TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Yet Another Telco Tax Proposed

Re: Yet Another Telco Tax Proposed

Gene S. Berkowitz (
Fri, 22 Oct 2004 23:21:43 -0400

In article <>, says:

> Danny Burstein <> wrote in message
> news:<>:

>> In the continuing tradition of government that try to offload taxes
>> onto third parties (that way they're not "raising taxes", you see ...)

>> California has a very real problem with medical costs. The hospitals
>> and other medical providers provide services, but don't take in
>> anywhere near as much money as they claim to be expending.

>> Hospital and medical finances are such a huge mess they put Enron to
>> shame. Normally this isn't a telecom issue but ...

>> The telco point: The usual folk have pushed forward a fee on telco
>> services to cover the shortfall. Quoting from a VOA clip:

>> "A voter initiative that Doctor Higgins calls a "Band-Aid" could
>> provide a short-term fix, and he supports the measure. Appearing
>> on the November 2nd ballot as Proposition 67, it would raise 500
>> million dollars a year by adding a three-percent surcharge to the
>> cost for telephone calls made in California.

>> To which the curmodgeons retort:

>> "It's the wrong solution for a real problem. This is a phone tax.
>> This is a tax on a service that has absolutely nothing to do with
>> emergency medical care whatsoever.

> It does have some relation. People use the telephone to call the
> emergency services which then deliver them to the hospital.

> But I think too many other taxes have been loaded onto phone bills in
> recent years. In essence it is nickle and diming us to death.

> Now my medical system rant. There are several reasons why medical
> services have gotten so expensive and they have to do with supply and
> demand. Many more people seek medical attention now than they did
> years ago, but infrastructure improves glacially and so cannot keep
> up.

No, that's not it. It has nothing to do with the number of people; more
paying customers would mean more money.

It has much more to do with the services now delivered (and expected):

30 years ago, if you had congestive heart failure, you died of it.
Today, it is routine that a heart bypass operation be performed, at an
average cost of $23,000, or a a minimum, an angioplasty, at around

50 years ago, severely premature infants died. Today, many, if not
most, survive after months of hospital care at an average cost of
about $30,000.

40 years ago, if you were injured, the x-ray was the only diagnostic
procedure besides "tell me where it hurts". Today, tennis elbow is
diagnosed in an MRI, which costs around $2 million to buy, and is
considered as essential in a modern U.S. hospital as bedpans.


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: When I had my two heart attacks back
in the middle 1990's, I lived in the Chicago area and thought the
bills from Northshore Medical Center were pretty awful. There were
angioplasties each time and other treatment as well. But when I got
here to Kansas and had a brain aneurysm (which is more or less a
stroke but not entirely), when I got out of Stormont-Vail Medical
Center in Topeka and the associated Kansas Rehabiitation Hospital
(yes, the nearest brain surgeon was a 125 mile ambulance ride going
down I-70) I got a bill for *three hundred thousand dollars*. Ever
had a hospital or doctor bill with a bottom line of $300,000.00 ?
Not bad, I guess for someone who is comotose for over two months and
in emergency rehabilitation for another month after that. Add about
another $35,000 for a year's stay in a nursing home. How can anyone
afford to get sick these days? PAT]

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