Health care costs are out of control
About a year ago we gave up on what we thought was a great article that would be helpful to lots of people. We wanted to get average costs for common medical procedures from the hospitals that most of us use in Berkeley Springs, Hagerstown, Winchester, Martinsburg and Cumberland. After months of trying, we threw in the towel. Just as well, because that towel would have probably cost $49.95 if it had come from a hospital.
This all came back to us as we listened to Governor Joe Manchin outline his wish list to a roomful of legislators and newspaper people in Charleston last week. The last couple times we've heard the governor speak, he stressed his desire to be able to simply understand a hospital bill. Apparently he's asked hospital executives why patients can't be given a complete, decipherable bill when they leave a medical center. Like the rest of us, he gets a mumbo-jumbo answer.
Manchin would also like people to be able to do some comparison shopping of hospital prices so they know what lab work and typical procedures cost at different places. Let's hope he gets his wish.
On a national level, the Bush Administration seems to have some of the same ideas as a way of cutting those unbelievable medical bills. If something isn't done, a large percentage of Americans will be in hock to the health care community. The situation will only become worse as all those baby boomers get older and develop more medical problems.
When auto makers spend more for health insurance than for steel, you begin to understand how medical care is skewing the entire economy.
We have long believed America needs some kind of national health care system, but the always-rising costs of medical care actually work against this ever happening, because the whole system is out of control.