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Part 4: Health care top-notch, but price is enormous

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  • Need a healthcare fix now!
    Oct. 23, 2009 8:25 a.m.

    Most of us do not plan to get sick, hurt or require extraordinary health care services. Unfortunately, the need often arises. Who pays for this service when the patient is uninsured? We are all required to carry liability insurance on our automobiles. Why not require mandatory healthcare insurance? However, we must make that insurance available to all. Most of us know that the current health insurance providers will not sell personal policies to many of those in need, based upon pre-existing conditions and denials, even for a pre-existing condition as slight as "acne". Perhaps we do need some competative assistance from the government. By increasing the risk pool and providing health insurance on a sliding scale according to income, we could eliminate most of the situations discussed in this article. Maybe we should consider that healthcare services should be available to all citizens, including those who do not have access to a group sponsored program. And, if they are unable to pay, let's consider premiums based upon their income. Also, as consumers of healthcare, we should use the providers of healthcare services responsibly. Consider lower cost ambulatory service options, whenever possible, to keep costs down.

  • Republican health care plan
    Oct. 21, 2009 6:47 p.m.

    1. Don't get sick
    2. If you get sick, DIE QUICKLY!
    That's right, DIE QUICKLY!

  • metamoracoug
    Oct. 21, 2009 6:03 p.m.

    to ambulance chaser:

    Hahahahahaha. That made me laugh! Well-spoken!

  • bluecollar
    Oct. 21, 2009 5:10 p.m.

    if only we lived in a perfect world, where everyone was self-sufficient and nobody made judgement errors and everyone could pay their own way and nobody ever failed to buy health insurance.

    where is that world?

    people make mistakes and fail to plan ahead and sometimes they just make wrong decisions.

    it could happen to you. it could happen to your mother. or someone else that you love.

    what to do?

    the problem is here, the problem is now because it hasn't been fixed and it is getting worse and every day that goes by the chances of it affecting you and making your life or the life of someone you care about miserable increase.

    the compassionate thing to do is for those that can take care of themselves and their own families to help those that are unable or have made poor decisions.

    those who are able and fail to purchase private health insurance the costs for those who do the right thing. part of the baucus plan is to charge those persons a higher tax rate and use those funds to pay for an insurance subsidy for those who are unable.

    seems sensible to me.

  • Anything Good About the Article?
    Oct. 21, 2009 4:04 p.m.

    Where's the usual Intermountain Healthcare lynch mob? Seems pretty silent this go around...

  • We have to fix the system!
    Oct. 21, 2009 3:28 p.m.

    A few years ago I was living with my parents while I saved up for graduate school. While I was living there, my father had a stroke. A week later, my mother had a massive heart attack. My dad recovered pretty quickly, but could no longer work, so we took over paying for their health insurance. My mom ended up in the hospital for months, culminating in heart surgery; and then she developed serious infections that required further surgeries and therapy, all of which spanned about a year and a half.

    I took over their bills for them and it took both of my parent’s Social Security checks plus my entire salary just to pay insurance premiums and the miscellaneous bills (co-pays) that arose. The insurance coverage was great — and so was Medicare but even with all of that, the miscellaneous bills just about killed us — luckily the LDS church helped us out with food — otherwise we literally would have had to choose between eating and paying insurance premiums.

    There has got to be a better way!

  • "Substance Abuse patients"
    Oct. 21, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    Are you kidding me, why should I pay anything towards rehabing druggies who made the choice to use. They ought to be behind bars where hopefully they can't access drugs quite so easily and maybe they would get clean. I have no sympathy for drug users. I want first-class, on-demand healthcare for which I am willing to work and pay and I don't want that placed at risk by those who want a free handout.This is not a communist country,not everyone gets to drive a BMW or Lexus but if you can pay for it, why not.

  • Jeremy Brown
    Oct. 21, 2009 3:19 p.m.

    People are getting health care. The difference is that not everyone is currently paying for it. Written off doesn't mean thrown away. With our current system, when providers and insurers take a loss, taxpayers and those who are currently buying insurance take the hit. If everyone was required to have insurance the burden would be diversified. We're all required to have insurance on our cars, why not our bodies? Those who don't have insurance are risking their health, their financial well-being and by association they risk the health and financial well-being of those who are responsible and DO buy insurance. We MUST have a reform of our health care system.

  • To: Anonymous
    Oct. 21, 2009 3:18 p.m.

    I'm totally opposed to Obamacare and I'm not a Mormon. How do you know who's a Mormon and who's not? What a bigot!

  • @ college graduates
    Oct. 21, 2009 2:41 p.m.

    Presumably you are both young and healthy. Find out what coverage costs for a middle aged cancer survivor.

  • metamoracoug
    Oct. 21, 2009 2:00 p.m.

    to anonymous @ 10:58

    People in other nations spend less on healthcare because they have a healthier lifestyle, not because their healthcare is better.

