Forget ObamaCare, RyanCare, Or Any Future ReformCare – The Healthcare System Is Completely Broken

Monday, March 27, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,
ZeroHedge.com
Mar 27, 2017

It’s time to start planning for what we’ll do when the current healthcare system implodes.

As with many other complex, opaque systems in the U.S., only those toiling in the murky depths of the healthcare system know just how broken the entire system is. Only those dealing daily with the perverse incentives, the Kafkaesque procedures, the endlessly negative unintended consequences, the soul-deadening paper-shuffling, the myriad forms of fraud, the recalcitrant patients who don’t follow recommendations but demand to be magically returned to health anyway, and of course the hopelessness of the financial future of a system with runaway costs, a rapidly aging populace and profiteering cartels focused on maintaining their rackets regardless of the cost to the nation or the health of its people.

Ask any doctor or nurse, and you will hear first-hand how broken the system is, and how minor policy tweaks and reforms cannot possibly save the system from imploding. Based on my own first-hand experience and first-hand reports by physicians, here are a few of the hundreds of reasons why the system cannot be reformed or saved.

Say 6-year old Carlos gets a tummy-ache at school. To avoid liability, the school doesn’t allow teachers to provide any care whatsoever. The school nurse (assuming the school has one) doesn’t have the diagnostic tools on hand to absolutely rule out the possibility that Carlos has some serious condition, so the parents are called and told to take Carlos to their own doctor.

Their pediatrician is already booked, so Carlos ends up waiting in the ER (emergency room). Neither the school nurse nor the parents see the symptoms as worrisome or dangerous, but here they are in ER, where standards of care require a CT scan and bloodwork.

Hours later, Carlos is released and some entity somewhere gets an $8,000 bill–for a tummy-ache that went away on its own without any treatment at all.

Since the Kafkaesque billing system rewards quick turn-arounds, observation is frowned upon unless it can be billed. So if observation is deemed necessary (to avoid any liability, of course), Carlos might be wheeled into an “observation room” filled with other people, where a nurse pops in every once in a while. This adds $3,000 to the bill.

(Never mind the stress on Carlos being in such unfamiliar surroundings; he might have felt better if he hadn’t been subjected to the anxieties that come with being enmeshed in the healthcare system’s straight-jacket of standards of care.)

If Carlos doesn’t feel better after all this, then the bill is set to balloon bigtime because an overnight stay in the hospital is the next step–and if there isn’t a 100% certainty that there is no chance of his stomach-ache becoming something serious, then the system will insist on overnight observation as the only legally defensible option.

There are other ways to increase the fees without actually providing additional care; was Carlos receiving “critical care”? Of course he was, because, well, it pays better, and by definition any ER visit is critical care.

This example is just the tip of the iceberg, but you get the point: all institutional care decisions ultimately revolve around thwarting future liability claims and maximizing the billing value of each interaction or procedure.

The Rest…HERE

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