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

Re: Yet Another Telco Tax Proposed

Gene S. Berkowitz (
Sun, 24 Oct 2004 03:10:35 -0400

In article <>,

> 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
> $5,000.

> 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.

> --Gene

> [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]

Money well spent, I'd say. How much were you out of pocket?


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: In total, about five thousand dollars.

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