Baby Joseph, Government Healthcare, and Death Panels

March 3, 2011

- See all 31 of my articles

Welcome to Canada! We have free healthcare for our citizens. We spare no expense to give them whatever surgery or care we deem necessary. That being said, if we don’t think the treatment is necessary we are not going to pay for it. Sounds reasonable doesn’t it? It sounds a lot like what we have been promised in the United States doesn’t?

Think back to 2010 and the US healthcare bill that was passed….the one that we had to pass to find out what was in it. There was talk of death panels; some secret panel that would be created which would decide whether or not the government would allow a procedure. There were a lot of people making fun of conservatives for thinking this was possible.

Well, over the last week, we’ve probably all heard about Baby Joseph. Baby Joseph is a 13 month old child to Moe Maraachli and Sara Nader of Windsor, Canada. Unfortunately, Baby Joseph is suffering from a serious neurological disorder. The Canadian hospital wants to take the baby off the ventilator which would lead to his death in minutes. The child’s parents want him to receive a tracheotomy which will extend his life by possibly as much as six months. They would then like to take him home where he can live out the remainder of his short life. A tracheotomy is a procedure in which a small incision is made on the front of the neck allowing a small air tube to be inserted.

Parents…none of us should have to bury our children. Unfortunately, we know it sometimes happens. This family is now faced with a struggle of unimaginable proportions. The baby has the ability to live longer if something simple like a tracheotomy is given to him. That would buy the family additional weeks if not months to spend time with their child yet the hospital is refusing the procedure.

My mom suffered a brain aneurysm 10 months ago. I was told in the emergency room that my mom was going to die. We had her life flighted to a specialty hospital in Denver and they saved her life. Today she is recovered and is doing wonderfully. The surgeon told me in the days following her surgery that these miralces won’t happen after the new healthcare system is implemented. He said that there WILL be red tape, reviews, more control over who receives what services. I really hope he’s wrong though because God, the medical staff and that hospital are the reasons that I can still hug my mom today. I hope that the future families are as blessed as we are.

Some readers may know who Brock Lesnar is. If you don’t he’s the former heavyweight Ultimate Fighting Champion and a fan favorite. In 2009 he became very ill and had extreme abdominal pain. He sought emergency help at a Canadian medical facility and when he felt as though he wasn’t getting any help he asked his wife to quickly drive him back to the United States for health care. He went to the Mayo Clinic and was found to have a severe case of diverticulitis. His intestine had perforated allowing feces to leak into his body. Today, Lesnar criticizes the Canadian healthcare system and has urged President Obama and the lawmakers to repeal the changes. He cites his experience as a key reason. He refers to the Canadian facility as providing 3rd world medical care and praises his wife for saving his life by taking him back to the US for treatment.

I know everyone reading this will have other examples that they’ve heard. Brock Lesnar, while a great athlete and a fit individual, is not without controversy. However, don’t let that take away from his message.

Baby Joseph though? How could any of us put ourselves in the shoes of his parents and criticize them for wanting to spend a little more time with their child? The Canadian hospital has gone so far as to take this matter to the Canadian court where Joseph’s parents were ordered by the Canadian government to allow removal of the life support so that their child would die. Is that what we’ve signed up for with government run healthcare?

I recently found an article posted on another blog (medibid). The article was written by a Canadian physician. I urge you to take five minutes to read it. He talks a little about the rationing of healthcare and the consequences that he saw personally.

For now, we have government healthcare ramping up for its effective date. We need to make sweeping changes or we will see situations like the ones that Baby Joseph and Brock Lesnar experienced; but these will be happening right here in the US. This is not what the people of the US wanted but I’m certain it’s what we’re all going to get.

BTW, did Charlie Sheen really test clean? No drugs or booze? Maybe he is just high on Charlie. Nahhhhhhh.

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Evan
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 12:23:59

    Are you referring changes in the US or Candadian health care system, Sqeaky? My understanding was that the vast majority of US citizens would still be with their insurance companies, and for them, nothing is going to change. Not that that is a good thing – we see stories all the time about insurance companies denying treatment, leading to death or worse. Really, it is a case of pick your poison – do you want to be screwed by a billion dollar insurance company, or the government?


  2. The Angry Squirrel
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 13:34:30

    Ah Squeaky, you bleeding heart conservative you. Evan already took my only response that they Baby Joseph scenario is almost likely to play out the same way with private insurance that likely would not want to shell out the money for the procedure as since it will extend the baby’s life a mere six months they are likely to deny covering it. Granted there is a small chance it would be different, but I’d put my money on the outcome being the same.


