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PhiLandShiR

Here is my take on why health care costs are so high

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First off let me say that I have worked in the health care service field. I took care of Linear accelerators at a local hospital. I was responsible for setting them up and keeping them working. These were massive machines used to treat cancer. They were also VERY expensive.

The hospital has other, older models. The survival rate for treatment on those was not much different than on the newer ones. So why get newer ones? Well, these machines, like all machines, do wear out. So why get the newest most expensive ones? I actually asked the doctor that question. He said, ‘So we can treat them better.’

That makes sense, on the surface, until you realize that the survival rates were not much different. So, if the rates are minimally different what gives? It all boiled down to: Now we can advertize that we have the newest, latest, greatest machines on the market. Much better that the ones in the other hospitals…you need to come here to get your treatment….

So it seems that curing cancer, while a noble and very reasonable cause, was not improved with the new machines. But bragging rights, and the money in treatment, now that was something different all together…

Please understand that this is just my opinion.

On a more personal point, I am diabetic. I am in remission right now and take no medication for it. I do not, now, check my blood sugar levels but I have in the past. They give me a nifty little machine to use for checking my levels. But, the test strips used with the nifty little machine… those cost $1.25 each. I was checking about 4 or 5 times a day. Very costly. But the machine was free… When I asked about a cheaper way, I was told these newer strips were ‘better’… There were test strips available for about 25 cents a strip… A much more reasonable cost, why not use those? The answer: your insurance will cover the new version; just pay your co-pay… I pushed for an answer as to why these newer strips were so much ‘better’. I was told they were more accurate. Ok, that seems reasonable on the surface… How much ‘better’ I asked. Don’t worry; your insurance will cover it… I continued to push, 10 points better, maybe 15 points?? Well, not that much… OK, 5 points?? Well, maybe not… Ok how much?? Well, maybe one or two points better. Ok, that is in fact better. But, I asked, how will knowing my blood sugar number with one or two points more accuracy change your treatment plan for me? Well, it won’t… then why am I using these expensive test strips!?!? Don’t worry; your insurance will cover it….

AAAAAAAAAugh…..

I feel like Charle Brown…

So, I guess you can blame insurance companies or you can blame the doctors… but my opinion is this: the medical systems manufacturers are spending millions and millions, maybe billions, on new hardware that gains me, the actual patient, less than a 1% increase in performance.

But it gains the manufacturer bragging rights to claim they have the newest, latest, greatest hardware and everybody should buy from them…

So why should the vast bulk of patient population, pay for all this ‘improvement’ when it doesn’t gain us even enough to change our treatment plans?? Why should we be paying for the manufacturer’s bragging rights??

Should not the patients who actually need such great precision, be the ones to pay for it?

Why should all the rest of us pay for something we don’t need or use? Time and time again I hear some politico saying make sure to get only what you need. Don’t let them charge you for things you don’t need…

I know it can best be summed up in one word… lawsuit…

Perhaps some form of lawsuit protection could be developed? Not a blanket immunity the government seems to want to use but something that is based on a selection list that the patient could use? The patient could select just how much accuracy they wanted to pay for? I mean if there is not enough there to modify a treatment plan, why pick the most costly process???

Just my 2 cents on the whole process… please feel free to rip my head off it you choose. I will put my soapbox away now…

Edited by PhiLandShiR

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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Canada
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That is a very big key right there and you described a lot of the problem in the industry. You can't expect to have the 'latest and greatest' described instruments all the time and expect to keep costs down.

The amusing part is, they throw away or give away perfectly good equipment to replace it with the newer versions... That's just sad.

It's the same thing with certain drugs as well. There 'are' cheaper drugs out there that have a higher 'risk' percentage (usually very small) but any risk is not worth it to agencies like the FDA who end up restricting good drugs, just because it might have a bad side effect on 'certain' people.


