The Atlantic Journal's September 2009 article "How American Health Care Killed My Father" http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200909/health-care is one of the best pieces to date I have read about the health care system. Author David Goldhill, CEO of the Gaming Network, has laid out in a most succinct fashion an understandable overview of the inherent problems facing health care today - namely the near impossible task of fitting medicine into a familiar business model. He accurately hits on one of the most confusing areas in the industry - price versus cost. The two terms have been used interchangeably, much to the chagrin of economists and business managers. Goldberg highlights the lack of transparency in the pricing and walks one through the frustrating realities of accessing medical care: it is nearly impossible to get an answer as to how much you will have to pay until after the fact. And should you be given a price from the fee schedule of the physician or the hospital, it will be at an inflated price.
Have you experienced the frustration of not being able to find out the cost of your procedure? Do you know what all those numbers mean on the "Explanation of Benefits" (EOB) you get from your insurance company after you have visited a doctor, had a hospital visit, had a radiology test done? And if you are uninsured, what do these numbers mean for you? Tomorrow I will post how to read those statements from your insurance company, hospital and doctor's office.