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Author Topic: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France  (Read 3897 times)

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Offline SamaelTopic starter

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Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« on: March 26, 2012, 09:40:02 PM »
Quote
There is a simple reason health care in the United States costs more than it does anywhere else: The prices are higher.

That may sound obvious. But it is, in fact, key to understanding one of the most pressing problems facing our economy. In 2009, Americans spent $7,960 per person on health care. Our neighbors in Canada spent $4,808. The Germans spent $4,218. The French, $3,978. If we had the per-person costs of any of those countries, America’s deficits would vanish. Workers would have much more money in their pockets. Our economy would grow more quickly, as our exports would be more competitive.

There are many possible explanations for why Americans pay so much more. It could be that we’re sicker. Or that we go to the doctor more frequently. But health researchers have largely discarded these theories. As Gerard Anderson, Uwe Reinhardt, Peter Hussey and Varduhi Petrosyan put it in the title of their influential 2003 study on international health-care costs, “it’s the prices, stupid.”

As it’s difficult to get good data on prices, that paper blamed prices largely by eliminating the other possible culprits. They authors considered, for instance, the idea that Americans were simply using more health-care services, but on close inspection, found that Americans don’t see the doctor more often or stay longer in the hospital than residents of other countries. Quite the opposite, actually. We spend less time in the hospital than Germans and see the doctor less often than the Canadians.

“The United States spends more on health care than any of the other OECD countries spend, without providing more services than the other countries do,” they concluded. “This suggests that the difference in spending is mostly attributable to higher prices of goods and services.”

On Friday, the International Federation of Health Plans — a global insurance trade association that includes more than 100 insurers in 25 countries — released more direct evidence. It surveyed its members on the prices paid for 23 medical services and products in different countries, asking after everything from a routine doctor’s visit to a dose of Lipitor to coronary bypass surgery. And in 22 of 23 cases, Americans are paying higher prices than residents of other developed countries. Usually, we’re paying quite a bit more. The exception is cataract surgery, which appears to be costlier in Switzerland, though cheaper everywhere else.

Prices don’t explain all of the difference between America and other countries. But they do explain a big chunk of it. The question, of course, is why Americans pay such high prices — and why we haven’t done anything about it.

“Other countries negotiate very aggressively with the providers and set rates that are much lower than we do,” Anderson says. They do this in one of two ways. In countries such as Canada and Britain, prices are set by the government. In others, such as Germany and Japan, they’re set by providers and insurers sitting in a room and coming to an agreement, with the government stepping in to set prices if they fail.
More after the link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-an-mri-costs-1080-in-america-and-280-in-france/2011/08/25/gIQAVHztoR_blog.html

I've always listened to friends who live in the US with something like shock about the costs of their health care.
For example, I've had X-ray done a few weeks back, and I had to pay nothing. It all went out of my insurance, yet, someone in the US, getting the same done, and even having an insurance, would still have to pay a ton of money, it seems.

The problem, as I see it, is that Health care is treat like business in the US, and a business aims to make profits, no matter the results for the people who need to make use of it's services. Until the Government steps in and starts to regulate prices downwards some, I can only see this increasing. Free market is a nice idea, but keeping it so completely unregulated it a recipe for disaster.

Offline Jeramiahh

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 10:11:50 PM »
I'll tell you, the biggest thing about the prices in healthcare? They're not really as bad as most people make them out to be... unless you're uninsured. Then they take you to the cleaners.

I used to work for a private doctor's office, and was intimately familiar with how the billing system works, and, honestly? It's insanity. Let's say you come in for a standard office visit. Regardless of your insurance coverage, we send a bill for $100. Why $100? Because it's more than any insurance company will pay; if you set your price too low, the companies will just write off the difference as free money for them. Too high, which is what everyone does, and they write off the difference between what you charge, and what they think the price is, and that's part of your contract. You don't get that money.

