I read the newspaper article about hospital costs, and I think it should matter a great deal to patients what hospitals charge, because at the end of the day it determines how expensive insurance costs are.

Time magazine devoted an entire issue in March called “The Bitter Pill,” which details medical provider and supplier rip-offs. The article notes that charge master rates are not based upon any true cost reality, but on what the traffic will bear. (The charge master is a comprehensive listing of items billable to a hospital patient or a patient’s health insurance provider.)

Flat funding of health insurance by the state, rising bankruptcies because of health care debt, and cuts to MaineCare arise from inflated insurance costs, which are aggravated by medical provider overcharges.

We need a return of the Maine Health Care Finance Commission to compel health care providers to justify their inflated charges and bring them back to true cost reality. The right questions are not being asked either in Augusta or Washington because the health care provider lobbies don’t want them to be asked. Piracy is piracy, whether it is “transparent” or not.

 

Tim Bolton, Augusta

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