So essentially your rationale for high prices is labor and administrative cost? With all due respect, that's BS, Doc.
Don't get your aspirin at the hospital? ROTFL!!! Right. Do you permit patients to self-medicate in any form while under hospital care?
I'll ask again if you have read Brill's article?
Yes, the laws must be changed, starting with Obamacare. Unfortunately, it's gonna get much worse before it even has a chance to get better.
BS? OK, I just work in a hospital, and understand what happens there and how it happens.
Who do you think takes that aspirin tablet out of the bottle, puts it in a pill cup,writes the patients ID on it, makes certain that it is the right drug, in the right dose, not expired, even on the shelf, moves it to the patient, gives it to the patient? Your mom?
Not that simple in a hospital...there are maybe 15 or 20 different people involved in that process. We have machines that do it i the ED - someone has to keep the machine stocked, and operate it. The hospital (and the physicians) can be sued for not having the aspirin there when needed. At home if the bottle is empty, someone says whoops and buys one the next time they're at the store. Lawyers are not involved. The supply chain is quite short and efficient, for the demand and supply.
Yes I read Brills article. And many others just like it, usually in Time Magazine - it's not original at all, or new. He's also full of BS. Medicare isn't the cost of the service, it is set by law at a fraction of the actual cost of the service., and thanks to government inefficiency the cost is based on a several year old baseline. Medicare is based on private (ie non-governmental) payers covering the difference, BY LAW.
BTW, a PA/Lat is not a simple X-ray, it is two different X-rays....back to front and sideways. And paying X-ray techs to be there at 3 in the morning to do them costs more than having a system where they are scheduled at the imaging center downtown, and we can get you an appointment in 3 months (the system in Canada, for routine images).
And as I mentioned, by law, I have to treat anyone who shows up in the ED, for free. 2/3 of my patients actually pay something, 1/3 do not pay ANYTHING at all - not medicare, not insurance, not cash on the counter. And for those 1/3 who skip payment? We have to pay for collection agencies to try and recover the fees owed us, and suffer PR backlash for the attempt.....and recover maybe 5% of the money owed. Show me another business where people don't pay for the services and products they receive, and spare me the snivelling about how expensive an aspirin tablet is. BTW, the cost of dispensing is equal for a single 325mg aspirin tablet or any other pil, and is factored in equally.
Are there efficiencies to be had in hospitals? Sure, starting with anyone with letters (MD, BSRN, MSN) after their name who are wearing dress shoes and suits. Take away the $1.8 million that MD Anderson's head gets and take care of a couple more catastrophically ill patients (but just a couple more, and only for a year or two). But the best efficiency is making people pay, up front, for their medical care and then let them get reimbursed by medicare, insurance companies, etc....for whatever the difference is. People will really decide if they can get by with a 2AM pregnancy test, or wait until 8 when the drugstore opens....and maybe use the money saved for better private insurance.
As far as the typically heart-wrenching story that Brills article starts out with, I am truly sorry for that persons situation (if, indeed, they really exist). I see stories like that all the time. They made a choice about how much insurance (another market the feds have trashed, with state help) they were comfortable with: People make lifestyle economic choices all day long.
But the cause isn't that hospitals charge a lot for the services rendered, its that 50 years of medicare and 80 years of Roosevelts health care insurance not being taxable have totally disrupted the health care market economics and this is the inevitable result. Either way, fixing the problem or not, will be quite painful and difficult.