For example, I send the bill to Medicare, which is pretty much the average for all insurance companies. Some pay more, some pay less, but they all pay within about 10-20% of Medicare. I send Medicare the bill for $100. They consider it to be worth $75. They pay 80% of that, or $60, unless you have a deductible to be met; this amount goes towards your deductible, instead. The remaining $15 is your part of the bill, unless you have a secondary insurance. That $25 difference between what we billed, and what Medicare declared payable? Gone, written off in smoke.

Now, you don't have insurance? Here's your bill for $100. This isn't much of an issue, for office visits... but when you consider that, for a hospital stay, just having a doctor walk in the room (and you'll often see 2-5 doctors a day!) adds $200 to your bill. Plus any tests, which run in the thousands, treatments, and the stay in the hospital itself. Easy to rack up $10,000 in bills, in just a few days. You have insurance? Great! They'll shave 25% right off the top, or more, often writing off entire procedures. Then, once your deductible is met, and you'll meet it fast with a bill like this, they'll pay the majority of the rest. With a decent insurance policy? You might end up paying $1000 or less.

Or, you don't have insurance, and you're driven to bankruptcy by this sudden bill that probably cost more than your car. Which means you can't pay. So the prices have to raise everywhere, to pay for it all, because a lot of uninsured people who go into the hospital (and hospitals can't turn away people for inability to pay), just simply... never pay. Could you run a business where one in ten of your customers, and often the most expensive ones... didn't pay? Sure you could... you just have to charge those who DO pay a lot.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 10:23:53 PM »
Part of the problem is honestly that people in North America do not use the medical services available with greater frequency or involve themselves in their own healthcare.  As pointed out by the original poster, people in the United States utilize the healthcare system the least.  While people may think that would decrease the cost, in truth that means the cost is increased since healthcare problems which could be altered cheaply to start are handled at later stages where treatment is more expensive.  People in the United States are also more likely to use the Emergency Room as a clinic where costs increase greatly due to the level of care the Emergency Room can provide and the staffing restrictions.  Those costs are even greater at level one trauma centers which are also government subsidized.  A lot of the cost issue is culture related, especially later in life when things such as obesity and diabetes contribute to a great many comorbidities that must be treated.  All of these issues could have been handled with frequent visits to a doctor earlier in life and more focus on personal healthcare.  Preventative versus reactionary medicine is much more cost-effective.

A story that one of my Community Health instructors enjoyed telling was that of a program in Italy.  Women would come in to get pre-natal checkups and screenings.  Now there are a great many pre-natal appointments available but the women that came to a certain number received a car seat.  A lot of women came to only the ones that would contribute to the free car seat and then stopped coming.  Many of the students in my class said this was not fair and showed bad parenting.  My teacher responded with the fact that those necessary appointments reduced the risk of complications and birth defects tremendously and so also reduced the cost of medicine as the hospitals were less likely to care for a problem birth.  Before the program started, Italy had a tremendous problem with babies having to be placed in the NICU.  This cost the government millions of dollars because the level of care in a NICU is expensive.  After the program, the cost went down significantly.  All of this for the cost of a car seat, which also helped ensure that mothers were safely buckling their babies into the car.

In the United States, there is a problem with seeing such measures as cost effective and beneficial to everyone involved.  Something offered free to certain people is seen as unfair, even though the offered care would decrease overall costs and help free up additional money to be distributed elsewhere.  People are quick to blame the uninsured, not realizing that the insured are also adding to the problem.  Insurance companies do not pay nearly as much as people imagine and hospitals, many times, eat those costs.  For instance when my mother worked as a case manager, which is someone charged with negotiating hospital costs with insurance companies in regard to a patient, she would often see vast short falls.  A liver transplant can cost upward of 500 thousand dollars if all goes as planned.  Medicare/Medicaid will only cover up to 250 thousand of that surgery.  The hospital eats the rest or, as pointed out, passes the cost onto someone else. 

Few people realize that someone else’s crappy insurance means that their wonderful insurance pays more for the same procedure.  Insurance companies will often appropriate a set amount of money for a procedure.  So for instance if two people are going for knee replacement, one has amazing insurance that will cover the entire stay and the other person’s insurance will only cover three days.  Say both people stay five days in the hospital.  The hospital will then try to tack on those uncovered two days by one person onto the person whose entire stay is covered.  This is how people get bills for 500 dollar cups of jello.  The hospital knows the person, whose insurance company wouldn’t pay, is not going to be able to afford the cost of the hospital stay and so need to cover their costs somehow.