  3. Squeaky
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 14:58:40

    @Evan, I’m referring to changes in the US healthcare program. You’re correct that the government has said people will be able to keep their healthcare plan. I’ve also heard that the bill contains a lot of features that companies must adhere too which will make it hard for them to stay in business. The reasoning is easy. The government needs to get people from all walks of life on their books or they will lose money terribly. If they don’t get good risk and only acquire those with poor health the law of large numbers/economies of scale will never be met.

    A tracheotomy is normally just over $1000 so it isn’t an expensive procedure like a knee replacement, back surgery, etc. I find it extremely difficult that a US Company wouldn’t approve that procedure in today’s environment. The negative press would far outweigh the costs of that.

    @Squirrel, you know me! I don’t have any hard core proof about an insurance agreeing to the trach, but in my experiences in the insurance industry they would be stupid not to. It’s a lot different when you’re dealing with a government agency. (Think of the DMV, post office). Service with a smile and customer retention is not high on their list.

    The Canadian system—I don’t want it. The US Government system, I don’t want it. I hope I can keep my Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. Evan, I hope that you’re right and I’m wrong and I’ll be able to keep my private insurance. Time will tell.


  4. Evan
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 15:36:44

    Squeaky, believe me – a company would and does deny a $1000 treatment. I unfortunately see that with some frequency. Under the current ERISA laws, there is very little recourse. Internal appeals procedures are lip service, and outside appeals are limited.

    And don’t feel bad for the poor insurance companies. Small business rates around here were going up 30% year after year, before the law, and went up again after. The Blues – just around here – have almost a $6 billion surplus.

    The point being, there is way too much propaganda about what the plan is and what it isn’t. There was a study a while back about how terribly misinformed the public is regarding what is in the healthcare law (no thanks to certain parts of the media that wants to get everyone riled up). In the beginning, it was a government plan that was proposed. That got gutted by the opposition, and what was left was a plan with just more money going to the insurance companies. The sad part is that we’ll never get something better, because the insurance lobby is one of the most powerful ones in the country.


  5. Evan
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 16:06:18

    Squeaky, by any chance did you first see this story first on Fox and Friends? If so, that would explain the misunderstanding about the U.S. law (there have been several stories about how dishonest they were the other day with their portrayal of the Baby Joseph story).

    In fact, the law is not a government run healthcare plan. The bulk of the plan is still private insurance provided by insurers. For the rest, the law sets up private “exchanges” where private insurance companies compete to provide coverage to those who don’t have it. And There is NO public option – there is no government insurance plan that competes with private insurers.

    This story is the classic one that if you (not you specifically, but “you” in the general sense) tell a lie long enough and loud enough, people just accept it as fact. It absolutely blows my mind the number of people who think this is a government health plan. The lies in this case are the terms that one network likes to use, like “socialized health care.” The government is regulating the carriers more (such as prohibiting discrimination against preexisting conditions), but the government is not providing insurance under the plan.

    Fox also left out the other side of the story about the baby’s condition, and whether the procedure would help or hurt it.

    More and more, I lose respect for Fox News, and understand why the recent study that quizzed people on different facts (such as which president started the TARP bailout of the auto industry, whether the stimulus plan included tax cuts, and whether their own income tax rate increased) found that Fox viewers were SIGNIFICANTLY more misinformed as to facts. It had nothing to do with political leaning, as even Democrats who watched Fox were significantly more misinformed. I had a healthy dose of Fox News watching while out of town with family this weekend, and now understand why some people get so riled up. I sat there most of the time with my jaw hanging open, and wondering whatever happened to critical thinking by viewers?


  6. Squeaky
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 16:50:53

    Evan, no….I haven’t seen any TV coverage of the Baby Joseph situation. I have been sick and nearly hospitalized last week with some respiratory issues. When Kos emailed me and told me this was my week I went to Drudge and picked the topic that pissed me off more than anything else. In this case it was that Canada denied the care for a baby that could live 6 months longer in the arms of his parents. I googled it and read some more stories, almost all were Canadian websites. Then I put my thoughts together.

    Evan, I can tell you’re soured toward insurance companies and I understand why. I had an extremely negative experience on the one and only HMO I ever had. Now I choose PPO every time and that is how I want to continue. I want to be the one in control of my healthcare. I don’t want an HMO review board, I don’t want a government agency or a court. I pay a higher premium, but I still have some control.

