One of the several magazines I subscribe to is Time. It’s skinnier than it used to be and it doesn’t provide as extensive a coverage of the nation’s culture as it used to aspire doing, but it does produce writing of superior quality. At least that’s my opinion. It’s latest edition is devoted largely to a serious and comprehensive investigative report on the nation’s broken healthcare system, an article in four parts by investigative journalist Steven Brill entitled “Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us”.
It is not my intent to parse the article here – it’s extensive, but I will say that it’s written in plain English and with interesting case studies that most can understand and sympathize with. It is my hope that this serious, ground-breaking treatise will make the word “chargemaster” a household name.
Brill’s aim is to answer the question of why America’s healthcare costs too much, which of course it does. He says,
Taken as a whole, these powerful institutions and the bills they churn out dominate the nation’s economy and put demands on taxpayers to a degree unequaled anywhere else on earth. In the U.S., people spend almost 20% of the gross domestic product on health care, compared with about half that in most developed countries. Yet in every measurable way, the results our health care system produces are no better and often worse than the outcomes in those countries.
If you dear reader are, like I am, covered by good health insurance, you will be perhaps interested but not avid in this subject. But if you are one of the millions of uninsured or the inadequately insured (despite ObamaCare), then you should be avid, nay, even terrified by what Brill has to tell us because the system we have today will invariably and by design lead you to penury if you get seriously sick. What we have is not what a health care system should be and he offers common-sense solutions to fix it, if only we can find the political will to do so. You will be surprised, I predict, that he lays blame wherever it belongs and it lands on both parties (although one is more to blame than the other).
This is a nationally important report that I predict will be discussed and referenced for many years to come and I was delighted to find that it, unlike some from Time in the past, has been made available online.