Let me count the ways.
Here are three recent stories that highlight what's wrong with our medical system.
An in-depth report by the Tampa Bay Times found that hospitals in Florida are charging exorbitant fees for patients arriving at trauma centers. It led with an account of a patient who spent 40 minutes in a Fort Pierce trauma center before being transferred to another institution for a higher level of care. After some diagnostic tests were done, he was on his way. The tab for the 40 minutes? $32,727.
The Times found that the average charge for a trauma center activation was over $10,000 and the highest was $33,000. For-profit hospitals tended to charge the most. These charges were billed regardless of nature of the injuries, be they minor cuts or abrasions. And as is customary today, the uninsured were charged the full amounts.
Hospital administrators admitted that the charges were based on what other hospitals charged and had no relationship to what resources were used. The fees did not include bills for physician services, which were separate.