But that ain't how it works in the healthcare industry, is it? I copied the following straight from Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish, because I thought it was a great view of the kind of efficiency we get by having private insurance companies handle health care instead of the big, bad G.
As Reino's favorite motivational-speaker, fitness instructor Susan Powter would say: STOP THE INSANITY!
I work for a national insurance company and it's my job to pay hospitals
and clinics for services performed. Now when I say pay, you should think of that
in air-quotes. Assume it takes a week for the bill to be routed to the right
person in the right department at my company. Once the bill reaches the right
desk it heads back out. Because before we pay a bill we send it to a 3rd party
company who reviews it to see how much we "really have to pay" for the services.
This is because every state has different guidelines about what services should
cost. This takes a week. Then the bill comes back to us, and if there are no
issues with the hospital's records in our systems we pay the bill then.
However, if there are any issues it comes to me.
It's my job to call the hospital for updated tax forms (because it's
not enough that we know their tax id, we have to have a government form showing
the number). Then I send the records to another company who updates our database
with the information. This takes another week, or longer if I have trouble
getting a hold of the right person at the hospital.
Finally, we pay the bill. During this time the hospital has been
waiting to get paid X number of dollars. Only instead we'll be paying them Y
because that's what the state says is the minimum we have to pay.
So while your readers are being charged $50 for asprin; my company
employs an entire department just to shuffle bills around while they decide what
they will pay the hospital for that asprin.