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So you are trucked in by ambulance to an American hospital after an accident, or the onset of an illness, or a sudden heart attack. The reasons for your admissions are medical, and you await being admitted and being under the care of a competent medical administration. But wait, a person in a nursing uniform, complete with badge, sits himself down by your trolley or wheelchair, hands over a pen and clipboard, and demands that you sign and pay for treatment yet to be undertaken. Whilst you are trying to understand what is being asked of you, whilst possibly being either in pain or danger, you are confronted by yet another uniformed figure, demanding that you agree to pay, forthwith, an outstanding debt which was racked up last time you were in hospital.

It is true that many if not most American hospitals labour under a huge mountain of debt, but many applaud the actions of Attorney General Lori Swanson in singling out the actions of debt collector Accretive Health in stating that she was in discussions with both State and Federal Regulators as to a co-ordinated response to the possible violations of both State and Federal Law.

If you are ill, hurting or with a friend or relative who is in medical trouble, the last thing you want is some heavy pushing you to repay a debt before a doctor is able to check you out.

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14 thoughts on “Is your arm twisted; or do you want it twisted?

  1. Yes.

    One of the billion reasons why health care cannot properly be dealt with by free market forces alone.

  2. What must be remembered is that health care costs money, a lot of money and always will cost money. Here in the UK there is a general reluctance to ask any patient for money even when they should be paying it. For example, why do we allow people into the country who have no right to free health care unless they can show a legitimate health care insurance certificate?

  3. What must be remembered is that health care costs money, a lot of money and always will cost money

    Yes – which is why comparing to ye olde days is not always useful.

    We have the benefit of a lot of great new machines and pharmaceuticals now.

    Problem is that these things don’t invent themselves. It costs an awful lot of money to produce new technology.

    A blessing and a big problem no matter what the system is.

  4. Yes, isn’t it so…..not nice, that one has to, y’know, pay for the things one wants. Wouldn’t it be much more lovely if everything was just free? How dare that mortgage company demand a repayment from me every month, meaning that I have to go to work in order to pay it? How dare Severn Trent have the sheer temerity to CHARGE me for clean water? It should be free, because, well, it just should! So there. …Or better still, I should be allowed to use other people’s monery to pay for these things. That’s nice, that’s fair, no?

  5. We have the benefit of a lot of great new machines and pharmaceuticals now

    I think you’ll find that the pharmaceutical companies have the benefit of new pharmaceuticals. Any products which are effective against disease but which cannot be patented are ruthlessly suppressed by their placemen on the BMA, FDA etc and less efeective or even dangerous drugs are pushed forward for use, eased by copious use of that lubricator for the medical profession – money.

  6. Most US hospitals are poorly managed. No good manager would let an outfit like Accretive near their hospital. Both the collections agency and hospital managers should be brought up on charges.

    Poor management is also a major reason on why many US hospitals are in financial trouble. If you have ever met hospital executives you will understand why the industry is a total mess.

  7. “The United States spends an estimated $2 trillion annually on healthcare expenses, more than any other industrialized country. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States spends two-and-a-half times more than the OECD average, and yet ranks with Turkey and Mexico as the only OECD countries without universal health coverage. Some analysts say an increasing number of U.S. businesses are less competitive globally because of ballooning healthcare costs.”

    But of course Obamacare is serfdom.

    Link here

  8. At the end of the day,
    Either your property is YOUR property, or else it isn’t.
    Either your money is YOUR money, or else it isn’t.
    And if you’re happy with your money/property not really being yours, then you have no more right to complain about your house being burgled than to complain about Obamacare.

  9. After all, if a mugger knocks you to the ground and steals your wallet, that is “bad”, isn’t it? That is wrong. We all accept that.
    But, is the mugger’s crime somehow mitigated if he then goes and gives the contents of your wallet to “charity”? If he spends it on the poor kittens and bunny wabbits, awww, isn’t that nice of him? Awwww, I was going to spend that money on the bunny wabbits myself, therefore that mugger didn’t really commit a crime???!! HUH?

  10. It’s just capitalism working. American medical treatment is second to none. But being number one costs. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

    On that note:

    The HSE (The Irish government’s health service) has refuse to approve a new drug ((ipilimumab), which has shown fantastic results in stopping terminal melanoma (skin cancer) even though it has been approved by the Irish pharmaceutical board.


    Cause it costs about €80,000 per annum per patient.

    So Ireland does have a “death panel” that uses the cost of treatments to ascertain if they are “cost affective”.

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