    As Amercians, we ingest food that is devoid of nutrition. We get in our car to drive two blocks to school, church, work, the store. We never exercise. We never go outside (sunshine is an incredible anti-depressant). We love our neurotoxins (alcohol, tobacco, caffienne, cocaine, etc.). We're indolent and obese.

    Consequently, we suffer from many diseases that are preventable or for which risks can be significantly reduced if we lived a healthier lifestyle, such as cardiac problems, pulminary difficulties, stroke, diabetes, dementia, cancer.

    We have the worst health habits of any industrialized nation. It would only stand to reason therefore that we'd also spend the most on healthcare.

  • Ambulance Chasers
    Oct. 21, 2009 1:55 p.m.

    You can't tell me that tort law doesn't need reform and that the cost to health care is minimal. Somebody who makes the claim that tort law is not a significant contributor to rising health care costs is either ignorant, a liar, an attorney, or all three.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 21, 2009 1:38 p.m.

    For a bunch of do good Mormons, you are all so greedy and selfish. Everyone needs health care at some point in their lives. Pony up and lets get together for reform, universal care for all medical, mental and substance abuse patients!

  • What is the real message?
    Oct. 21, 2009 1:37 p.m.

    It is amazing what our health system was able to do for the individuals in this article! These individual's lives were saved and the quality of life improved dramatically. I expect the equipment, medical staff/physicians, and facilities are all very expensive to provide this treatment.
    At any point prior to the treatments/procedures did any of these individuals ask the question: "sounds expensive, I don't think I can pay for that. What are my other options?"
    As a society, it seems we feel an entitlement to the benefits and privileges of top-notch health care...we just don't want to have to pay for it after it has been provided.
    A few hundred years ago the cost of health care was likely more affortable, then again, it wasn't that great back then...

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 21, 2009 1:32 p.m.

    Re the Draper address | 10:48 a.m. I live in the land of secularism, the Left Coast. Utahans are so quick to condemn and judge others. In Utah, the answer to the question:"Are you your brother's keeper," would be answered by most with no.

    I noticed this meanness growing up in Utah. I had a chance to return to Utah. I love the humanity of secular culture over what exists in Utah.

    This atheist hears the wisdom in:"He without sin cast the first stone." I realize the true test of humanity is understanding the imperfect nature of mankind.

    If given a choice, I would rather pay taxes helping other than enriching KBR's investors.

  • No one thought of this yet?
    Oct. 21, 2009 1:12 p.m.

    Why has no one proposed paying health insurance premiums based on how much you make? For example, if we were asked to pay 5% of our income, the insurance companies would get $2500 from someone who makes $50,000 and $12,500 from someone who makes $250,000. Just like taxes...make more, pay more. And it hurts my bank account just as much as everyone else's, instead of it killing me and it being pocket change for rich people. Or how about reduced premiums for "good behavior," like reduced premiums on auto insurance for a good driving record. If I only had office visits for a whole year, lower my premium. If I was in and out of the hospital, raise my premium. Health care costs need to be more tailored to the specific income and needs of everyone. Maybe I should get into politics since I have all the good ideas :0)

  • college graduates
    Oct. 21, 2009 12:20 p.m.

    My husband and I both graduated from college in April. We both are lucky to have full time jobs but not so lucky because our jobs don't offer health insurance.

    So we had to make sacrifices and figure out our budget to pay for our own health insurance. If two struggling kids just out of college can figure it out I think everyone else can too. It might mean cutting cable and other expenses you don't really need.

  • UofU threats
    Oct. 21, 2009 11:33 a.m.

    We got one of those letters for the UofU Medical center after they had hounded us for weeks over the phone. Our unpaid bill. . . $20 and a billing error on their part to boot. They probably spent two or three times that in man hours trying to collect money from us that we didn't owe them. The whole medical system is jacked-up. Anyone who disagrees hasn't used it for anything major in the last twenty years.

  • Where's the car insurance?
    Oct. 21, 2009 11:33 a.m.

    My daughter squished her thumb in the car door while washing the car. We went to the doctor's and they wouldn't run it through our health insurance -- said it had to be run through the car insurance?!? So where is the car insurance info in this story?

  • confused
    Oct. 21, 2009 11:18 a.m.

    There are a few people here saying it is their fault they didn't have insurance, but it needs to be said again that there is no way he would be approved for insurance with a previous liver transplant. Even if they could have insurance (Probably wouldn’t include her being able to try to better her families life and go to law school), they would still be looking at an outrageous medical bill. It is stuff like this that makes me embarrassed to live in Utah/America and I start looking for a job in Canada. We will fight to the death to have the “right” to a gun, but we Americans will also fight to the death (literally) to NOT have a right to healthcare. It doesn’t make sense to me and I pay/have “great” healthcare.

  • Fine Tune the Article
    Oct. 21, 2009 11:13 a.m.

    Where is the information about auto insurance/liability for the couple who was hit? Even if the driver was under-insured, their own auto insurance should have kicked in. Where is the ambulance chaser in this case? An attorney should have had a field day with this case.

