In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org says:
> Danny Burstein <email@example.com> wrote in message
>> 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
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
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]