Billy Fuster sent this over. It’s pretty thought provoking:
“Notwithstanding any other provision in state or federal law, a person who presents themselves while uninsured to any provider of a medical good or service shall not be charged a price greater than that which Medicare pays for the same drug, device, service or combination thereof.”
If you want to add a penalty clause with it I propose the following:
“Any bill rendered to a person in excess of said amounts shall (1) be deemed void, with all services and goods provided as a gift without charge or taxable consequence to said consumer but not deductible by said physician or facility from any income or occupational tax and (2) is immediately due to the customer in the exact amount presented as liquidated damages for the fraud so-attempted.”
It ends the “Chargemaster” ripoff game.
It ends the $150,000 snake bite or the $80,000 scorpion sting.
It ends the $500,000 cancer treatment.
It ends all of that, immediately and instantly.
I remind you that Medicare is required to set pay rates by law at a level that in fact are profitable — that is, above cost by a modest amount — for everything it covers. Further, those pay rates are audited regularly to prove that they in fact are above cost.
Does this solve every problem? No, and in fact that would leave alone the existing monopolistic pricing systems that many medical providers, whether they be drug makers, device makers, service providers or otherwise have in place. It would do exactly nothing to get rid of the 10 paper pushers hired for every doctor or nurse, none of whom ever provide one second of care to an actual person through their entire time of employment.
But it would instantly end walking into an emergency room and getting hammered with a $50,000 bill for something that Medicare will pay $5,000 for.
More at Market Ticker. (The comment section hashes out pros and cons and flaws and solutions.)