    Cobra does not "run out" in two months. People are eligible for 18 months -- they have to pay the full premium and sometimes that is so steep, they opt to discontinue coverage. Right now, if you are involuntary dismissed from your job, the Feds will cover a portion of your Cobra for 9 months.

    The government rarely runs anything efficiently or effectively -- just look at Fannie & Freddie -- stay out of healthcare.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 21, 2009 11:09 a.m.

    wallofvoodoo:

    how come you aren't complaining about the rich attorneys, hollywood movie stars, and pro athletes who are all overpaid and provide little or no real service in our society?

    Just because you are too lazy (or too stupid) to go to medical school, doesn't mean that twice fooled hasn't earned an occasional round of golf or a BMW (though I bet more likely he drives a Lexus because its a better car). Maybe if you got off your overweight duff, you could take in a round of golf too.

  • metamoracoug
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:59 a.m.

    to the reply to socialized medicine at 9:03 am:

    No offense, but tort reform would dramatically affect the cost of healthcare. Here in Illinois, there was no cap on the dollar amount that could be awarded until about 3 years ago. The consequence? Liability insurance became so outrageously steep that many physicians were leaving the state.

    Physicians need to be accountable for their actions. But they are people too and can make errors in judgment. However, there are very few who are not trying to be the best at what they do, to perform their job to the best of their ability.

    From my perspective, with the exception of teachers, physicians are the hardest working and most underpaid people in our society.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:58 a.m.

    For those of you so judgmental of the Jorgensons, could you please clarify your point? Are you saying that since they didn’t have the money to pay for Jerry’s treatment that they should have let him die?

    Or are you saying that they shouldn’t have eaten anything other than rice and lived anywhere other than in a cardboard box until they had a few million dollars saved up to cover the risk of an uninsurable man’s healthcare expenses?

    These stories drive home the point that the American Healthcare system is in fact broken. America spends 16% of the GDP on healthcare–other industrialized nations spend about 9%. Yet they have better health--they enjoy a lower infant mortality rate and longer life expectancy.

    For the amount of money that we put into the system, we could do better than this.

  • No, the underlying myth is
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:57 a.m.

    No, the REAL underlying myth is that the "market" will fix the problems with cost for health care. The "market" has had its chance and we have oligopolies and monopolies gouging the crap out of us. Saying "we can't do it" ignores what every other industrialized country in the world, EXCEPT US, has been able to do. The facts are in, we spend way more and get poorer results, so what do we do? Let the "market" keep trying to fix itself???

  • The LDS D News?
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:56 a.m.

    Is the DNews the voice of the LDS Church? I wonder where the LDS Church stands on National Health Insurance? How much money would the LDS church save per year not having to pay out medical charity to members that need help that did not have health insurance? This is the second time I am posting this message because the proof readers did not publish the first one. I am betting the Church supports National Health Insurance. Has the Church taken a side? Does anyone know? It seems the DNews runs stories like this one because it may support the way the Church feels about this issue? If the Church wants National Health Insurance will its members be in support too?
    Thanks

  • glenn
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:49 a.m.

    whoops... not the Meeker family but the Jorgenson family.

  • Crazy
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:49 a.m.

    As a person who was hit by an uninsured motorist and left with hudge medical debt, I can tell you that there is no way to get a dime out of them. One call to the ambulance chasing lawyers on TV and you find that there is no insurance money to go after and they won't help you at all. This motorist could have been a hit and run too, so don't judge. Sometimes these motorists file bankruptcy themselves which leaves the injured with no recourse either.
    Private insurance can decline to pay these debts because they should be covered by the one causing the accident. It's a catch-22 and I certainly support laws that arrest uninsured motorists and impound their vehicles.
    The collections efforts of hospitals and Dr's is horrific to go through. Calls all day long demanding payment. I heard many times from Primary Children's Hospital - Medicaid is our charity care, but it is difficult to qualify for Medicaid, the asset limit is very low. As for overuse of ER's - sure it happens, but if you are unconscious, bleeding and dying - no declining.

  • Re the Draper address
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:48 a.m.

    Any of you ever pause to think they're probably living in a Draper basement? Either in a parent's home, or renting a cheap apartment? Yes, they should have found a way to have insurance too, not defending that part of it. Maybe they were just trying to be frugal in many ways - live with parents, don't drive more than they had to (i.e. why they were in a crosswalk in the first place), pay their tuition as they go so they don't wind up with a mountain of student loans, we're very healthy - so we'll risk the insurance thing, and got nailed by some stupid driver.

    Of course, nobody who's ragging on them has EVER made a foolish decision...

  • DCnTN
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:41 a.m.

    To Canada:
    Liam Neeson's wife was a recipient of your healthcare system. Had she been in the US she'd have had a CT scan of her head within hours. Her death was the criminal tradgedy.

    Both systems have shortcomings.

  • metamoracoug
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:35 a.m.

    quick note to "a part of living:"

    You obviously failed to see the staggering amounts that medical providers are writing off to bad debts. A major portion of the reason healthcare costs are high is it's OK to stiff the doctor -- it doesn't affect credit ratings nearly as much as not paying your credit card.

