Tidbits :: Monday, August 24, 2009
BLDGBLOG on City of Fees and Services: "Indeed, the bizarre irony for me throughout all of this has been that police officers, fire crews, and members of the military are all, to use this language very deliberately, the most socialized subsector of the U.S. economy. That is, they are paid through what many people would call "government hand-outs." On the other hand, it is these very social positions that are often held up - by these same critics - as triumphant examples of national service and personal heroism. Indeed, it is not entirely inaccurate to say that The Greatest Generation was a generation of near-total tax-funded employment.
If the recent health care debates are to be believed, doctors are not subject to this same sense of national appreciation; they are mysteriously yet fundamentally unlike the police, we are meant to believe, offering services that only private money can afford. But where is the line between private health (diabetes) and public safety (tuberculosis) - and when might this solidify into actual government infrastructure?"
Michael Blim on Will Someone Rid Me of Private Health Insurance? : "Once a mistake is made and a bill made up, the paper chase begins in earnest. It is then that one uncovers the fact that unlike in the Wizard of Oz, there is no one behind the curtain. The hospital in a show of dauntless efficiency sends me one bill for everything they do to me. It is a complete sham. There is no unified billing service at the hospital. Every service simply dumps its bills into a big computerized hopper in the Ethernet, and a sum with unintelligible notations is derived and duly sent to the patient. I call to ask each service if it recorded a co-pay non-payment. Recently I made the rounds among the services billing for the podiatrist, the orthoticist, the physical therapist, the surgeon, and the family doctor. Sometimes it's like bingo, and several of the services made claims for the "missing" $15 co-pay. Each service demanded documentation that I paid the co-pay, but even if one of the billing problems is resolved, the clearance never seems to stop the unified billing service from sending out another bill, this time with a dunning notice attached. One of the services refused to believe that I had not cheated them out of the $15 - this on a bill for a rotator cuff repair in which the hospital grossed thousands of dollars."