Caroline Corum of "One Payer States", an advocacy org for single-payer universal healthcare, alerted me to this excellent article and your related work. (Thanks, Caroline!)

As it happens, I know someone who's scheduled to get an MRI today. Yesterday she phoned the provider and asked how much the procedure would cost. That's when the sucker's game began.

Her doctor, a good guy, knows she has really crappy insurance and is currently disabled and unemployed. He suggested she tell the MRI provider she's private-pay -- it might cost her less than with her insurance if they would even accept her plan.

This provider told her the cost of the MRI scan would be $1,000. However, I smelled a rat. Did that include the cost of a radiologist to read the image and write a report for her doctor, without which the imaging would be all but useless? She had simply asked about the cost to perform the scan.

So she called them back. Sure enough, interpreting the image -- a standard and necessary part of the service -- would be another $400. And remember, that's private-pay. Further, to get that price, they now told her, she'll have to pay IN CASH, actual greenback cash, on the spot. You know, like a shady drug deal. (If she had insurance the overall charge would be $4,000.)

This is insanity. It's why I fight for single-payer universal healthcare.

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Love this article. Marshall, have you heard of a company named Accolade? Based near Philadelphia, it focuses on patient advocacy to save money for both employers and employees by bringing expertise to patient advocacy. The firm’s revenue is derived from a share of the employer’s health care cost savings.

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