    In our office, about 50% of all co-payments are never collected.

    We have one case in which the insurance forwarded payment to the patient's family rather then to our office. Three letters were sent explaining that they needed to forward that money immediately or we'd send their account to collections. Not a peep from them. The account went to collections and we now have to pay 40% of anything collected to the collection service. Now they call and want to cut a deal. Bottom line, even if they send us the money their insurance sent them, we won't cover the cost of having provided the service.

    Why don't we read stories like that in the newspapers?

  • Remember folks
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:34 a.m.

    It ain't charity if you're spending other people's money.

    And it ain't charity if you are forcing other people to pay for someone else's surgery.

    Sorry, but TRVTH told the truth. You might not like to hear it, but it still is the truth whether you like it or not.

    The reason we have problems with our healthcare system in the first place is that too many people expect health insurance to pay for everything, and do so at a minimal cost. Sorry, but that just isn't possible.

    There is no free lunch. If you expect to receive gold-plated health care but also expect it to be free or even cheap then you expect what has never been and what can never be.

  • Too late folks:
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:28 a.m.

    You live in Utah and you don't see the rest of the world flying by you. You can yap yap yap all day about what should and should not, but too late. George Bush messed things up so bad that the rest of the nation became Democrat. Now, what do you think a majority of Democrats is going to do when it comes time to vote for National Health Coverage?
    It's a done deal. Get on with your life, go out and get the yard ready for winter. Don't waste you energy here. The only good thing that came out of George Bush being in office is the swing of power. Sit back folks, just 7 more years of Obama fixing up the mess that George Bush caused. Yes, I blame him 100%, he was in charge. Clinton handed him the largest surplus we have ever had and he took it and gave it to his rich friends. He had a nice party, ate well and lived like a hog. Well the party is over and Bush just handed you the dinner check. The GOP is the do nothing party!

  • Himself
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:25 a.m.

    To Twice fooled, It is not possible for you to make these statements and then expect us to believe you are a physician. However if you really have a set of facts that can truly deny there is a health care / insurance crisis I suggest you submit a real commentary, with your C.V., to the the Desnews and not lurk here with the other dogs barking in the night.

  • Socialized Medicine
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:22 a.m.

    Wrong and totally presumptious on your part pal. I am from Leeds, the home of great Indian food and the Royal Armouries Museum, just here for a visit. So for my sins I am British and I'd give my eye teeth to live here (that's if I didn't have falsers because the dental care in Britain stinks) and I like your healthcare system. How do you think an Englishman should sound?

  • Ultra Bob 2
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:21 a.m.

    Driving to the Patient Tower I marveled at the beauty of the architectural beauty of the buildings and their accoutrements. Inside, the building was wonderfully modern with large use of space and glass.

    Although the hall way was crammed with numerous pieces of equipment, the patient room was as large as my living room at home. It includes a flat screen TV for the patient and numerous computer screens for monitoring. The bed was the largest, most complicated hospital bed I have ever seen.

    The care was topnotch but somehow I felt that the people who built the building were more interested in spending money for an architectural masterpiece than for delivery of health care. The priorities of how we spend money for health care may need some attention.

  • Heath Care has problems
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:20 a.m.

    I'm very conservative and don't want anything to do with national healthcare. But I have suffered similar experiences with healthcare costs. I've always had insurance and I'm grateful for it. My wife has a chronic illness that requires her to be hospitalized every once in awhile and take expensive medicine. The problem most people have is that it is hard to budget for a medical disaster. Most people are lucky to put a few hundred dollars a week in savings. Even with great insurance, you could easily drain your savings with the costs of co-pays, co-insurance, and medication. I would say my budget for healthcare is over 20% of my income. That doesn't leave much wiggle room for any other financial crisis.

    We need to reduce medical costs, not just getting everyone coverage. If everyone has coverage , that won't reduce costs. It just puts more people into the system. We need to keep people out of our hospitals that don't need to be there. I want healthcare reform that is simple: Pay your fair share, but don't let it bankrupt you if you are paying your share.

  • Ultra Bob
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:19 a.m.

    Recently I had the occasion to take one of my family to the ER at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. They rallied to our need and performed well.

    Having the need, I visited the public restroom at the ER and upon seeing numerous signs warning of the danger of swine flu I expected to find a current state of the art restroom. To my surprise the restroom door required use of a manual handle to exit the restroom. While there were automatic flushes, the sink had normal handles for water like at home.

    The next day I came to visit and tried to find the “main entrance” by following signs. I got lost and went back to the ER. A guard there gave me a map and showed me how to get to the Patient Tower. He gave me a map on a sheet of plastic, say I could keep it cause they had thousands. My thoughts were that the plastic map was a bit extravagant.

  • Stop! Don't Give Me Money!!
    Oct. 21, 2009 10:06 a.m.