    Not all insurance companies are out to screw everyone either. I’ve had great experiences with most of mine. Some people are in a position where they see the negative aspects though. When I was a cop, I would likely never met someone nice and upstanding like you, Kosmo, Squirrel, etc. I dealt with crap nearly all the time. When I actually got waived to with someone that had more than one finger extended I’d have to take a second look to make sure I saw that right. Evan, you’re get to the see insurance companies at their worst.

    You and I will never see eye to eye on this and that’s OK. I respect your opinion and I understand the basis. I still don’t want the government messing in my healthcare and I hope you’re right that I can keep my PPO.

    BTW, you are right though. Normally I do watch Fox News. Fair and Balanced baby! =)


  7. Lacey
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 17:06:32

    Hi Squeaky,

    I just noticed that you posted an old link to the editorial by Dr. Kurisko (the Canadian physician who moved to the US becuase he felt sending people to the back of a long line was unreasonable).

    Our blog has moved. Here is a link to the article (same one) on the new website:

    I’m glad you liked Dr. Kurisko’s editorial! Have a great day!


  8. Onij
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 22:46:24

    @Squeaky – its been riveting watching how you rationalize things.


  9. Pierre
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:41:15

    Before throwing stones Squeaky, best to check out the Texas case of Sun Hudson. If there was any hope or medical reason that a tracheotomy would save the life of this poor child, our system would do it. That is why not ONE U.S. hospital is willing to take baby Joseph, as they know the case is futile. A world leader in this are has stated that LHSC is done everything they could do for this child. Cherry picking it and using it as argument against Gov’t health INSURANCE, which is what we have, is just wrong.

    And by the way, Lesnar was in a remote Manitoba area, where he went to a small rural hospital. Compared to any big city hospital in any country, probably did appear 3rd world. It is no different in a small, remote U.S. hospital. I always find it strange that Americans are quick to cherry pick stories, that don’t amount to real evidence, yet ignore the hard facts of the real numbers when the two systems are compared.


  10. wuzafuzz
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 15:00:49

    This site is the first time I heard anything about the Baby Joseph story so I can’t comment on that. What I can do is share the opinions of my family members who live in Canada, or moved to the U.S from Canada.

    All of them despise the Canadian health care system. One of them suffers a congenital heart defect. He had to wait two years for a life saving surgery. In the meantime he circled the drain expecting to die at any moment. You see, they placed him on a waiting list behind people with lesser conditions. Triage? Nope: “we have rules.” In the meantime he endured repeated heart attacks requiring local paramedics to respond. Many of those required a life flight on a helicopter. Over the years he waited they probably spent more money on paramedics and airlifts than the surgery cost. Eventually he got his surgery and is still alive and kicking. His survival depended on luck more than doctors. At least he was lucky.

    If that wasn’t convincing enough, let me share the story of two cousins. Number one lives in the U.S., number two in Canada. Within months of each other they were diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. The exact same condition for both with nearly identical prognosis. Number one was treated by doctors in Los Angeles. There were some scary times but he is doing great now. He has been in full remission for several years and expects many more years of life. Number two visited doctors in Canada. He didn’t survive more than a few months.

    The Canadian health care system SUCKS. The Canadians I know despise it. The few that accept it probably have no idea what miracles routinely worked by U.S. doctors. There is much to complain about with some of our insurance plans and medical costs. But at least we can hope for good care. Canadians’ only hope is to make a run across the border..


    Mar 11, 2011 @ 00:40:27

    Hiya folks! I’m the other 40Tech meat and also happen to be a Canadian, and I have to say, while the Canadian health care system isn’t perfect, I wouldn’t give it up in favour of the US system. The Swiss system, maybe… but nothing else. I’m not just your average Canadian, either — not in this situation — my wife actually works in health care. In the emergency room, no less. I had her read through the article and comments and she came close to mild apoplexy at least twice.

    I’ll try to address things in some semblance of order:

    – On the Baby Joseph thing, I’m only able to go on what was written here, and so won’t talk in depth about that. My wife informs me, though, that a trache surgery is only the tip of the iceberg (yeah, yeah…. Canadian, iceberg. Haha.). What about all of the care afterward? Is that going to be done in their home? Without 24hr health service? Probably not. I can understand that parents would do anything to be with their child just a little while longer. I have a 2 year old that I would do anything for, and I can’t imagine what those poor people were going through. However, the quality of life for that child over those -possible- six months would not be very good. It could even be considered cruel. And from a government finance perspective, they may feel it is irresponsible to spend the taxpayers’ dollars in this way.

