Americans have at the moment and yet many of us whine and criticize it (me included, many a time).  The article at the link below is long, but I recommend you read it to really appreciate and be thankful for what we have here in Canada.

Steven Brill writing at TimeMagazine:

....The first of the 344 lines printed out across eight pages of his hospital bill — filled with indecipherable numerical codes and acronyms — seemed innocuous. But it set the tone for all that followed. It read, “1 ACETAMINOPHE TABS 325 MG.” The charge was only $1.50, but it was for a generic version of a Tylenol pill. You can buy 100 of them on Amazon for $1.49 even without a hospital’s purchasing power.....

....On the second page of the bill, the markups got bolder. Recchi was charged $13,702 for “1 RITUXIMAB INJ 660 MG.” That’s an injection of 660 mg of a cancer wonder drug called Rituxan. The average price paid by all hospitals for this dose is about $4,000, but MD Anderson probably gets a volume discount that would make its cost $3,000 to $3,500. That means the nonprofit cancer center’s paid-in-advance markup on Recchi’s lifesaving shot would be about 400%.....

The hospital’s hard-nosed approach pays off. Although it is officially a nonprofit unit of the University of Texas, MD Anderson has revenue that exceeds the cost of the world-class care it provides by so much that its operating profit for the fiscal year 2010, the most recent annual report it filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was $531 million. That’s a profit margin of 26% on revenue of $2.05 billion, an astounding result for such a service-intensive enterprise...........

....According to one of a series of exhaustive studies done by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, we spend more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia. We may be shocked at the $60 billion price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy. We spent almost that much last week on health care. We spend more every year on artificial knees and hips than what Hollywood collects at the box office. We spend two or three times that much on durable medical devices like canes and wheelchairs, in part because a heavily lobbied Congress forces Medicare to pay 25% to 75% more for this equipment than it would cost at Walmart.....


  1. Yes, I like Medicare. I can walk into the doctor's office, complain about something, get sent for x-rays or scanned or a prescription and it cost me not a penny. I told this to an American aquaintance once and he was simply astounded. You live in Ontario where you have a monthly Medicare premium. I did not know about premiums because here in our little but soon to be broke province of NB, we never did pay premiums. I expect that to change and I am ok with that because it will save the Medicare service. This is the one and probably only good NDP idea.

    1. I agree. I used to think that we in Canada were not given enough choices but after I have visited some elderly neighbors of mine in hospitals where they had to go for knee or hip replacements and after a friend of mine got some sort of an attack while in Buffalo and had to be brought here by ambulance which didn't cost her a cent because of the Canadian plan she had, I am in awe of our Canadian health system .... and especially when compared to the one down south.
      One learns best about these things when one see them first hand or hears about them directly from the horse's mouth.
      Furthermore, as I grow older I am learning to appreciate what we have in Canada much more than ever before.


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