People may gripe, but the alternative is the hospital closes.  People still have to be paid regardless. 

Online Serephino

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 11:04:17 PM »
Pumpkin pretty much summed it up.  Uninsured people don't go to a doctor unless something is seriously wrong.  When I had my first kidney stone I went to the ER because I was in a lot of pain.  Now, I can know it's a kidney stone, and I'll still go to the ER.  They have to do the expensive tests right then and there to find out what's wrong.  If I were to go to the doctor and have him order the tests they can refuse to do them.  I went to my family doctor when I had the gallstone, and the hospital made me put $100 down for the ultrasound.  With the kidney stones I go to the ER and get the x-ray to find them, then they call the Urologist and ask what he wants to do.  I don't have to make an appointment and wait for an office visit.

It may sound bad, but when you don't have insurance you learn to work around the system because obviously if you need medical treatment you can't just sit and do nothing.  Now I do have Medicare, and I see see what you guys are talking about.  They send me itemized bills, and they always have this part that says Medicare Allowance, which is usually a lot less than the charge.  Of course, at least they get something, because it isn't like I have any money.     

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 12:18:19 AM »
Pretty much the case my medical care choices are: the free clinic or the emergency room.

The first case its fine I drop $5 and they can do most basic tests in the clinic even an ultrasound and get prescriptions such as from the $4 drug list at most big chains or they give the meds there.

The ER I will go to the fact is with pretty much making nothing on paper I'm under the charity care law so they can't bill me for the hospital, the doctors and other parties billing departments usually don't try and if they did move to collect I have nothing to go after. This means the costs get passed on to those that can pay.

Offline TheyDontKnowIBurn

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 05:18:36 PM »
The whole healthcare system sucks. True facts. And it doesn't help that some people choose to fraud the state provided services.

Point in case, girl A applies for medical at age 18 whilst living away from home, then as soon as she gets it, moves back home, and simply lies about her living situation to keep said medical, all whilst doing absolutely nothing to move her life forward. Girl B, however, has been living at home whilst going to college, and working when she could. She can't even get a little help, never mind the fact that she's paying her own books. Instead she gets screwed because her father makes too much, though she never sees any of the money.

What needs to happen is the states need to work on better appropriating their funds. I can guarantee that if some effort was put into pruning out the frauds, there's be a heck of a lot more help for those who really do need it. Then there could be preventative care, like Pumpkin spoke of.

People are less likely to get preventative care when they are going to be charged 150 bucks per office visit, not counting whatever prescriptions or tests may be needed.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 05:41:20 PM »
There is a LOT of bloat in the US medical care system. It's been going crazy since the HMOs came into the market. It went from providing a service to the public to 'making a wild profit at our client's expense' (at least to some providers). I know folks who have been stalled, lied to, and fleeced by their service, which is why I'm grateful for access to the VA and Tricare coverage. It's not perfect but its' good.

Offline The Irishman

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 08:55:50 PM »
I'll tell you, the biggest thing about the prices in healthcare? They're not really as bad as most people make them out to be... unless you're uninsured. Then they take you to the cleaners.

I used to work for a private doctor's office, and was intimately familiar with how the billing system works, and, honestly? It's insanity. Let's say you come in for a standard office visit. Regardless of your insurance coverage, we send a bill for $100. Why $100? Because it's more than any insurance company will pay; if you set your price too low, the companies will just write off the difference as free money for them. Too high, which is what everyone does, and they write off the difference between what you charge, and what they think the price is, and that's part of your contract. You don't get that money.