    Here's what I don't get about middle-class and low-income Republicans. They don't make a peep when the government gives rich people and big corporations all sorts of bailouts and tax breaks (like the Bush Administration did), but they go ape if anyone suggests that government funds might be used to help regular Americans with things like medical bills. Are you guys masochists, or what? Or do you still believe the long-discredited "trickle-down" fairy tale?

  • Michael
    Oct. 21, 2009 9:59 a.m.

    Questions. Who was at fault for the accident, the pedestrian couple or the driver? Was there any insurance coverage provided by the driver or any law suits against the driver if he was at fault? The article never covered these issues but important to know.

  • Fallacy #2
    Oct. 21, 2009 9:55 a.m.

    I am from Canada. They supposedly have a single payor system there. My family members pay MASSIVE TAXES to support it...as high as 50%. You heard right 50% tax!!! None of my family are any more than middle class either.

    My mother recently had a heart attack. She was rushed to the hospital and stabilized. She sat in bed in a So. Alberta hospital for a WEEK (yes there is those WAITING LISTS) waiting to get "her turn" to get an angiogram.

    Fortunately she was able to be "managed" enough while she waited that she did not have another severe attack causing further damage. Especially in light of the fact that when she got the angio she had a 90% blockage!!!

    She could have died WAITING!!

    Did I mention she rode 2 hours in an ambulance to get to a hospital that THE GOVERNMENT had decided they would provide angiograms? Too expensive to provide at the hospital where she lived. They live 40 minutes from a town of 100 thousand--no angio services.

    Then she went home and immediately had more problems. Back on the WAITING LIST to get a simple stress test!!

    On and on it goes!!

  • wallofvoodoo
    Oct. 21, 2009 9:45 a.m.

    Hey twice fooled, thanks for taking time off from golfing & BMW shopping to enlighten us unwashed masses as to what is real & what is fake in this fight.

  • The Fallacy
    Oct. 21, 2009 9:42 a.m.

    The underlying myth is that if the government provides healthcare it some how becomes cheaper.

    When was the last time ANYTHING was cheaper when it was administered by the government? ANYTHING!!

    People are under the delusion that the government acts like some magic filter after we pay our taxes and then there is suddenly 10 times the money available to pay for your healthcare.

    Here are the facts. The government pays more for healthcare than other entities.

    Just one example. Big pharmaceutical lobbied and got the government to agree in the "Medicare prescription drug act" to include annual increases far above the rate of inflation WITH NO ABILITY TO RENEGOTIATE THE PRICING FOR YEARS!!!!

    This INEPT INCOMPETENT GOVERNMENT-MADE DECISION ultimately cost you TRILLIONS of dollars on the ever increasing deficit.

    Now, this is only for a small portion of Americans. Imagine these types of decisions replicated across the entire population of the country!!

    Special interest groups, lobbyists, and minorites rule Washington. The average American is an afterthought to these incompetent politicians.

    The reality is that a happy medium SHOULD be reached but that is impossible because these politicians do whatever it takes to "purchase" their next re election.

  • BMJ
    Oct. 21, 2009 9:36 a.m.

    "They couldn't afford the premium while she finished law school..."

    Bogus. The truth is, they didn't want to sacrifice to pay the premium. I was unemployed for 8 months and managed to pay my COBRA during that time. We sacrificed, because IMO, you cannot afford to NOT have health insurance.

    "... and he is uninsurable due to a liver transplant in 1997."
    That is an example of a broken system that should be fixed.

  • DNEWS Propaganda
    Oct. 21, 2009 9:28 a.m.

    Here again is the DNEWS sensationalizing the news to match the OBAMA agenda that everyone has a RIGHT to Healthcare....

    The problem with this story is it is the Jorgensen's fault and no one else....My dad used to say that if you cannot afford car insurance you cannot a fford to drive.....The jorgensens could have heeded my dad's advice.

    Buy a smaller house, put off the lavish trips or expenses...eat top ramen but do not go without health ins......why wasn't the truck sited for running these people down!

  • OOPS
    Oct. 21, 2009 9:10 a.m.

    If you can afford law school and live in Draper, you can afford healthcare, unless you just expected the rest of us to pay if the unforseen occurred. The unforseen has a way of occurring and we need to try to be prepared for it. Sorry for your troubles but some of us have to be responsible.

  • Canadian
    Oct. 21, 2009 9:04 a.m.

    Up here in Canada, we don't have any issues like this as no one who live here is considered uninsurable, and furhtermore we pay for our health care through our taxes ... I am not saying that this system is perfect, but after reading that story, any health care system that treats people like that after a tragity is criminal!

  • To: Socialized Medicine
    Oct. 21, 2009 9:03 a.m.

    You are a "Brit" about as much as my dog is. The tort bogeyman, a favorite of the Fox editorial section, has little impact on the system (and its costs) as a whole. Go back to Mr. Hannity and ask him how to do a better job impersonating an Englishman.

  • Midwest
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:58 a.m.

    The estate of the man who caused the accident could have been successfully sued and even if under-insured the man's insurance would have paid out to the limit.

  • Observation-ist
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:49 a.m.

