Comments about ‘1 in 4 Americans struggle to pay doctor bills’

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Published: Wednesday, Feb. 12 2014 4:00 a.m. MST

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Victor, ID

Obamacare does nothing to solve this problem. Obamacare only shifts the financial burdens onto other people who then are forced to pay higher health insurance premiums, higher co-pays and higher deductibles to subsidize the poor, sick and older people's insurance. Millions of Americans who previously had healthcare insurance will now NOT be able to afford healthcare insurance. This explains why Medicaid enrollees have exploded under Obamacare because it is 100% taxpayer funded, if you can find a doctor who accepts Medicaid. In other words, Obamacare created more healthcare problems than it solved, period!

Cache, UT

But, I bet they have cell phones, cable TV, iPads, junk food and other luxuries.
I just saw a patient injured in a turbocharged UTV that cost $18K. She didn't have insurance, despite our president making it illegal for her to be without insurance coverage. She told me she didn't have the money to pay for tests that she needs or money for my visit.
Wants and needs are messed up in this country.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

This is exactly why Obamacare will be such a big hit! Americans will begin to change their habits once they're able to afford health care. Everyone deserves quality health care, not just the richies.

Salt Lake City, UT

If this article is meant to help promote Obamacare, it is not the answer either. Because of this law, those who were covered, no longer are. Because of this law, people are losing jobs, or full-time status. So how are they going to afford it? Thos people working 2 or 3 jobs, will still have to in order to afford Obamacare. Some people are doing it to themselves, by not prioritizing thier lives. Such as smoking, drinking, over spending, eating out too much, cable, etc. If they quit some of that, they will find money for insurance. If you want to make insurance affordable, let the open market do it. It has been said before. Let it work, as like auto insurance. Open borders, allow people to shop and compare. The insuance companies will change their tune once someone has what they need at fair price. Another is that they shouldn't be going to emergency rooms for colds, and minor details. Go to a clinic. There are now grocery stores and pharmacy stores that have mini clinics people can go to. Leave ER for ER. That will reduce cost and waiting time. There is more, but no space.

Salt Lake City, UT

As a healthcare professional for 35 years, I am embarrassed to be part of the broken American healthcare system. From what I can see there is too much emphasis on high profits and huge professional and executive salaries. Health system executives talk about lowering the cost of healthcare but I have never heard them say we need to lower the huge incomes of hospital administrators, physicians, or pharmaceutical executives. Recently a family member needed a prescription that cost $1200.00 a month. I found the same thing at a Candadian pharmacy for about $300.00 a month. Obamacare albeit imperfects was a step in the right direction. At least it prevents the incidious practice of denying health insurance to folks with pre-existing conditions. The greedy insurance companies didn't want to compromise their profits for those folks. The whole system is shameful and it is bringing America down. There needs to be caps on the profits that can be made on the backs of the sick. Moreover, our over priced system isn't even close to being the best in the world in terms of quality. We've had the wool pulled over our eyes for sure!

Back Talk
Federal Way, WA

Actually, Obamacare has had an effect on large company health plans. Because of the tax on higher cost plans that will take effect after Obama is out of office, many plans have already been cut back and costs pushed off to employees. As the article points out, the only way to afford healthcare now is to go to a large deductible plan.

When people discuss the good Obamacare has done by giving someone healthcare they should also mention that otehr people are now paying more and getting less on their own healthcare plans.

Salt Lake City, UT

A big hit? This article actually describes what Obamacare is changing health care INTO, not what it is attempting to improve. What we have seen so far from the ACA is that it transforms formerly "regular" plans into high deductible plans, with a vastly diminished network: higher premium, higher deductible, less access to care.

Hayden, ID

@ Maverick. You need to read the recent Congressional Budget Office report about Obamacare's effects on jobs. Then read the ridiculous spin the Demos are putting on this report! From them I have learned, "not having a job is actually a good thing". That will be a very tough sale during the November midterm elections! Your precious and wonderful Obamacare is falling apart and any honest taxpayer(that means people who pay the bills) knows it!

salt lake city, utah

MM, you missed the point of the article entirely with your rush to "I hate Obamacare".