For example, I send the bill to Medicare, which is pretty much the average for all insurance companies. Some pay more, some pay less, but they all pay within about 10-20% of Medicare. I send Medicare the bill for $100. They consider it to be worth $75. They pay 80% of that, or $60, unless you have a deductible to be met; this amount goes towards your deductible, instead. The remaining $15 is your part of the bill, unless you have a secondary insurance. That $25 difference between what we billed, and what Medicare declared payable? Gone, written off in smoke.

Now, you don't have insurance? Here's your bill for $100. This isn't much of an issue, for office visits... but when you consider that, for a hospital stay, just having a doctor walk in the room (and you'll often see 2-5 doctors a day!) adds $200 to your bill. Plus any tests, which run in the thousands, treatments, and the stay in the hospital itself. Easy to rack up $10,000 in bills, in just a few days. You have insurance? Great! They'll shave 25% right off the top, or more, often writing off entire procedures. Then, once your deductible is met, and you'll meet it fast with a bill like this, they'll pay the majority of the rest. With a decent insurance policy? You might end up paying $1000 or less.

Or, you don't have insurance, and you're driven to bankruptcy by this sudden bill that probably cost more than your car. Which means you can't pay. So the prices have to raise everywhere, to pay for it all, because a lot of uninsured people who go into the hospital (and hospitals can't turn away people for inability to pay), just simply... never pay. Could you run a business where one in ten of your customers, and often the most expensive ones... didn't pay? Sure you could... you just have to charge those who DO pay a lot.

Note: I've worked in healthcare.


Hospitals will rarely go after people with outstanding bills.  Most are written off and sold to collections agencies.  You'll hardly ever find a Hospital suing someone over a paid bill.  Chances are if it goes to collections, you can work something out with them -- if they bought the debt at 10% of the actual bill, they're usually delighted if you wind up paying them 20% of the bill.  None of this benefits the hospital.


What happens is much like what you describe in the rest of your post.  Emergency Room stays are expensive because there is a large influx of people that use the Emergency Room as the doctor's office -- because they're uninsured.  Due to this behavior, they're not worried about  bills coming back in their face -- they have nothing to take and the hospital is forced to treat them.  It's a lose/lose situation for the hospital.  You can't turn people away, but there is no way to force the government to recoup your losses.


Basically put: Healthcare in the United States is expensive because the system is broke.  There is no regulation and there is a non-functioning government safety net for those that need it.  Most Medicaid funds usually wind up being blown by people who do not deserve it. 

Offline elone

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 01:25:00 AM »
The problems with the health care industry are just too many to list. Most of it from my point of view is just greed and inefficiency. Look at the MRI example. I had one recently, the bill was $1600. The insurance company paid $380. God help the uninsured. Look at prescription drug costs. They cost more here in the US than just about anywhere. The US is basically subsidizing the rest of the world. Pills that cost pennies to make sell for up to a thousand times that. Drug companies say it is research money that is needed, but in reality their advertising budgets exceed their research costs.

I am contemplating some major knee surgery, one of my incentives is to have the insurance company cough up some of the exorbitant fees I have been paying over the years. They are so in the black in my case.

Oh, by the way, why does a surgeon think he/she can charge $5,000  for an hours work or less. Is that their minimum wage?

The only answer is for some sort of universal healthcare that takes the insurance companies out of the mix, standardizes care, and negotiates fees and costs. Socialism??? If that is what it takes, I am all for it.

People in the US travel to India for major surgery because the cost is so much cheaper and the care just as good.

Online Serephino

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2012, 02:38:02 AM »
It would help if Medicaid and Medicare would become more efficient, and not so cheap.  My one friend lives with her dad and boyfriend, but as far as the state of PA is concerned, since she's an adult and not married, she's a single person with no income.  She gets Medicaid, and was in the ER 9 times in 2 weeks for anxiety.  My boyfriend is a little ticked that his tax dollars pay for her hypochondria. 

