Hospitals in financial trouble redux…

It will be interesting to see how that situation pans out.

We never expected to have so many individuals who have either no health insurance or mimimal coverage — and we also did not forsee such a tidal wave of illegals who are now in this country.

Send back the illegals? that would be part of the problem solved; what about everybody else who is uninsured or underinsured? That problem still exists.

A friend of mine had an idea:

At the hospital where we used to work, there were girls who were pregnant — the hospital put them up in the dorm accross the street that hospital staff used and in return for more or less room and board, the girls were given jobs to do at the hospital — it would be things like work in central supply, help out in the cafeteria, etc.

She suggested that those who were admitted and were self pay more or less barter their time and skills to pay off the hospital bill incurred for services.

Great idea — but to an extent: suppose you are too ill to work or you are too elderly? What then?

At any rate, the uninsured/underinsured is now like the Social Security program:

We have too many people in the system.

And they will be in the system indefinitely.

Obamacare won’t cure this — illegals will not be required to subscribe to it, nor will certain religions — so in other words we still will have charity care for those who cannot pay. We’re stuck at Square One is where this is at.

The only way to get the uninsured/underinsured out of the program:

Supply these people with well paying jobs where there is adequate health care coverage…. but I do not see that happening at all.

Awhile back, I worked for a small company. There were about 50 people working in both divisions.

There was health insurance but here is how it worked: the employee chose any plan they wanted, paid for it out of pocket — and the boss would reimburse the employee for the total premium each month.

This was probably cheaper for him than taking out a group plan.  That benefitted everyone: you get your full ride with coverage and he pays for it and it works out cheaper for him.

Getting back to hospitals that are in financial trouble in our neck of the woods: thes facilities cannot expect the state to pump wad after wad of money into their coffers.  The state gave a 100M bailout to that one hospital I mentioned. There is now 39M of debt, guaranteed by the state… and now they’re pretty much broke.  what do they do? go and hit the state up for another pack of money?

This will not come to a good end for anybody. I suspect the hospital will close. Doubtful if it will be bought in an auction, but maybe it might. I have no idea who would be the buyer.

6 thoughts on “Hospitals in financial trouble redux…”

  1. Part of the problem is because we now have a large underclass which is growing. Many people do not have health insurance because they can’t afford it and don’t qualify for assistance, like me. My parents just became qualified for Medicare but they didn’t have insurance for a few years. However my parents have enough money to pay out of pocket which is what they were doing. They are going to do this for me as well, but luckily I don’t have a lot of medical issues (at least none I know of).

    I do think the barter system would work because hospitals always need volunteers. As I look at it those who aren’t that sick such as pregnant women and things like that can pay it off by volunteering. I do think though the biggest issue facing the hospitals are the illegals and the problem is how would they pay it off? many use fake info so finding them is tricky. There’s the problem, they drain our resources without funding them.

  2. There are many many things bartered employees could do:

    Put their JOB SKILLS TO WORK!!!!

    Do other things: paint, spruce the place up, etc. Find something that’s relevant to a skill set — many many things — and use that person’s talents and abilities.

    What a mess we’ve got. And it is getting worse.

  3. One of the problems with “employing” volunteers is liability issues. You’d have to get them to agree not to sue if they got hurt on the job. It would take a while to work off $40K of medical care at minimum wage. The hours where the hospital could use help are often hours when people are working, so unless you are willing to accommodate a big surge of volunteers on weekends, it wouldn’t work in the majority of case.

    I can just see the first lawsuit that alleges human trafficking or slavery.

    There is another way, and that’s to make the decision as a society to have a strong safety net for people. The problem is that it would cost about double what people pay for Social Security who DON’T receive the Earned Income Credit to get universal coverage. We have the “sick care” system that we do because people can make money from it. Think about it for a minute. If everyone from the doctor to the insurance company to the pharmacist has to make money on the deal, those costs have to be passed through to someone. If I have to bill you rather than have you write me a check, I have to charge more. Take the insurance company out of the picture and go to a limited formulary of drugs, such as generics only, and you cut a lot of cost out of the system. You have Social Security and Medicare sending out checks and paying claims for about 3% of their budgets. It is common for insurance companies to spend 20% or more on administration.

    It isn’t just the illegals. An awful lot of people are just broke. What do you do wth them?

  4. This is what the problem IS:

    A rapidly growing number of uninsured and underinsuired individuals.

    YOu cannot turn them away: it’s illegal to deny them emergency treatment.

    And if they can’t pay, then what?

    Years ago when my brother was a college frreshman, he got appendicitis.

    He needed an emergency admission and surgery immediately.

    He was uninsured.

    This happened in 1977.

    Naturally, one of the first questions asked upon admission is What health insurance carrier do you have? My mother said there was none.

    That night, after he was admitted, she got a call at his bedside.

    From the billing office.

    Telling her that they wanted their MONEY!!!

    She got more than a few threatening calls from them — the bill came to a bit over 10 grand and there was a separate admission for later on; the wound got infected and he needed to be readmitted — my mother called the mayor (who was on the board of trustees of that hospital, I believe) and these people settled for a payment plan. I think she paid them $100 a month until the bill was paid off.

    Could you imagine if they did that here and now, in this day and age, with every patient admitted who was self pay??

  5. Are you saying that hospitals no longer have collections departments? They do. They also offer payment plans, though you might have to press to get one. Unless your brother was under age when he had the surgery, your mother had no legal obligation to pay the debt. He could have beaten the debt by filing for bankruptcy, provided that he was old enough, which was probably 18 at the time.

    Most colleges require students to buy a health insurance policy sold through the college that would cover an operation, and that insurance was fairly cheap, a couple of hundred dollars per year at the time. This was true in 1977, because that’s when I started college.

  6. I don’t think there were collections companies in 1977. Who knows?

    They did have something like charity care back then. Some girl who graduated with bro got married right out of high school; she was pregnant when they got married. She had her baby there and they put her into some sort of charity care program….nobody offered that option to my mother.

    The people who ran that hospital were somethin’ else…:( — there was a slot where you had to go through a gate to get into the parking lot — a friend of mine was lost and figured she’d make a turn and pass through the hospital’s parking lot and then come out the other side — turns out you had to pay to get out. They charged for parking back then, which was unheard of in 1977,

    (She pulled into the little slot where there was a gate and the gate went up but she went no further. So technically she was not *in* the lot proper)

    She saw the sign saying pay to get out and figured she’d just back out of the little slot that lead to the lot. She did…. and got 4 flat tires. There were spikes in the metal plate that automatically came up if you tried to back out!

    She was stuck with 4 flat tires and wow, was she po’d.

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