The article is not about subsidies, or insurance per se. It's about the high cost of medical services themselves and how that effects everyone.

If you stop for a moment and take a deep breath you see how those with coverage from the largest employers are experiencing the same problem of having to put off medical care because of the high deductible plans that most large employers have gone to.

The ACA doesn't do a whole lot for this problem of cost. It's a first step though and it will be articles like this and experiences like those documented in this article that will eventually lead changes.

When the person with the best insurance available figures out that they are having the same experience as the person with minimally mandated insurance, having to put off or at least ration health care because of cost, then maybe we'll get somewhere.

The conversation couldn't happen though until everyone has health insurance. Viva Le ACA.

Roosevelt, UT

1 in 4 struggle to pay the doctor is not really accurate but more true would be 1 in 4 struggle to pay the health care companies who prey off doctors and patients

Hayden, ID

Pragmatist. I didn't miss the point at all. There is no such thing as something for nothing, especially in healthcare. If people want Cadillac quality healthcare, it is impossible to provide that at Wal-Mart prices. Wal-Mart priced healthcare, which is what Obamacare promised, must include all the other factors of Obamacare; job loses, higher co-pays, deductibles and higher premiums for those who have health insurance. The only conclusion possible is; high quality healthcare at low prices is impossible, unless of course you are getting a subsidy paid for by others! The only question is, who pays?

Orem, Utah

I am a European, so go easy on me.
I watch from afar in amasement how hard you people fight to be "independent on the surface" even if it kills you.
For me it looks not like the land of he free anymore but the land of the slaves. Very few rich people milk you dry and leave you with nothing. And you applaud them doing it.
This is not to offend anyone. It just leaves me stunned that every chance you get to make things better for you you fight like crazy.
Times change so the approach to deal with the new situation needs to be change. But people are unable to change their way of thinking to make every bodies life better.
My humble suggestion: Start thinking out of the box and take your life back into your own hands and don't leave it in the hands of the rich people that don't care about you. Fight!
Let your leaders make laws to stop the few to enslave you any further.
I wish you all the best. Lived 10 years in the US. Loved it back then.

Salt Lake City, UT

If the cost of healhcare wasn't so high, the cost of insurance plan premiums and deductibles would not be so high. Insurance has allowed the healthcare empire to charge these unjustifiable fees. Perhaps we should abolish health insurance totally and have everyone just shop for the best prices. If everyone had to pay out of pocket for their care, I'm pretty sure the providers would have to lower their charges fast. Health insurance is just one piece of a big problem that allows business entities to gouch the sick. For some reason in America we've decided that if you are a healthcare provider you are entitled to charge whatever the market will bear regardless of the consequences to the economic well being of the country and the suffering of the people. The current "fee-for-service" system just rewards providers for volume - not quality. Not sure how we can correct greedy capitalism when it comes to caring for the sick - we are a captive market! I guess people will just have to suffer and die because they can't afford to see a doctors or pay for the prescriptions!

Anti Government
Alpine, UT

Everyone complains about the "cost" of healthcare.

Obamacare has done NOTHING to curb the actual cost of healthcare. If you believe it did, why did the healthcare companies conspire with obama on his healthcare plan? It was so they could make even more money.

Of course you gullible people bought the story the president sold and ignored the facts/details.

From personal experience I know that my company, in order to cover all the mandated coverages of obamacare, decreased our benefits/coverage and raised our premiums.

I have a $4000 out of pocket deductible before I get ANY actual insurance coverage. So, I got premium increases and dramatically less coverage and literally thousands out of pocket.

I also have dramatically less healthcare benefits even after I meet the deductible. Example? Zero coverage for ANY brand name drug. Zero. Doesn't matter if the generic works or not. Zero coverage. Some are $700/month for 1 prescription my son needs.