Now, since I do not live with my mommy, they processed me as a single person, but counted my boyfriend's income.  I don't get that...  I actually need the help because I have bills to pay.  She was paying $150/month for a Verizon smartphone and I'm scraping together $25 a month for a prepaid phone.  She goes to her grandparents' house every night for dinner, and I'm not gonna get to eat until after midnight tomorrow when my boyfriend gets paid because we're out of money, food stamps, and out of food.  This is insane.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2012, 10:48:51 AM »
I honestly don't understand why people are so focused on other people. Paying for someone else's "hypochondria" - who cares? Would you rather that money go to health care or a smartbomb? The tax code has nothing to do with who actually uses the money, it's based on your income. You're going to have to pay the same taxes whether she goes to the doctor or not.

Instead of focusing on people who abuse the system - because people who abuse the system tend to be much fewer and further between than those who are helped by the system, it's just that 90-year-old Aunt Ethel getting her insulin covered by Medicare doesn't enrage you like the chick who moved in with her parents, so you don't remember it as well - why don't we focus on the fact that it's barbaric that we have companies that profit off of insurance? Why is the rage aimed at people who are scraping by, instead of at the companies that essentially hold you hostage by your health?

Health care is not a luxury. If you have a kidney stone, it's not like you can say "Oh, okay, I eventually need painkillers so I can pass this stone, I better save up for that". If you have severe appendicitis, you can't tell the doc to hang on while you find financing for the surgery to remove it. If you do, you'll die. Or you'll be in agony. Or you'll damage your organs. Health care is not a privilege, it's a necessity. And it's not something that you have a choice about - when you gotta go, you gotta go. Even buying food has more flexibility to it than health crises that require professional intervention.

My uncle, who is pretty staunchly conservative, made the comment to me once that "your grandchildren will be paying for Obamacare". I couldn't help thinking, yes. Why, yes, they will. And at least the money they will be paying will go toward actually covering them without, in theory, dicking them around. We all already pay for health care, and we pay a whole freaking lot, but the system is so twisted right now that we are paying too much money into the wrong spots and not enough money into the right spots. That has to change, and I really think the health care reform bill was a step in the right direction.

FFS, it's time we caught the hell up with the rest of the civilized world on this.

Online Serephino

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2012, 12:04:39 AM »
For now, it seems like it's a band-aid on a slit throat, but we'll see.  The reason the woman with anxiety pisses him off is because he has a heart problem that will kill him if left untreated too long, and he can't afford treatment.  Instead, he pays taxes that pay for her to get thousands of dollars worth of tests every time her tongue goes numb, even though we all know damn well it's her anxiety.  She'll start taking her medication and it will go away in a week.

The anger, at least in my case, is at the broken system.  90 year old Aunt Ethel doesn't bother me because she does need help, though, chances are, she'll have to jump through flaming hoops to get it.  W is living with her father, has no bills to pay, and won't get a job because she wants to try and get Disability for her hair pulling compulsion.  It's the people who don't sit on their asses and do try to scrape by that get screwed.  My boyfriend works, and now he has a job where he'll get health insurance in a few months.  McDonalds offered it, but it was way overpriced, and we needed the money for bills and food. 

Offline vtboy

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2012, 05:25:48 PM »
I honestly don't understand why people are so focused on other people. Paying for someone else's "hypochondria" - who cares? Would you rather that money go to health care or a smartbomb? The tax code has nothing to do with who actually uses the money, it's based on your income. You're going to have to pay the same taxes whether she goes to the doctor or not.

I don't think so.

Under a system in which taxes pay for health care, the amount of money which must be raised through taxation will necessarily bear a direct relation to the amount of health care demanded. And, I imagine we will want both health care and smartbombs, rather than a choice between them. Even under a system in which the government pays for everyone's health care -- in effect, a Medicare for all system -- there will need be constraints on the nature and amount of service provided, just as there are now, under both "socialized" medicine systems and under our own current private health insurance system.   

My point here is not that government-provided health care is a bad thing, only  that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Medicare works tolerably well. It's expansion into a universal single payer system might even conceivably yield cost savings and other efficiencies which would permit a greater level of service than  provided by a private system at similar cost. But, I think, there will be continual tension between those who favor more service and those who oppose the taxes that will be required to pay for it.
 