    A few years back we built a home. One of the subcontractors had a very telling statement. He said "Utahns have champagne tastes of a beer budget". Living in Draper is certainly champagne.

    I have great sympathy for people who, through NO FAULT of their own, are experiencing hardship either through job loss or medical expenses, etc. There is NO easy solution. Certainly letting our woefully inefficient government run health care is NOT the answer. Equally certain is that the severe lack of empathy demonstrated by TRVTH is NOT the answer either.

    I frankly am leaning towards making health insurance mandatory just like auto insurance and let companies compete across state lines. We require auto insurance because people generally don't save up enough to pay for the accidents they cause. We're required to have auto insurance to protect us (and others) from unintended consequences of our own (or other's) behavior. The same could be said of health insurance.

    To the Canadian ... people don't flock from around the world to Canada for the finest health care on the planet. They come to America for a reason. Our care is unequalled. Our insurance system is BROKEN!!!

  • Canada
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:42 a.m.

    What a crock True North, your treatment
    wasn't "free". People have to pay taxes to support the system unless of course you're a bum and take advantage but don't contribute then it is free but also "freeloading". Our system may be broken but at least I don't have to wait in line for non-emergency treatment and I get treatment regardless of my age.

  • Twice fooled some more
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:41 a.m.

    We can only have the best care in the world if we can afford it. Period. That means we need wealth and economic freedom. Right now the policies of our govt are destroying that wealth and economic freedom. And no matter how much you want free health care, if our wealth dries up, its gonna be third rate--no matter who pays for it.

    Then you statists and bleeding hearts will be weeping and wailing because you can't get the care you are used to and it will be too late.

    LIVE FREE OR DIE!

    a very concerned, evil rich doctor

  • Midwest Member
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:40 a.m.

    On the driver being responsible for the cost--that's only if the money is there. My neighbor's daughter was hit by an old man who died in the accident. His estate was already titled to his children and they weren't interested in helping out. The dead man, who was under-insured, also hit another car in this accident. The driver of that car was on his way to work. He ended up with a broken neck, broken hip and leg. Our community held a huge fund raiser for both of them, but it didn't begin to cover their costs. A year later, the man is back to work only part-time, and is going to lose his house due to the bills. The neighbor's daughter still suffers from huge bills, lingering injuries and had to drop out of college. Her parent's car insurance wouldn't help out on this, so their daughter was forced to sue their provider, who dropped the parents. She had no health insurance because she was starting graduate school and was too old for her parent's insurance. Both were innocent victims. Both are ruined.

  • Socialized Medicine
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:36 a.m.

    As a Brit,visiting your great country, I can tell you that Americans should rise up and oppose Obamacare, if you care about your loved ones. I pay for private healthcare in England because I have family members with health issues. Sure healthcare in Britain is free but you have to stand in line to get it unless it's an absolute emergency and then it can be too late. Your system is not perfect, far from it but I'll take it over my system anyday. You get the best care here. I think you should reform your tort system instead of reforming your healthcare. Malpractice costs are excessive.

  • Twice fooled again
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:35 a.m.

    This spring I was seeing a patient of mine who is in his first year of med school. I asked him, "Jim (not his real name), what are you thinking? No way I would be headed for medicine right now."

    Him: Oh doc, the system is broken and we have no choice but single payer. I'm the example--my wife needed extensive surgery this January and we are poor students w no insurance. It was extremely difficult.

    Me: Did she get the surgery, and is she better?

    Him: Yes

    Me: Did she get the best care in the world?

    Him: Yes

    Me: Are you still in school?

    Him: Yes

    Me: Are you Bankrupt?

    Him: Oh... I never thought about it that way.

    While our system does have its warts, it is not in "crisis" any more now than it was in the 90s. And most of the problems in the system stem from govt intervention in the first place.

  • The people complaining
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:34 a.m.

    about having to pay for others insurance are the ones first to stand in line when they need help.
    People like TRVTH think they have never received help from anyone, that they did it all by themselves. In fact, TRVTH changed his own diaper, fed himself, paid for all his medical bills, never took unemployment, never got a school grant, and never received financial help from him Mom and Dad. Yes, TRVTH is a self made man, only pays taxes and never takes. He is a fine example of the people in Utah. I think the DN has been reporting on these kind of medical insurance problems because "THE CHURCH" is for National Health Coverage. I wonder how much the LDS church will save every year not having to pay for medical charity that will be covered by National Health Care? Or am I to think that the LDS Church does not help out people with midical needs? I'm sure everyone in Utah will be for National Health Insurance once the LDS Church informs them they should.

  • Twice fooled
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:26 a.m.

    I was in Med school when the Govt tried to go down this road in 93-94. The news during that time was terrifying for those who remember. We heard horror story after horror story like this and we were told that exploding medical costs were going to leave us in the ash heap of history by Thursday if we didn't go single payer by Tuesday. Can you say "Phantom crisis?" Of course, the opposite happened in the intervening years. We had economic expansion and breathtaking advances in medical technology.

