So, where does our health care money go?
My wife has diabetes and was urged by her doctor to attend a series of self-care classes at our local hospital, part of the Sutter chain. First, she had a half-hour individual consultation. Then she attended a series of four 2-hour classes in a group of 6 or 7 patients on Wednesday afternoons. She was told that they "would bill Medicare." The classes were taught by a nurse.
Billing for the first visit, $280. Billing for each class, $400. Total, $1,880.
Seems like 6 students in a 2 hour class taught by a nurse, billed out as $2,400, or $9,600 for the set of 4 classes, might cover the salary of that nurse plus overhead - even at the inflated rates of pay for nurses at this hospital.
By mistake they sent the bill to our old insurance company, which excluded $470 of the charges, so the private insurance charge would be $1,410. Some hard bargaining there....
This is the same hospital that charged $13,000 for an abdominal CT scan.
So, tell me whether or not we need health care reform???? The market, she not working too well. But, alas, our just-passed health care reform will not touch this kind of billing at all. Health care reform? Not really - mostly enhanced coverage and money for clinics and some experiments in research and organization in health care that gores nobody's ox. A disgrace, really.