Offline Trieste

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Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2012, 08:47:20 PM »
It clearly was not obvious, but I was making reference to the specific case pointed out by another poster. That would be why I quoted him. :)

Offline Tamhansen

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2012, 06:22:56 AM »
Coming back to the original posts content. Why does an MRI cost 1080,- in the US and 280,- in France.

having worked for a health insurer in Europe for five years, the answer in part is differences in salaries, costs of materials and frequency of usage per machine. The biggest part of the difference however is something that seems to cause an allergic reaction to many US legislators. Government funding and Tax income. Let's give an example from my own country, the Netherlands.

We have a system very similar to what the Obamacare program seeks to accomplish.

Everyone in the Netherlands is forced to have at least a basic insurance. Now based on your insurer this basic insurance costs you between 1000 and 1300 euro's a year approximately (at current rate that's 1300 to 1700 USD) Now this insurance covers every basic medical need. Like visits to the GP's office, EMT treatment and operations and procedures deemed neccesary to ensure good health. It also covers most medications and medical aides (wheelchairs hearing aides, medical devices such as Cpap's) although it only covers the most basic of these, and the insured gets an excess for more luxureous forms.

Next to this amount each insured above the age of eighteen gets a one time per year excess regulated by government each year (270 euro's this year) This is a one time excess and once paid no further excess is charged that year, unless it is care not covered by the insurance (elective surgery, dental, alternative medicine) or the standardised excesses for meds and medical aides.

Now care not covered in this basic package can be insured by additional coverage packages ranging from 100 euros (130 dollars) to 1200 euros per year, based on what you want covered.

So an average adult in my country pays about 1500 euros (or 2000 dollars) per year on Health insurance, and about 400 euros (525 dollars)  in excesses.

People with low incomes can get government aid of up to 600 euros for a single person or up to 1600 euros for a family.

And that's it. Need open heart surgery? covered. Radiation or chemo therapy? covered. Dialysis? covered. Tried to mudwrestle your chainsaw and need a limb reattached, or a prosthetic placed? covered.

Now I think people might be wondering. "But kata, at that prices your doctors must be living in squalor, shacked in soviet era concrete cubicles, and your nursing staff must be selling their own organs to feed their children."

Nope. Surely they make less money than their US counterparts, but an average GP makes about 180.000 euros and a specialist makes around 250.000 to 500.000 depending on specialisation. A nurse makes between 16.000 and 30.000 based on tenure position and education level (not a lot in US terms I reckon, but C.o.L. expenses are lower here too)

"But then" you might wonder "Where are you getting all that money? Are you cheating the game somewhere?"

Nope, our residents are actually paying taxes, that helps.

We pay 7.1% of our gross income up to 51,000 euros (income that is) to cover the cost of insurance. Of course since we also don't pay taxes over that part of our income, our net contribution is about 4%. On a modal income, that's about 3300 euros per family per year, and then our normal taxes also play a big role. Dutch residents above eighteen pay between 34% and 52% of their gross income in taxes. about 9% of that is used to pay for the cost of healthcare.

This kind of system is used in most European countries. The Scandinavian countries pay even more taxes, but have no or very low insurance costs. Basically, in most of Europe, people don't need to die, because they can't afford medical treatment. But unfortunately it does mean very few of our rich can afford a diamond studded swimming pool, or ride a solid gold Humvee.

But to recap, a MRI in France would cost almost as much as one in the US (I'd wager about 70% but i'll do the math on tuesday after the easter holiday, and put it here) But most of it is covered simply because of our socialist tax systems. And that's why it's free over here. And hell, if you're an American visiting here, and you get injured or sick, we'll even treat you charging you less than 20 % of what you'd pay in a decent hospital back home, courtesy of our taxpayers.

Offline Tiberius

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2012, 05:48:31 PM »
It is sad what is going on in the US with their third world healthcare system. Our health care system pays for everything in the general spectrum. Our health insurance if you have it will pay for 90% of the cost of an operation. Our hospitals might be shit and sstarting to fall apart but people dont end up with massive bills because our government has regulated the health care industry to match a certain standard

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2012, 05:54:22 PM »
But unfortunately it does mean very few of our rich can afford a diamond studded swimming pool, or ride a solid gold Humvee.


