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Friday, February 22, 2013

Law - TIME report "reveals the shocking degree to which we enrich pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators, laboratories and medical suppliers with lavish profits at the expense of patients"

The daily POLITICO Playbook yesterday included this recommendation:

CLICK DU JOUR – TIME cover story, “BITTER PILL: Why medical bills are killing us”: “TIME Contributor Steven Brill ... spent seven months analyzing bills from hospitals, doctors, drug companies and every other player in the American healthcare ecosystem ... He writes, ‘With Obamacare we've changed the rules related to who pays for what, but we haven't done much to change the prices we pay.’ ... The 36-page investigation, the longest single piece ever published by a single writer in TIME, reveals the shocking degree to which we enrich pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators, laboratories and medical suppliers with lavish profits at the expense of patients. Brill explains that hospitals arbitrarily set prices based on inconsistent and subjective lists known as ‘chargemasters.’ These prices vary from hospital to hospital and are often marked up as much as 10,000% the actual cost of an item.”

--TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel:
“If the piece has a hero, it’s ... Medicare, [which] by law can pay hospitals only the approximate costs of care. It’s Medicare, not Obamacare, that is bending the curve in terms of costs and efficiency. Brill ... argues that lowering the age of Medicare entry, not raising it, would lower costs. And that allowing Medicare to competitively price and assess drugs would save billions ... Asking wealthy Medicare recipients for higher co-pays would make sense.” Story and cover

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 22, 2013 09:54 AM
Posted to General Law Related