    And the propoganda machine stopped. Notice that from that time forward (1994 to Jan 2009) there was nary a word about the "health care crisis." Then, as soon as the new admin took office, the machine started back up and we have been beat up with the message that the "wheels are falling off the bus" again suddenly, unless we socialize this thing.

    Shame on the bleeding hearts and statists who are posting here! Some of us are not drinking your coolaide!

  • True north strong and free
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:13 a.m.

    Knock the Canadian system all you want, Rush, Mark and Sean, but we don't have any uninsured citizens. My kidney surgery and 5 day stay in the hospital resulted in no bill to me. In the U.S. of A. it would have cost $50,000+.

    Your system is broken, just like your justice system that loves to throw everybody in prison. Somebody had better bless America. It is failing fast.

  • Evets
    Oct. 21, 2009 8:04 a.m.

    I started in the health care industry in the 70's and everything is the same except the cost has gone up. These articles act like overwhelming healthcare bills and resulting bankruptcies are something new. Even in the 70's I saw many having to declare bankruptcy to get relief from overwhelming healthcare bills (and it was not new then).
    As to the comments about the cost and the profits in health care, I don't see anyone getting rich in the industry. The overhead costs (personnel, equipment/supplies, education, insurance etc) in the industry are outrageous. The unpaid debt write-off cost is 30 to 40 percent for many offices.
    Do we need reform in the industry? YES. Do we need Obamacare reform? NO! There are ways to handle this but neither side is willing to address any sensible solutions.

  • JustDon'tGetSick
    Oct. 21, 2009 7:56 a.m.

    Yes, the U.S. has great medical care, but unfortunately, we have one of the worst run medical systems in the world. It's great for the wealthy, but unattainable for millions. We have become the laughing stock of the world when it comes to health care for our citizens. The stories in this article are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • BooHoo
    Oct. 21, 2009 7:48 a.m.

    All these sad stories are making me cry. I'm all weepy inside. I can't sleep at night anymore. Obama save us and take care of us. If we don't have socialized medicine soon I'm afraid the world is going to end. Don't take the time to explore other options, enact Obamacare now before we self destruct. What, is this the NY Times?

  • Risk
    Oct. 21, 2009 7:42 a.m.

    People think they can get away with taking risks. When their luck or whatever runs out, then they expect the taxpayer to cover their costs. There is no such thing as charity care, someone pays and it is generally paid by increases in healthcare premiums and costs for those of us who were responsible. My husband is in graduate school and we have to cut back significantly on other things, including a decent place to live, in order to pay for school and keep healthcare. Failure to take responsibility for your own and your family's well-being is one of the causes of this country's decline.

  • My ideas
    Oct. 21, 2009 7:35 a.m.

    I got one of those collection notices for a baby delivery from the University of Utah Hospital. Only problem, I didn't know sex of baby or date of birth. Best delivery I ever had! After some hassle, they called off the AG. I don't use their medical system anymore because they are the face of government healthcare in Utah.

    The problem with American Healthcare is it is too good and cost money. Drat.

    The solution for some is to turn America into a Welfare Society by having Government protect us from and pay for all the American Medical Care (the big bad-overgrown-highly technical and scientifically advanced healthcare that has come from our capitalist society's awful free market entrepreneurial system) that they DEEM we are worth receiving.

    My solution is modified John Mackey's plan. Plus use 50 privately-run non-profit insurance pools - one per state, rather than company insurance pools.

  • Choices
    Oct. 21, 2009 7:30 a.m.

    This family was unable to "fford the premiums for healthcare"but they could afford law school. Why should I pay for their health insurance when they choose an expensive education for paying health care premiums. Charity care is nothing more than added cost to my healthcare premiums.

  • KM
    Oct. 21, 2009 7:30 a.m.

    This crisis, like all the other Obama crisis, is so great that we need to pass the health care bill before reading it. There is something very fishy about the whole thing and the public is being played big time.
    Now after passing the bill we learn about all the preferential treatment of constituents in influencial democrat districts of Schumer, Reed, et. al. Preferential treatment for unions and good little democrat voters. Nice!

  • What about the driver?
    Oct. 21, 2009 7:17 a.m.

    I feel like I missed something. Wouldn't the driver that hit them be liable for the medical costs?

  • Deb
    Oct. 21, 2009 6:57 a.m.

    Insurance is such a scary thing! My daughter and her husband are students and on the school's health insurance. They tried to get health insurance with Select health but were denied because she has a rod in her leg from a sports accident years ago. Why not just make it a preexisting condition instead of total denial? They are terrified about graduating because if one of them doesn't get a job with insurance right away what will they do? They can stay on the school's insurance but the premiums triple to over $1,000 a month and what young couple can afford that? They want to have a baby but are afraid because what if their are complication? I am glad they are responsible and dedicated to keeping themselves covered but it is hard. Most of their friends have told them to just get off the insurance and use Medicaid like they did to have kids but they feel that is wrong. What is a young couple to do?

  • Not a Utahn
    Oct. 21, 2009 6:45 a.m.