Not to detract from the topic, but I approve of your taste in music (assuming this is the reference I think it is). ;D

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2012, 12:24:38 AM »
We Americans pay more than the rest of the world for healthcare because we believe Fox News when it tells us that our purpose for existence is to toil to enrich Fortune 500 health insurance companies, and that without fat cats skimming the system left and right we will collapse and become poor starving commies like everyone in Europe.

Online Serephino

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2012, 02:14:53 AM »
Yep, Socialist is a dirty, dirty word.  It's code for Communism, and as we all know, Communists are the enemy!  Capitalism is the American way.  If a few poor people have to die in order to protect American superiority, wealthy Conservatives are okay with that.  It's just so heartwarming.   

Offline Tamhansen

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2012, 03:08:31 AM »
Not to detract from the topic, but I approve of your taste in music (assuming this is the reference I think it is). ;D

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Don't Download This Song

Offline Sophronius

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2012, 10:41:50 PM »
I don't really have any information to add, but when I was in Paris last year, a friend and I were hanging out with some Belgian guys we met.  We were talking about life in America and how things are different from European living - generally sharing tales about both of our lands.  When my friend started talking about the large number of Americans who go bankrupt due to high medical costs, the Belgians were shocked and somewhat horrified at that.  They found it somewhat disgusting that so many people are allowed to suffer due to the failings of insurance companies and the high costs of healthcare.  It would have been funny to see them so surprised by the American healthcare system... you know, if it wasn't so tragic.

Offline PhantomPistoleer

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2012, 02:07:57 PM »
I might be late to the party, but you can actually pay $300 for an MRI if you sign a waver saying that you're poor as crap.

Call around.  Be up front about being uninsured and super poor.

Offline Tiberius

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2012, 03:24:52 AM »
I don't really have any information to add, but when I was in Paris last year, a friend and I were hanging out with some Belgian guys we met.  We were talking about life in America and how things are different from European living - generally sharing tales about both of our lands.  When my friend started talking about the large number of Americans who go bankrupt due to high medical costs, the Belgians were shocked and somewhat horrified at that.  They found it somewhat disgusting that so many people are allowed to suffer due to the failings of insurance companies and the high costs of healthcare.  It would have been funny to see them so surprised by the American healthcare system... you know, if it wasn't so tragic.

It is sad, especially when one of the world's poorest countries, while its not Belgium i'm talking about but one quite close, Bulgaria have a much more effective healthcare system and they're mostly broke but they can afford efficient health care and have a world class transport system that has been compared to New York or London's mass transit system.

America is just a fucked up backwards country, its more like a third world country then anything these days. The perception is that America is rich and powerful when the opposite is the truth. More then half of the country is poor as dirt and the society is very weak in many areas of the country.

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Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2012, 07:49:54 AM »
It is sad, especially when one of the world's poorest countries, while its not Belgium i'm talking about but one quite close, Bulgaria have a much more effective healthcare system and they're mostly broke but they can afford efficient health care and have a world class transport system that has been compared to New York or London's mass transit system.

America is just a fucked up backwards country, its more like a third world country then anything these days. The perception is that America is rich and powerful when the opposite is the truth. More then half of the country is poor as dirt and the society is very weak in many areas of the country.

Let's not exaggerate, please.

In my 40-something years on this earth, I have never heard of any American jetting off to Bulgaria to take advantage of that country's health care system.

However, I can provide numerous examples of Europeans, Brits and Canadians (including the PM of Canada) who have come to the US to receive treatment in places like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. I'm sure I could find an Aussie or two, as well.

Is health care in the US perfect? Hardly. Could it be improved? Of course, without a doubt. But describing the US as a "third world country" is simply incorrect. And no, more the half the country is certainly not "poor as dirt", whatever that means. Let's stick to facts, shall we?

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2012, 04:21:29 PM »
But Amercians are jetting off to top private tourist hospitals in India and Thailand for example to save money and get usually extraordinary care for that money.