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Tonight's show meanwhile.
My next guest 26000.
Word article an opus on the topic of how high health care costs are mounting it's getting lots of attention.
And it happens to be the cover of time magazine this week his in depth report sheds light on wire medical bills are killing us literally joining me now time contributor Stephen -- thanks for coming on the show tonight are you.
I read the article I was just blown away by so much re search into it.
And -- say we're really focusing on the wrong thing we've been focusing on who pays for health care not how much the bill is its.
Right exactly with all the debate over Obama -- no matter which side you -- on it was all about.
Whether the private sector should be involved in insurance for the government should be mandating insurance but.
It didn't focus on the core issue which is why is all the stuff cost so much -- we'll -- this crisis and what I did was.
I took some sample bills and just followed the money to see.
Who's making all the money and.
Well it was fascinating to see that uncovered the thing you wrote that I thought sort of summed up what you -- saying is that the health care market is not a market at all it's a crapshoot.
Everyone -- differently based on circumstances they can neither control nor protect.
So I don't it's fascinating that he would have a Medicare patient you would have somebody with no insurance you have somebody with insurance and the bills were all dramatically different.
Totally different and and ironically in its new shocks on your audience the most efficient by -- and administrator.
Health care insurance is Medicare.
Well the costs are certainly allow us the cost of the lows they also.
-- process the claims most official initiative they do that.
By contracting had to guess who the private sector.
-- -- about the charge master I never heard this described before.
So in your article you talk at length about hospitals have this book and they go to I guess.
Which has a list of the prices but as you can see they often charge patients up to ten times the cost of an item.
In what's going.
Well we think of our local hospital is this wonderful -- charitable nonprofit institution.
When in fact they make tons of profit.
They just have official tax exempt status as nonprofit institutions in the charge -- the engine of that profits.
List of six or seven or 5000 items everything ranging from.
You know the aspirin that they give you -- the little paper -- that you have the water and I used to take the Aspen.
To -- you know thirteen thousand dollar dose of the cancer drug and everything in between and they.
The charge -- or their list prices.
Well -- -- an example from your own story one Tylenol tablet.
Price got a dollar fifty vs a dollar 49 -- -- hundred of them if you go to your local drugstore exactly.
Head's up you know plus hospital and doesn't pay what you would pay your local drugstore more buying power.
But there are things like you know 77 dollar box and -- spreads.
Or a 12100 dollar you know X ray -- -- that Medicare.
Might -- sixty dollars for.
And all let's say Florida if you're not end Medicare you pay more than Medicare shirts -- anything you have insurance your insurance company pays a lot more than Medicare.
And an irony of ironies if you don't have insurance you pay more than your insurance company pays that much more than Medicare is of the people.
Least able to -- -- -- the ones -- charged the most.
None of it makes any sense but as a result the US spends more on health care.
Then these ten countries combined Japan Germany France China the UK Italy Canada Brazil Spain and Australia.
We spend more than everybody we spend 50% more.
On the same prescription drug as any of those countries.
Not have to spend.
And it's because we sort of live in a fantasy that.
That medical care can be a competitive open free market.
When -- senator for not right now well if you go out you know if this government and by a pair of shoes and you look contrition store you can decide.
-- -- she's too expensive and Betty it you can go to another shoe store.
-- with your tobacco attorney Internet does not mean time let's figure out what the price -- every cabinet choices get you there -- You know this story almost didn't get to print because it was commissioned by another magazine entirely what happened.
Well indeed it was always gonna get to print I had done made a decision.
That it was going to be published in the new republic.
And when they told me they were gonna bump it for an interview with President Obama I just -- shifted into one the other magazines that wanted to.
Solutions what do you think is the most important solution out there to this problem which is I believe we have to acknowledged.
Again that it's not the same as you -- -- issues that.
It is a market should it be more like that the Republicans say it should be more like well if if you could pull it off that would be great but the fact is again.
You don't have.
You don't have the freedom you know you -- silver doesn't have to price tax write in and every other developed country in the world.
Whether they're conservative countries a liberal com.
Countries they have price controls or some mechanism.
You know the government.
Is controlling the prices are allowing people to buy their insurance you know -- the government.
I'm not favor that but the system we have right now which you so incredibly depicted in such detail is.
Steven -- thanks for coming on -- that -- allocate your time.
Good to be here.
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