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A bitter pill

That’s the title of last week’s “Time” cover story on health care.

I gave you a link to the story in Monday’s post. Sorry to report that “Time” has broken the link so now you can read the story online only if you’re a subscriber. That’s a shame, because I think it’s a very important story, one that every American who pays taxes and/or goes to the doctor should read.

That said, there’s plenty of reaction to and discussion of the story online so you can still get informed and let your member of Congress know what you think. Just Google “Time Bitter Pill.”

Among the many stories I found was one from The Stamford Advocate that focused on a woman from Stamford, Conn. profiled in the “Time” story. She was taken to the non-profit Stamford Hospital (where the CEO earns $1.6 million per year and the hospital has an operating profit of 12.7 percent). She had chest pains, and after three hours of tests and exams, was sent home with a diagnosis of indigestion. Her bill was $21,000. She was 64 at the time. If she had been 65 and covered by Medicare, one test she was given would have cost Medicare $554.00. She was charged $7,997.

We are having the wrong conversation about health care. Instead of talking only about who pays, we should also talk about why we pay so much.