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Filed: Country: United Kingdom
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On a more personal point, I am diabetic. I am in remission right now and take no medication for it. I do not, now, check my blood sugar levels but I have in the past. They give me a nifty little machine to use for checking my levels. But, the test strips used with the nifty little machine… those cost $1.25 each. I was checking about 4 or 5 times a day. Very costly. But the machine was free… When I asked about a cheaper way, I was told these newer strips were ‘better’… There were test strips available for about 25 cents a strip… A much more reasonable cost, why not use those? The answer: your insurance will cover the new version; just pay your co-pay… I pushed for an answer as to why these newer strips were so much ‘better’. I was told they were more accurate. Ok, that seems reasonable on the surface… How much ‘better’ I asked. Don’t worry; your insurance will cover it… I continued to push, 10 points better, maybe 15 points?? Well, not that much… OK, 5 points?? Well, maybe not… Ok how much?? Well, maybe one or two points better. Ok, that is in fact better. But, I asked, how will knowing my blood sugar number with one or two points more accuracy change your treatment plan for me? Well, it won’t… then why am I using these expensive test strips!?!? Don’t worry; your insurance will cover it….

And THAT's the problem. When someone else is paying for dinner, why shouldn't you order the lobster?


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And THAT's the problem. When someone else is paying for dinner, why shouldn't you order the lobster?

Like most people have a choice.

The one time I had to use health care here, I had to go on a scouting mission to see which medications are covered and which are not. Screw that for a joke, now I just schedule checkups during my trips to AUS.


"I believe in the power of the free market, but a free market was never meant to

be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it." President Obama

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So the constant need to have the newest and best equipment has nothing to do with patient's (i.e. consumer) need to know they are receiving the 'best' [care]? I understand that if a machine is in working condition, only a couple of models behind the latest one, it should still work just fine and hospitals should continue to use it....but maybe a patient will pass that hospital up and get treatment at the next place where they do have the newest model of that equipment.

Why do people buy newer models of things, when the old one is perfectly functional? Don't let that "more efficient" or "more accurate" or more whatever label fool you...you buy that new car, fridge, dishwasher...whatever because its newer, more modern, basically more appealing than the outdated model you currently have.


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So the constant need to have the newest and best equipment has nothing to do with patient's (i.e. consumer) need to know they are receiving the 'best' [care]? I understand that if a machine is in working condition, only a couple of models behind the latest one, it should still work just fine and hospitals should continue to use it....but maybe a patient will pass that hospital up and get treatment at the next place where they do have the newest model of that equipment.

Why do people buy newer models of things, when the old one is perfectly functional? Don't let that "more efficient" or "more accurate" or more whatever label fool you...you buy that new car, fridge, dishwasher...whatever because its newer, more modern, basically more appealing than the outdated model you currently have.

And no hospital wants to see that happen so they are driven to upgrade and replace stuff that works just fine...


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You don't have the book with a full listing? Or have the .PDF? No scouting mission needed.

Well the first time I ever heard of such a thing was after going to the pharmacy to obtain the medication prescribed. I found out that there is some sort of online website, so I will use that.

However, it's actually more beneficial for me to have a doctor prescribe something in AUS and post the prescription to a pharmacy there. That way, even without insurance, I can have it filled and shipped here for less than what it would cost me here. Plus they are not generic and come in factory sealed blister packs.

Edited by Ali G.

"I believe in the power of the free market, but a free market was never meant to

be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it." President Obama

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Sorry, but you have to be female for me to discuss my chicken choking habits with you.

Well, you were the one who brought it to the table, I'm just laughing at it... :rofl:


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Well the first time I ever heard of such a thing was after going to the pharmacy to obtain the medication prescribed. I found out that there is some sort of online website, so I will use that.

However, it's actually more beneficial for me to have a doctor prescribe something in AUS and post the prescription to a pharmacy there. That way, even without insurance, I can have it filled and shipped here for less than what it would cost me here. Plus they are not generic and come in factory sealed blister packs.

Best be careful about that. Importing drugs into the US can land you in a heap of dodo...

Edited by PhiLandShiR

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