    Are the police that negligent that they didn't find the driver of the truck? There should have been plenty of evidence to find the driver and make him or his insurance pay. Also, why are these people living in Draper? They should be forced to sell their home(assuming they have one) to pay their bills and not lean on others for their expenses. No wonder the healthcare system is wacko-too many people freeloading. (i.e.-people going to the emergency room instead of a doctors office for a headcold.)

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 21, 2009 6:32 a.m.

    TRVTH

    It's your obligation because you are a part of this society. You've received a great deal of benefit being such. You now OWE some of that in return.

  • oldman
    Oct. 21, 2009 5:36 a.m.

    Like a mindless young man told me when I complained about how shoddy and cheap the new mower was and yet was a lot more expensive than before - "Hey capitalism at its finest." Ya - just wonderful - unchecked greed at its finest.

  • A part of living
    Oct. 21, 2009 4:12 a.m.

    There are no guarantees in life and accidents, injuries, and poor health is just a part of it. The only thing people can do but won't do is plan for emergencies, like save some money and plan for the worst of times.

    What is more disgusting is that this medical care is so outragiously high, why doesn't the press attack health care providers for rampant fraud and too costly service? It seems the press is being overly protective for hospitals and costly service from providers and placing too much on the fact that people don't have insurance.

    Even with insurance, including the Obama plan, people will still be forced in to bankruptcy to pay the fraud and corruption in health care services.

    Has anyone every seen a story from the news media that has ever investigated the fraud in health care and why they are getting away with it? The news media should be explaining why the american people are being forced in to bankruptcy and lose every thing they have ever earned just to pay medical bills. And it not because they don't have insurance that limits lifetime use.

  • Cheech
    Oct. 21, 2009 3:37 a.m.

    I am so glad I moved to Canada five years ago. The system here may have flaws, but I have never seen a bill for services in those five years. I never have to worry that getting medical help will break the bank.

    I would gladly pick this health care system over the States' any day.

  • Anon
    Oct. 21, 2009 2:20 a.m.

    Thank you for printing this story and doing this series. People need to understand the health care crisis and how it is affecting individuals through no fault of their own. Maybe then we can get away from all of the ideological aguments and realize that health care coverage for all is not socialism but component of any truly enlighted society.

  • To: TRVTH
    Oct. 21, 2009 2:15 a.m.

    Your comments are indeed Utah's arrogance at it's finest and in full color.

    These types of arrogance reveals a lack of compassion and discloses the kinds of hearts that are void of any sort of humanity, but contains the kinds of greed that has been deplored by Christ.

    What I don't understand is, why does such attitudes exists in this State? When the leading religion is supposedly about compassion, love, humanity and humility?

    I'm so sorry these are the fruits that produced from the religion.

    As the scripture says, "Ye shall know them by their fruits".

    Bitter tasting fruits these are.

  • Lew Jeppson
    Oct. 21, 2009 1:57 a.m.

    "The first paragraph threatens a lawsuit twice, filed either by the attorney general's office or by an "independent collection agency." It states that the bill might be outsourced to balance the account. The recipient is advised that his Social Security number is being sent to the Utah State Tax Commission and inserted into the state's Finders Program, which legally allows a lien to be placed on tax refunds for unpaid debts and in effect will garnish them for eight years or until the debt to the U. is paid in full." And what a fine Christian state we are!

    I'll say this for the D-News, you are showing some uncommon guts telling these horror stories which are NOT exceptional. So from a sometime critic - way to go!

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 20, 2009 11:56 p.m.

    Deseret News better have a lot of server space because the horror stories are just beginning...

    There are a lot more coming and I am glad you are starting to publish them!

  • Not in Draper
    Oct. 20, 2009 10:57 p.m.

    Gee, my wife and I are attending college and we have health insurance. I have a Select Health plan and my wife has HIP coverage due to a heart ailment. We both work part time, but we cannot afford to live in Draper!

  • RE: TRVTH
    Oct. 20, 2009 10:47 p.m.

    Were you sleeping while you read the article? Or did you read the cliff notes (aka the headline)?

    She is uninsurable due to previous condition and he was in an accident that cost him $3.5 million.

    What is the number one reason Americans file bankruptcy? You guessed it medical bills.

    If you want propaganda turn to Faux News.

  • Re: TRVTH
    Oct. 20, 2009 10:40 p.m.

    I hope you never encounter financial hardship, get in an accident your insurance doesn't fully cover, or get really sick. Although, if you ever did, it might do wonders for your sense of empathy.

    Call it propaganda if you want, but the stories reported here are the experiences of more and more Americans, and as health care costs increase and individuals' incomes decrease, the stories will become increasingly common.

  • TRVTH
    Oct. 20, 2009 10:08 p.m.

    So what good stuff in life is free?

    People buy insurance to help protect against the risk of needing expensive treatment. Maybe you will need to use it, maybe not. Life is full of choices, make wise ones.

    If something is too expensive for a person to pay for it, why is it MY obligation to pay for it, unless I do so voluntarily?

    Quit printing propaganda stories like this!