    Again… I am only speaking based on what was written here.

    – Rural hospitals suck everywhere. I grew up in a town of 1400 people. The hospital was like a large clinic with overnight beds. It’s the same in the backwoods of the US, I’m sure. I’ve seen Doc Hollywood… 😛

    – The plain fact of the matter is, in Canada, we have public health care for every citizen. If I need a CT scan — hell, if a homeless person needs a CT scan — there is no bill in the mail after the fact. If I break my arm, I get a cast, even if I’m broke. Excuse the puns… My friend — an American — broke his arm, got screwed over by his insurance company (or made a mistake and screwed himself, depending on if you ask him or the company), and ended up being hounded for months by bill collectors. That never would have happened here.

    I will say, however, that US doctors are often better equipped to deal with extreme healthcare situations. Much of this is due to money. In Canada, doctors — at least in comparison to US doctors — get paid sweet diddly. The crazy amounts of money US doctors can command comes with a very high level of expectation and accountability, especially in the US’ litigation-happy culture. That is not to say that Canadian doctors are backwards idiots, though. There are good and bad doctors everywhere. No matter where you go people get misdiagnosed. At least here, you are getting misdiagnosed for free. We do like the idea of being able to go down south to get “superdoctor” help if we need it — and can afford it — though.

    That said, we don’t want the US style of healthcare as much as you appear to not want ours. I think it falls under the purview of liking what you’re used to. I don’t know whether the changes to the US system will be good or bad in the end, but I support the concept of poor people being able to get help when they need it, and not having to go bankrupt or worse as a result.

    Oh, and on a complete side-note: Fox News is an absolute insane crock of drivel. Yes, I said drivel. Harsh words have been spoken. 😛


  12. Lacey
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 10:30:48

    Hi Bobby,

    I think the problem here isn’t with the Canadian emergency room, but with getting access to specialty care. I work with several Canadians who now live in the USA, including a few doctors, and they all moved here because of the Canadian health care system, but also all agree the problem is not with the emergency rooms (other than the looooong waits some of them have).

    I’ve heard a lot of people share Wuzafuzz’s opinion that the chances of dying due to lack of care in Canada are higher because once your General Practitioner (Primary Care Provider, as we call them in the US) says “yes, you need to see a specialist,” the wait can be more than a year. That’s a year of pain, worry, and possibly death from not catching something soon enough to fix it.

    Here is a Canadian’s view on the subject after a breast lump was found and she had to wait:

    I do agree with you that the poor need care. I absolutely think we need a better system for the poor and elderly in the US, but I don’t think the current plan to move towards the Canadian system is the right answer, either. I also support, as you said, the ability to get care when we need it. I don’t think enough Canadians get care when they need it (again, not including ER) because of lack of access and I work for a company trying to show that in the US access is readily available and the prices (when you get away from insurance company games) are really not anywhere near as bad as you might think. We just lack the transparency here in the USA for anyone to know that.


  13. Pierre
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 13:25:47

    Hi Lacey:

    The video you posted is based on care from 1992. Things have greatly changed in cancer treatment wait times, in particular, breast cancer screening and treatment since then. If a breast tumor is detected, biopsies occur within a few days or immediate. Surgery within days. Chemo immediately after recovery. Check out Princess Margarat Hospital in Toronto and their treatment protocol. They biopsy same day of discovery. Looking at 5 year breast cancer survival rates, according to the 2009 cancer stats, Canada’s is 87% and the U.S. is 88%.

    For the Canadians that wait, they are not waiting for urgent, life threatening surgery. We are waiting for elective procedures such as knee replacement, etc. As someone who works in a medical related field, patients receive urgent care and operations immediately. Can we do a better job at getting people their elective surgeries faster, yes, but under a public umbrella. Wait times are greatly exaggerated. A comprehensive, non-biased, wait time reports have been done showing that average wait times to see a specialist across Canada is 4 weeks, while surgery wait times also being reported as 4 weeks. Here’s the link.

    I appreciate that you ‘know’ a couple of docs that prefer the U.S.’s for profit system, but the VAST majority of Canadians physicians I work with prefer the single payer system. I also know a number that have returned to Canada after practising in the U.S. They got to the point where they were sick and tired of fighting with the insurance companies to get routine tests and procedures covered by their carriers. That does not happen in our system. You mentioned that all the people you work with moved here because of our healthcare system. I find that hard to believe. It had nothing to do with a job offer in the States maybe?