I would tell you to do the math but it seems most people can't. Premiums and costs are increasing faster than ever...unless you are very poor...in which case myself and others are now paying your skyrocketing costs as well.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Mman did miss the point of the CBO report. The ACA may result in up to 2 million fewer full-time workers, but that is primarily because many people who wanted to quit their jobs or reduce their hours but couldn't afford to because they would lose their health insurance can now find affordable insurance without being employed full time. It is the Republicans who stuck their foot in their mouth again trying to spin this into something horrendous.

The obvious answer to this mess for conservatives, of course, is to repeal Obamacare. That is their solution. Yes, Orrin Hatch came out with a very belated alternative plan, if plan you can call it. What we really need is to follow the example of all other industrialized countries and move to a single-payer system. Then we too might cut our health costs in half. But do you think the GOP could swallow that poison pill? Fat chance.

Laura Ann
Layton, UT

I agree with a lot of what people have said here and the article, but I want to point out one thing. I take a drug for Multiple Sclerosis which costs $64,000 a year. This last year, my husband's company made it's employees start paying a high deductible. Needless to say, I was concerned, but I also have a lot of knowledge about how insurance works. I got hold of the company that makes my medication and enrolled in their help program. They paid my total deductible and also almost all of my out of pocket maximum. Many drug companies offer such programs, you just need to look. I really helps with the medication costs. As to other medical care, such as surgery, etc,... We started putting all the money we could into our Health Savings Account so we can have some security in the future. As unfair as insurance is these days, there are things one can do to help with the outrageous costs of insurance.

The Final Word
Alpine, UT

"Recently a family member needed a prescription that cost $1200.00 a month. I found the same thing at a Candadian pharmacy for about $300.00 a month."

Uh, you do realize the Canadian government, with their 45-55% taxation of their citizens, partially subsidizes and has a review board that controls drug costs right?

You do also realize that there are Canadian-based studies that say this exact policy has likely limited access to certain drugs and as a result reduced life spans?

Sometimes/not always are they cheaper either.

You also know that if in fact all countries held prices down that innovation would be stifled because some of these drugs are discovered only because of years and years of research and testing all paid for by, you guessed it, high drug costs.

Believe me we all know drugs are expensive but there is also two sides to the story and it is not as simple as you make it out to be.

We can get most anything here in the USA and we can get fast and that can be expensive but conversely in Canada that is not always true.

Pros and cons.

UT Brit
London, England

@The Final Word

You think every Canadian gets 45-55% tax? I assume you have not lived there.

Lower lifespans then Americans, got any facts to back that up? Looking at the stats they live 4 years longer on average.


Neither political party has done anything to help the people of the USA have affordable health care. The system we now have is neither fish nor fowl; it is neither a public nor a private system. The new system sounds even worse for most people, if that is possible.

States, doctors and medical facilities are beginning to refuse to co-operate with the new system. People resent being dictated to. Where will it all end we wonder?

I know a man who was a candidate for a heart bypass, double or triple. He decided to change his diet to a healthy one and within three months, if I remember right, he told me arteries that were ninety percent occluded dropped to about twenty percent occluded. He looks and feels so much better. We need to be healthy, not to be "fixed" by bankruptcy prices and dangerous ops for our dumb lifestyle decisions. A small percentage only have health problems that could not have been precluded by common sense life choices, temperance and practical intelligence. Finally of course all of us, including doctors, will die. No master plan can prevent that.

Centerville, UT

If I was a graduating physician today I would probably come out of school with $400K student loans. I would work for a large network of physicians associated with hospital care because the single-owned practices are all bought up and gone (or very few remain). I might be paid $80,000 starting salary (maybe I'm low on this estimate).

How would I pay living expenses and student loans?

Physicians are generally not overpaid.

I believe specialists may be overpaid.

So what drives the high cost of medical care? I believe it is liability insurance costs and the high cost of education. If doctors didn't face a lawsuit for everything they do, they wouldn't have to order all of the tests and expensive procedures to cover their risks.

Hospitals face the same problem of liability risks, but CEOs command too high a price too.

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