    For Wuzafuzz’s tall tales, they are anecdotal and mean nothing. Knowing a couple of Canadians that don’t like their system doesn’t stack up to the 85% of Canadians who have been more than satisified with their treatment and the 90% that support our single payer system. Trying to label a system as ‘sucking’ based on that he knows 2 people diagnosed with cancer, with the Canadian dying, is laughable at best. We have no clues to the details, such as stage of disease, age of on set, etc. The story of knowing someone having ‘a number of heart attacks’ yet not getting surgery is also simply very hard to believe. My cousin received an angioplasty the day after his heart attack.

    Its very easy to be on the outside and make conclusions about our system from a few others or from anecdotal stories. That is very short sighted. Given the choice of leaving our lives in the hands of an insurance company or our system, over 90% have said our system every time.


    Mar 11, 2011 @ 19:27:02

    Here here Pierrer — and another here here from my wife. 🙂


  15. kosmo
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 14:38:41

    I’m a bit on the fence on this issue, My thought it that one set of people would prefer the American style, while others would prefer the Canadian style.

    I do have one question for Canadians, though – do you see a lot of people going to the doctor for things like a common cold? It doesn’t make sense to go to a US doctor for this, since you’re paying a co-pay, deductible, or more just to have the doctor tell you to rest and drink orange juice … but if it were free, perhaps more people would?

    US emergency rooms can’t turn away patients, regardless of ability to pay (although the hospital CAN bill them and attempt to recover on the debt). I think the intent may have been to avoid having people died of a gunshot wound simply because they didn’t have insurance – but one effect is that some people have turned the ER into their “free” primary care physician – at great expense for the hospital (i.e. passed along to other patients).


  16. Squeaky
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 16:58:49

    Seriously Kos??? I think these Canadians are on freaking crack. Keep your government healthcare. Keep your government managed anything. I want to be the one in control. Lacy may have published an older video but are you saying there has been an overhaul in Canadian medicine since then? Are you saying that the government has two sets of standards? One for rural institutions and one for metro? If the medicine organizations were profit driven that would make sense, but this is a government run institution. The benefits should be the same regardless of where you go—kind of like McDonalds—-you get the same burger in Fresno that you get in Philly.

    You guys are entitled to your opinions, but if things are so great in Canada feel free to go there and have your government handouts. I don’t want any part of it.


  17. kosmo
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 21:36:23

    I think it depends where you’re starting from. You and I have decent options for health insurance.

    On the other hand, let’s say you don’t have health insurance through your employer. Let’s further say that you’re at risk for heart disease, cancer, or something else. This is a segment that I think might go for the Canadian system.

    I don’t know a lot of Canadians, but the ones I know general seem to be OK with the system.


  18. Squeaky
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 07:18:43


  19. kosmo
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 07:56:13

    “Are you saying that the government has two sets of standards? One for rural institutions and one for metro? If the medicine organizations were profit driven that would make sense, but this is a government run institution. The benefits should be the same regardless of where you go—kind of like McDonalds—-you get the same burger in Fresno that you get in Philly.”

    Yes, I would expect different levels of care and different equipment in a major metro area versus a small rural area. It boils down to allocation of assets. It would be nice for every village to have an on-site neurosurgeon and the very top end equipment, but multiply this by ten thousand (fifty thousand?) locations and it quickly becomes prohibitively expensive, even for a government. I would expect the hospitals in major metro areas to be handle pretty much anything, with the smaller locations able to handle a lot of things, but transferring the most difficult cases to the bigger city hospitals. It’s a very good question as to why Brock Lesnar wasn’t transferred to a different facility.

    I think things are a bit different for McDonalds. They aren’t going to have assets going unused 90% of the time.


  20. Lee Kurisko
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 18:23:39

    I am the doctor that squeaky alluded to in his blog that commented on rationing of Canadian health care. A point that people commonly overlook in this debate is that most health care dollars should not be controlled by government or insurance companies. It should be controlled by YOU just as you control the expenditure of dollars in every other area in your life (except of course public education and other government programs but that is for another time). The tracheostomy for Baby Joseph is a fairly inexpensive procedure. In a true free market, it would probably be even cheaper. At Medibid, we are getting MRI scans for people for a little over 300 dollars whereas in the third party pay system, hospitals are charging insurance companies over 2000 dollars. The point is that markets can work to drop cost if you allow them to do so. This does not negate the proper role of insurance which is to compensate for large unexpected financial losses. You want insurance if your house is burglarized or burns down; not for floor wax and kitchen renovations. Insurance that covered such things would be incredibly expensive. And yet, this is the situation in American health care with first dollar or near first dollar coverage with insurance. Obamacare will exacerbate this problem, not solve it. The correct question should not be “Do we want American or Canadian health care” because both are highly flawed. The most basic question should be, “Do we want third parties controlling our money or do we want to control it ourselves.” Both the American and Canadian systems are forms of socialism where the majority of the control is removed from the individual. See:


    • Evan
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 08:59:50

      Perhaps the answer is a combination of something like Medibid, somehow funded by insurance, if that could be made to work. Because really, even a $300 MRI scan is too expensive for most of the people that I see on a daily basis. Opening this up to a free-for-all is great on paper, but just isn’t going to work for the guy making minimum wage or close to it.


  21. Squeaky
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 20:06:57

    Thank you for posting Dr. Kurisko. The last couple of years has really opened my eyes to government run healthcare. You referred to people being in control of their healthcare dollars and my first HMO taught me that. When you think about Social Security, it’s the same scenario for me. I’d rather have control over my my earnings and how my money is invested. Social Security needs to be privatized and healthcare needs to remain privatized. The fact that you’re giving $300 MRI’s is completely amazing to me.

    When I was younger, I didn’t understand government run programs and the issue with allowing someone else control of my finances. I think It first started really clicking for me in my early to mid 30’s. Life experiences certainly play a part in that and I sure hope that everyone has those experiences that help them understand what you’re so boldly professing.

    Hopefully people will soon understand the shortcomings of a government run healthcare and not ruin what we have. In this case, the green looks greener but it sure isn’t. Repeal Obamacare!



    • Evan
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 09:01:37

      Squeaky- which part of the new system is “government run,” that you don’t like (and affects you)?


  22. kosmo
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 22:03:24

    $300 MRIs certainly are impression. When I had one done last year, I think it was around $1200 or so. (They examined my head and found nothing).



  23. MediChick
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:29:45

    The prices we get on MediBid are about 1/4 of the ‘billing rate’ which is what goes on the bill to the insurance company. Not even the insurance companies pay that $1,200 or $2,000 for an MRI, they pay a percentage which they negotiate, which means the average person shouldn’t be expected to pay full price, either.

    Not all facilities and doctors will be transparent with their prices, but many are thrilled to be able to name their own price, even if it is $300 for a normally $1,200 ‘billing rate’ MRI. Billing rates are a game and many doctors and facilities are happy to not have to play because it can be expensive.

    And yes, there will always be people who can’t pay the $300, which is why we will need to still have some form of government program. But I have a hard time believing people when they say they can’t pay for medical care when they have a smart phone and a big screen TV. Too many Americans that are for Obamacare fall into this group that think a phone is more important than their health, and the promise of ‘guaranteed’ health care gives them a false sense of entitlement.


  24. kosmo
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:40:45

    My MRI was $1732. Insurance paid $998. The entire ER trip (including MRI) was $3085. Insurance paid $1666.

    “But I have a hard time believing people when they say they can’t pay for medical care when they have a smart phone and a big screen TV. Too many Americans that are for Obamacare fall into this group that think a phone is more important than their health, and the promise of ‘guaranteed’ health care gives them a false sense of entitlement.”

    I’m in full agreement with this statement.


    • Evan
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 13:24:14

      I’m in agreement with that statement, too, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are bad apples everywhere. Does that mean that every good system should be killed?

      Honestly, although I play devil’s advocate a good bit, I haven’t made up my mind on this issue. Is health care something too important to be left to the mercy of someone’s economic wellbeing? Or should people be responsible for their own situation, and not look to the government for a handout?

      While Medibill sounds interesting, I’d be very shocked if it would be sustainable on a larger scale. I deal with lots of doctors in my work, and many of them moan about their practices not being sustainable at the current insurance reimbursement rates. I’m sure cutting out insurance would reduce some overhead (paperwork, etc.), but would it really be enough to support even lower rates?


  25. MediChick
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 15:03:43

    That’s why doctors name their own prices on MediBid. If it isn’t cost effective for them to do an MRI for $300, no one is asking them to do it for that price. They get a notification about a patient and what they need, then decide if they want to submit an offer to them with a price and what is or isn’t included. Patients can get these offers from several doctors or facilities, review profiles and prices, and select the one that is right for them. It creates transparency in the system, not price fixing.


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